Friday, November 14, 2008

A quiet storm

Photojournalism is very attractive to me. Just the idea of being able to tell story through a single image makes my head spin. A powerful image can change the outcome of a war, and Vietname War is the case in point. However, it becomes less attractive nowadays when video and multimedia are dominating. Newspapers would survive only if it has a website to show additional video clips. People spend more time watching news on TV and on the net more than to read. Magazines and newspapers days are numbered. Still images, journalistic images are less and less as time passes.

So, it's quite rare to see an impact from a still image would contribute to the outcome of a historic election at these days in age. I still remember that day, it was the 19th of October, 2008. In a small hotel, of a remote town Lancaster of Pennsylvania. I was there for a wedding photo job the day before. Watching Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama interview. In the interview, Colin Powell cited to an image, a journalistic image, of a mother having her head rested on the tombstone of her son in Arlington Cemetery. It's very moving image, the whole story reveals. It's calm mood, low key picture, but to me it's quite an impact which the picture had made. It touches the viewers, Colin Powell, and vast number of people. It causes the people to take revolutionize action, to be very vocal, to make important decision. It's a quiet storm.

The picture is one in documentary series of pictures taken by Platon, published on The New Yorker.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I grew up in a family of words. In special occasions, like national holidays or ancestor memorial days, my father would talked and recited literature, poems, and cultures. My mother is also very verbal. If a short answer would be suffice, she will give 10 times more. When I was only 11, one of my three sisters threw me a thick book. "Read!", she said. That was to stop me from pestering her. And of course, we have a big book cases on the second floor, full of books. The book case is quite big, "how would I ever able to finish reading all of them?", at the young age I thought. In 1975, when we left VN, I've read most of the books in our book case.

Words sooth me. They have the capability of calm me down even in the most stressful situations. Fiction or non-fiction, it does not matter to me. Sure, I would like to read pieces which are of interested to me; but I do not hesitate to start reading whether it's a academic text book, an editorial, or a novel.

It has been drizzling since last night, and my mind was not into writing code or fixing bugs; I went on the net and read.