portraits

The Mauna Kea girl

The Mauna Kea girl

I always felt that I was born in Hawaii and my heart belongs to this place. Hawaii is the heart of the world, shining with divine love. When I was little I was thinking that it would be very cool to be an astronomer and work in one of Mauna Kea’s telescopes. Much later I realised the impact of the telescopes on the islands… My last assignment send me back home at the time of the protests about the new gigantic telescope that was about to be build in Mauna Kea. An assignment in a sacred place at a time of such great importance seemed sacred itself. She was one of the protesters and she was the daughter of a great kahuna. The assignment was just a pretext to be in this magical place and breathe the love. Mauna Kea doesn’t really need any protectors but my love was not letting me leave. So I stayed.

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Possessed by the Muse

Possessed by the Muse

It was another Venice assignment and my subject was an ethereal pianist that lived there. I was supposed to photographically investigate a magic light that was pouring out of her in these -not so rare- moments when the Muse possessed her. I investigated her luminous presence in Villa Heriot, in Giudecca and her light was the light of pure love. There is a great Law in the Universe, that like attracts like, and her case was the living proof. Her life was filled with harmony, poise, love, abundance and perfect self expression. And I must say that she has been one of my most beloved subjects.

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Vappulin

Vappulin

Since I had to leave the Caribbean to photographically investigate the Lina Ivers case (see previous blog post) I thought that I might as well take care of another assignment, about Vappulin, a new vibrational method that has the ability to help you re-magnetise -in case you have been de-magnetised- all the wonderful things that belong rightfully to you. it is so easy, most people find it impossible to practise. It works differently for everyone, in the sense that everyone has to find their own affirmation that “clicks” , energising in that way the magnetising vibration. My subject used the following: “I am harmonious, happy, healthy and radiant, free from the tyranny of fear. My happiness is built upon a rock”. She said it had miraculous results.

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The strange love of Lina Ivers

The strange love of Lina Ivers

I was on vacation, photographically investigating only the tropical scenery. I was in my beach house in Guadeloupe enjoying a beer in my veranda, eating a spicy carribean curry and watching with some friends a favourite film noir, “The strange love of Martha Ivers”. And then Mathieu, my faithful housekeeper, brought me the bottle. A bottle that was washed on the beach a few seconds ago, right in front of my house - a bottle with a message. My employers always know were to find me - because I let them of course. The message contained some clues about my next subject. One of them was her name, Lina. I was ready to send the bottle back to the Caribbean sea - I was on vacation after all! But some details of my subject’s description and the mystery that surrounded her caught my attention. And once that happens to a photographic investigator, there is no turning back. But I was going to stick to my plan for the night. I was going to call my assignment “The strange love of Lina Ivers” and that would only be the first part of her story. To be continued…

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Ways of pleasantness

Ways of pleasantness

A photographic investigator knows that “wisdom’s ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace”. And so do her subjects. They all live and work in the four dimensional world, that in this photographic investigator’s reality is in Hilo, Hawaii. Both photographic investigator and subject constantly see miracles and wonders come to pass. (In Hawaii it’s a lot easier.) They interpret them differently, though. My clue for this photographic investigation was written in an old yellow, damaged paper. It was something that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote: “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings”. I instantly knew in which Hilo coffee shop I should go.

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The divine design

The divine design

A photographic investigator knows -through observation- that there is a divine selection for every desire of every subject (because a photographic investigator sees everyone as her subjects). And if the subject knows how to claim it, it comes under grace and in a perfect way. It is indeed a great moment when a photographic investigator is present while this divine law is in action.

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The Hotel del Mar

The Hotel del Mar

I arrived there by bus in the evening, just before sunset. The scenic route side by side with the setting sun was magical and that made the prospect of next day’s visit to the Maya ruins of Campeche even more wondrous… It wasn’t clear to me whether I would meet my subject in the mayan pyramids or in the hotel itself. The view was beautiful though and the smell of the sea compelled me to stay in the terrace. I found my subject when I went to the ground floor bar to ask for some coffee…

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Incognito

Incognito

She came from the future just to observe. Her mission had the code name “Incognito”, but how could she be incognito? My mission was to photographically investigate her and I never fail. Perhaps a more suitable name for her mission would be… “Beware of the Photographic Investigator”. But how could it be? Nobody in the future knew I existed. I know, I have checked it out myself.

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The return of Vapalight

The return of Vapalight

Vapalight, as you all know, is a special kind of light that follows a specific subject, also known as the Vapa model. The Vapa model always sits against the light with the intention to avoid being photographically investigated. Which of course is not possible. All these vain attempts of my subjects to avoid me have made my affection for them to become stronger and in an inexplicable way, urge me to favour them… Don’t ask me why, the world of a photographic investigator is a mystery that has to be faced to everyday (even by them)…

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Little China girl

Little China girl

It was one day before the opening of the Venice Biennale. Only journalists were allowed, so I used one of my fake identities. Not so fake really, since a photographic investigator's job is not so different from that of a journalist's. Anyway, she also pretended to be one. You come to know those things after 2-3 decades of pretending. But she made my work very easy and I was thankful to her not only for this, but for her beautiful smile as well. She knew she was being investigated, but she allowed it. I made a mental note to look her up. A very interesting partnership could be in the horizon.

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The gardener

The gardener

There was a mysterious gardener in Villa Herriot, in Venice. He appears in the mornings and talks to the few visitors of this magnificent place, but none of the residents is aware of his existence. He never appears in a company of more than 2 people and he always talks about the marvels of the garden and about other, mystical, hidden garden treasures in Venice. I saw him and I talked to him while passing through, but sadly, I didn't photograph him. When I talked to people of him, everyone looked at me like I was crazy... "Gardener? What gardener?", they said. I scheduled a photographic investigation in the Villa hoping to capture a shot of him. Of course he did not appear. My subject was beautiful and full of grace though... Her name was Ramona, and she had also seen the gardener. Maybe some gardeners can't be seen by everyone, I thought. Especially in Venice... 

