STORIES

 

I love collecting stories. I love documenting them. I love hearing them. But most of all I love sharing them.   

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

So I went for a walk about and shoot with my lovely friend and fellow photographer Felicia. She really wanted to explore street photography in my hood so off we went to shoot the streets of the Downtown East side. Of course first thing I see is a bunch of crows and as I crouch to take the picture of one poised over a drumstick....his companion flies over him and defecates on his wing....classy...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Most of my street photography is driven by curiosity...I walk along and if my brain goes "I wonder what the story is with that?"....I dash off and photograph it. First story of the day was this 10 year old Pomeranian who gets babied and carried around in a bag....lucky little monkey.

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Of course I love odd things...and odd sights. I'm really drawn to abandoned items and incomplete stories...my brain just wants to fill the gaps with fantastical stories. For instance, a phone booth that is no longer a phone booth.

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

...abandoned bicycles.

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

And then there was the curious business of the building that was being torn down. For the life of me I can not figure out why the constructions workers would tear out the innards of the building...even break the glass....but leave the blinds up?!?

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Seriously....you can see the amount of tear down in this shot...no ceiling no nothing...but still the blinds stay up.

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Odd isn't it?

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Of course this curiosity isn't limited to objects....I also have a weird fascination with shadows and light...I get a ton of odd looks when I photograph.

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

So Felicia and I kept walking along when we spotted a frying pan with what looked like eggs in it. Of course my lack of glasses didn't help. Again curiosity reared its head so I look at the guy sitting beside the pan and go "What are those?"....."Are those golf balls?".....and that intro led into one of the more entertaining conversations of the day.

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

His name is Trevor....or he also goes by "Bubbles" (does a fantastic impression of the trailer park boys). He was surrounded by friends who were all teasing him....and of course that spilled over to us and pretty soon Felicia and I were getting razzed and laughing along with them. I love my city.

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

So after we left "Bubbles" we turned the corner and lo and behold there in front of me was a cowboy and his walker.

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

You know me....I couldn't resist...I went up introduced myself and started chatting him up.

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

He told me his name was Brian, and gladly showed me his boots.

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Such a handsome charmer, he said he was flattered that two young ladies were asking for his image.....but then again he attributes it to his new "haircut". "What haircut? Show me!" I said....and he pulled off his cowboy hat to show me a perfectly shaved head.

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Most times when I am curious about someone I will walk over and introduce myself. But other times I surreptitiously take a portrait that invites its audience to be as curious as I am.

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Of course a walk in the DTES would not be complete if we didn't go exploring down alley ways. And before you ask....no....I did not lift the lids to see if they were used...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

Two Hours in my Curious Life...

And finally...at the end of our walk I came across one of my favorite curiosities....grafitti. Makes me wonder about this Thomas fellow

Whiskey Jerry

Whiskey Jerry

I was at the park one day when I spotted this charmer and I struck up a conversation with him asking for his story and his portrait

Whiskey Jerry

Whiskey Jerry

He told us they call him Whiskey Jerry and he was more than happy to tell us his story.

Whiskey Jerry

Whiskey Jerry

What followed was the most epic and animated story I ever heard.

Whiskey Jerry

Whiskey Jerry

He told a tale of how back in the day he shot at a group of cops He never did tell us why...but the story was entertaining all the same.

Whiskey Jerry

Whiskey Jerry

The story didn't end well for him...he never did get away with it and did get caught.

Whiskey Jerry

Whiskey Jerry

He told us it was okay though...he did the crime so he had to do the time and is now square with the law.

Grandma Sally

Grandma Sally

She lives downstairs, one of the most resilient, outspoken, funny and sweet people I have ever met. Sally....or "Grandma Sally" as the pups call her is 79 years old. She embodies a level of sass, strength and certainty of character that I have never seen before.

Grandma Sally

Grandma Sally

She has had many health scares over the last few years that would have done in anyone else.

Grandma Sally

Grandma Sally

But there she sits at home, smoking her cigarettes, doling out her wisdom in a hoarse smoke filled voice.

Grandma Sally

Grandma Sally

She tells me about all the men she has loved in her life....how she used to love to dance ("proper dancing none of that silly stuff") and how she plans to go to a Salsa dancing class with her walker on Sunday.

Grandma Sally

Grandma Sally

She worries about Gordon and I, she worries about us constantly and how we are recovering from the car accident.

Grandma Sally

Grandma Sally

I reassure her telling her it will be fine and we will get better. That the universe must have set us this challenge because it thought we could handle it. Her response "THAT''S A BUNCH OF BULLSHIT"

Grandma Sally

Grandma Sally

Sally can always be counted on to tell it like it is. She has no filter and truly believes that all residents in our condo building are like family to her.

Grandma Sally

Grandma Sally

But a story about Sally wouldn't be complete if I didn't share one of her favorite jokes. Sorry folks it isn't PG so quit reading while you are ahead if you require PG. She is constantly checking to see if we have a "bun in the oven". And every time we say not yet.....she looks at Gordon goes "Tsk tsk....you know you gotta let it soak"..... .....................................I still haven't figured out what exactly she means

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

I went to visit a healer in the Boeng Kak slum area of Phnom Penh. One of my goals was to have a talisman made to protect me on the journey back home. The other was to explore the role of a traditional healer in Khmer culture. As a nurse, I am always fascinated to learn about different ways of healing, and this was an opportunity I just could not pass on.

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

When I walked into his home I was startled by the contrast between my expectations and my reality. There laying before me cachectic, sick and hooked up to a lipid IV infusion was this revered healer my friend had told me about.

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

He told me that the doctor had come by earlier that morning and started the lipid infusion before leaving him to fend for himself. I was cringing inside thinking of all the potential complications that could be. Every time I travel I inevitably struggle between being a photographer and being a nurse. It is scenes like this that I struggle with years after encountering them. Though I expressed concern at his state he dismissed my worries and beckoned me closer into the room.

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

He quickly got down to the business of making me a talisman; a process that begun with inscribing magical spells onto a piece of lead which he was happy to show me.

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

So worn down and fatigued, he was unable to complete making the talisman so he handed it to his wife for her to complete the process of making it into a bracelet She rolled the sheet of lead, spells facing inward over a bracelet of red string before handing it back to him to whisper and blow magic into it before she wrapped it around my wrist

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

My curiosity got the better of me and I politely asked him what his “illness” was. He told me he was having stomach cramps but that the western medicine was helping. When asked if he knew what the cause was he stated that he believed it was the curse from another traditional healer who was envious of him and his power. He said he had no qualms about mixing traditional and western medicine to fight this curse because he knew that his magic was strong enough to fight back

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

A Non-Traditional/Traditional Healer

I walked away from this experience with a better appreciation for how healing doesn't have to be either or. Healing doesn't always look like I expect it to look; even when i am an expert in a certain way of healing.   And that sometimes, the patients belief in the healing powers of a form of therapy is as strong or stronger than the therapy itself

© Marta Musa Artist 2010 - 2020

 

 

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