Monday, January 25, 2010

the butcher bros


Brothers, co-workers and very good friends of mine. They grind coffee and cut up meat and somehow manage to keep a very humble and elegant manner about themselves. I wanted to take some audio of the place, but then thought that the sound of knife on meat and coffee in the grind really wouldn't be all that cool. I'm sure that is easy enough to imagine. I wanted to get more of the process of them working together, but this is all that I could manage to take while not getting in the way - hanging carcass posed people portraits.

Friday, January 15, 2010

school


Just by default, I help teach English with a local teacher at my school. I don't really mind it - but working in the schools here is tough. My first day I cried, called my Mom and couldn't believe how out of control it was. Now I'm pretty used to the level of discipline and chaos that I'd probably invite my Granny in to come see me there as I help teach. In general, the education system here is abysmal - from teachers' level of interest in teaching to the corrupt grading style. But so it goes. I tried to get some decent audio of the English class I go to - 7th grade. It just so happens that they were talking about punishment in schools that day; the irony. I've seen kids' pencils, protractors and books broken to pieces and scattered all over the room - and much more. It's not fair to compare what exists here and what I experienced as a child in school, but sometimes it's just all that comes to mind.

video

Saturday, January 9, 2010

project assistance





I have spent the last day and a half with cinematographer and Fulbright Scholar Thomas Burns, helping him with his project here by translating a little and introducing him to some nice people I know. Thomas is "producing a collection of black-and-white photographs that use techniques of portraiture to explore narratives of social transformation in the South Caucasus." I had a great time watching him work and learning more about his future exhibition. These are some of my pictures from the duration of the last day. Thomas is a great guy - very down to earth about photography and what he's doing. I'm looking forward to seeing his project on the wall soon. www.thomasburns.net (p.s. Also a fellow Texan, born and raised in Austin!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

elsewhere

Tonight my neighbor Hranush's mother passed away - and while the body rests on top of a table inside with candles and cloth, the coffin stands outside in the snow to signify a death in the house. She had come over to tell me she thought tonight would be the night, and so I went over there to try to say my goodbyes - she was a fiery woman. It wasn't 10 minutes later that she let go. And while people were crying and singing, an infant on the floor starting playing hide and seek on his own trying to get me to notice him, giggling and smiling. As untimely a moment as it was, I like to think that there was a current of life sweeping by - celebrating somehow.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

most beautiful chairs ever

These three musty old chairs on my back porch where I have sat and watched the sun set a hundred times, shared a beer and a cup of coffee with good friends, or finished up the last of a book looked more nostalgic than usual. I'm happy to say though: There are only 6 more months!!! (when I didn't think I'd stay 6 weeks). I apologize, no interesting audio to accompany this - will try hard to find something neat for the next time.