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Claudia

Claudia

I don't know when Chucho Valdez wrote Claudia, but I first heard it in Paquito d'Rivera's album, 'Reunion", with Arturo Sandoval. One of my first latin jazz albums and surely one of my favourites. But then, I always had a soft spot for boleros... When a photographic investigator is in between assignments, they like to experiment connecting people and faces to songs. This one was an instant match. And it served as well as a realisation that, sometimes, the best photographic investigations happen during a break... 

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Shooting in Arcana

Shooting in Arcana

Very often in Venice, spies like to disguise as fashion models. And it's a good disguise because it allows them not to avoid photographers while hiding. One of the paradoxes of the ingenious venetian spy web that I have come to know so well in the last years. The only clue that I had about the place of this photographic investigation was a word: Arcana. At first I though that it had to do with tarot cards (and started cursing because I had forgotten my tarot deck in Athens), but then I remembered  Corto Maltese's "Corte Sconta called Arcana" in his adventure "Fable of Venice". Of course I was one of the 5 people who had the key to this secret place. There are no coincidences in the photographic investigation business. He was there, waiting. I did my job, as  I always do. 

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Night in Vrindavan

Night in Vrindavan

I once bought a perfume in India, called "Night in Vrindavan". It was very exotic and "indian" -only those who have been to and loved India know what I mean- and it's name stayed with me for more than 25 years... I thought it had to do with some romantic notion, but I found out, by chance, that it had to do with the local belief that every night, in the Nidhivan forest, Lord Krishna appears, performing the divine dance with his consort, Radha. A really mystical, divine act that can't be witnessed by ordinary people, as it can drive them mad.  Vrindavan is the childhood place of Lord Krishna, a holy place for the hindus. My subject was making open plans for a trip around the world and had just purchased some new clothes. Written in the label of the most beautiful blouse was the word "Vrindavan"... She told me that her first stop would be India. This subject had to be further studied, I thought to my self. To be continued... 

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High Sierra

High Sierra

Her husband was rich and determined to be a film producer. He was a film noir lover and wanted her to be the star in the remake of a classic 1941 movie, "High Sierra", starring Ida Lupino and Humphrey Bogart. He also  wanted to shoot the movie in an original location in the Sierra Nevada, the "snowy mountain range"... She loved those mountains. It was high and cold in High Sierra and it reminded her the time when she met the infamous "Mexican", a writer who became her closest friend. But that was all in the past... She indulged her husband because she secretly hoped that fate would bring him into her life once more. The Mexican was missing and he was always enchanted by the high, cold mountains of California. 

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Graceland

Graceland

That was the name of her destination, a place one could travel to without moving, since it was in another dimension. I have done so many trips of that sort in my photographic investigations career that I was reluctant to follow. Interdimensional travel is very dangerous for the life of the photographic investigator because it depletes -in a very rapid rate- the vital energy supplies. I didn't have much of them anymore. But a photographic investigator can't just sit and preserve whatever energy she has left. It's like being dead already. "You never know which one could be your last investigation" I thought to myself. It might as well be this one. 

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Looking for Grace

Looking for Grace

That was the objective of yet another assignment, another photographic investigation. Once I found her and I completed my job, though, I realised I wasn't the only one looking for her. Of course once one realises that she is always hiding in plain sight, suddenly there is no need for looking. Anyway, she was here only temporarily, so I had to take advantage of that. I found out that she was heading to a place called Graceland and I decided to follow her there. This place is found in another reality and I didn't know if there was any energy left in me for all this. Time travel and reality crossing is exhausting, it depletes a photographic investigator's vital energy. One of these days I was about to complete my last mission, I knew that, maybe this one would be in Graceland, after all. More about that in the following blog post (if there is going to be one...). 

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The interview

The interview

It was scheduled for Christmas day of 1944 in a New York hotel and, as it happened so often lately, I had to travel in time -again. I was a little concerned because a photographic investigator can safely make no more than 6 time travels in a period of 2 years and this would be my 5th one. I didn't want to waste them in case a grand photographic investigation opportunity presented itself... It would be a crime not to be able to go, but, the truth is that you can never know if an investigation is important until after the investigation. So, I couldn't say no, although I was reluctant in my heart. But I also had faith. Besides, even if it would end up to be a complete debacle, there would be something there for me, anyway. The year was 1944 and I had met the infamous film noir director Otto Preminger in another time travel photographic investigation. We had some good laughs and he promised me that the next time we met, he would let me investigate Gene Tierney right at the premiere of the greatest film noir of all times, "Laura", that was due for that same day. They say it's bad luck to wish for a photographic investigation to fail, but I did anyhow... 

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Communication

Communication

There are many ways to communicate and a photographic investigator knows that, although she has chosen to do it through visual stimulation, images and mood, these are the most deceptive forms of communication. But the important thing is to keep the channels open, despite of the importance, truth or value of the message conveyed. The only way to do that is to keep communicating. What will actually be communicated at the end of the day, has very little to do with the photographic investigator's intention or the recipients conscious perception. 

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Magic thoughts

Magic thoughts

From time to time I have come to encounter subjects that had the knowledge of how to shape the things to come. It's simple, really, for a photographic investigator to know how it is done, since their job is to observe, but usually difficult for subjects -who are accustomed to be observed or trying to avoid being photographically investigated. Tomorrow is not a fact, but today is. What you are thinking and feeling now, will inevitably shape your tomorrow. Having a subject consciously shaping her future, was a real delight for me. 

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