Tag Archives: Photography

Film connection.

I know, months ago I had promised not to make a post about photography here, but what can I do?, it’s part of my life.

Before the very tough end of December and almost all January I had some chance to load some film on a camera I had just acquired. Why film?, being used to shooting only digital for almost 12 years, getting back to film requires more attention from my mind, focusing more on what I want to include in the frame and what not, composing better, being more aware of light, being more in the present moment, something that is so refreshing for mind and soul, so good for mental health.

These few images are from the roll I used to test the camera so I was even more concentrated on the things I was doing to get consistent results and to use the most of the camera’s features. Since I haven’t had the chance to travel for several months now, I like to share with you this brief selection, most in line with the theme that gives more joy to my soul, little details of the closest to Nature I have at hand close to home.

If you want to see more of my photography, film or digital, please go to my photography blog.

Kodak Pro Img100 Test F28a_FuzzJuegaKodak Pro Img100 Test F26a_FuzzNmesaKodak Pro Img100 Test F18a_PapayoKodak Pro Img100 Test F17a_Mano&chilesKodak Pro Img100 Test F16a_HueFritos

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Peace for the soul.

Hot or cold, in wet and windy weather, being in the presence of the true divinity: Nature.

Scenes like this I always find so, so enjoyable, immersing myself into the deepest connection with life, some solace time to hear the true voices of my inner self.

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Almost normal. The struggle of going out.

Almost normal, like the life of everyone else.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be saying this, should I?

Mind and body playing tricky games with me lately, many of the things that should be on track are stuck, holidays are over, so the machine should be on full throttle right? Even here on the blog some posts should be already published by now, and they’re still pending… Inspiration, concentration, focus, energy, not very much on my side lately.

Now to the point.

Solitude, which turns into loneliness easily is something my psycho doc and my therapist have told me to strongly avoid. The latter has said: “don’t get locked at home, go out with some friends, to the movies, to museums, for a walk at a nice park…”. The idea is not bad at all, not so practical though: closer to where I live aside a few shopping malls there’s not much action, for that the Centro Historico (Downtown), Coyoacan or the areas between and close around from there are the way to go; talking about culture and art this area nearby is metaphorically speaking, dead really.

Not only that, I used to go to train rope access techniques one, two, or even three times weekly, the place is across the city from home, which can take, making use of suburban bus and subway, on the short, at least 1:45 hours, on the long, close to 3 hours!

I did it for years, never reluctantly, never feeling public transportation was not good enough for me, going training or other places, by myself.

Since late November 2016, for those who haven’t read about it here on this blog, when that bad depression and anxiety relapse came, the first months I remained locked at home with the exception of going with the doctor or the therapist, by car or with the aid of Uber once, just a few subway stations, picked up by friends and family on the way home. A couple of months later the idea of getting into the subway was still not pleasing at all, but I had to anyway.

Long before the darkest months, more than a year I think, taking the subway meant a small degree of uneasy, kind of anxious sensations, something to deal with… After the falling though it turned into a dark, confusing experience, a sordid trail. The long waits for the train to arrive, minute after minute after minute of facing somber thoughts and anxiety while surrounded, pushed, crushed by human masses, loud, really loud noises, the overwhelming load of people coming and going, chatting here and there, guys with huge loudspeakers selling “music”… unbearable cacophony…

Some degree of recovery has allowed me to go inside the dark alleys again but the fact is that getting in there is still not nice at all for me, so I try not to take the plunge that route. For months I’ve stayed at home most of the days, for me going out is a possibility of finding restlessness and exposing myself to very stressful moments, wether facing the city traffic while driving or making use of the “Metro” as we call Mexico City’s subway the sensory overload is something I’m not so used to anymore. In fact some have invited me to join them going making photos, to chat for a few hours or the like and I’ve had to decline more than once since the experience is not pleasing for me, nor is very healthy.

For long I’ve wanted to share this very short series of images of what that experience has been for me. I carry a camera almost everywhere I go, images are an easier way for me to communicate what I feel or think so I portrayed some of those anguishing moments months ago. The images are from February 2016.

The greatest possible happiness.

“…You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer.

If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer…”

V. W.

A foot in front of the other 

Is it possible to see the light after being crawling into darkness?

It’s been about a year since a mind collapse struck me the hardest in November 2016 after almost another previous year the symptoms that something wrong was about to happen were arising. I’ve learnt so many things, I’ve been through several ups and downs, feeling better and then relapsing… at times I’ve felt as if I could fly, at times I remember that even placing one foot in front of the other is like hauling around a ton of iron chains…

Photography has been a translator of my mind and soul during the hardest times, in the following days I will be sharing here and on my personal instagram account a sort of photo essay which includes many of the images that tell my journey.

Duel of Fates

I’m my life there has almost always been the prescence of some sort of fatality. My dreams have been obscured by something that has gotten in the way, the causes are several and not completely clear to me, yet… Since my fall into darkness last November, when despair and desolation began to fade a little my mind and soul have had the chance to untie some knots in the deep, now I’m on the process of coming back to life and I’m working on finding the strength to build a different and much better future for myself. My fate until now, an almost continuum of failures, deceptions, broken projects and promises, that’s a fact, the dark branches of a twisted tree, against this fate, there’s another fate yet uncertain and somewhat diffused like leaves disappearing in the mist, but a fate that my will to live will shape solid and strong nonetheless! The duel between these two is soon about to begin…

The Right to reach for the Sky.

I’ll say it once again! Is anyone capable or with the right to judge someone else as “not normal” or “not worthy”?!

Calakmul, Mexico. Kingdom of the Divine Lords of the Snake.

Amazed by the inmense lushness of the forest surrounding the ancient Maya constructions and more than anything the trees growing on top, a special encounter inspired me the following thoughts:

Sitting, waiting, a turn of the head and there he was, twisted…

Awkwardly extending his trunk and branches upwards and sideways,

A messy and hairy cover that played with the clouds…


Weird he might seem to many, there by himself, with roots deep,

Below what human hands built centuries ago.

For sure I know, for my soul tells me, one of the special ones he is,

Different he is, and wise too, a lot he has been through,

And the right to reach for the Sky he has too.

Taking off the mask.

(Posted previously in Spanish, now a version for my followers who do better with english since the google translator in some parts alter the meaning of what I truly like to convey to you)

What do you think? Is it always possible to easily distinguish one color from another, or, going even further, can anyone give this color a clear and specific name without fear of being mistaken or entering into controversy with someone next to us who is seeing the same color but dissents from our opinion ? Maybe some will think so, but many more will agree that no one sees the colours exactly the same way as the others, so, if we can not have a certainty about a simple color, how can we judge the value of a person by just taking a glance at their clothing, their way of living, their family members or economic circumstances, or some of their character features or physical appearance ?!

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This article is not about photography or travel, or adventures in caves as it had been in the past, this time I write in order to initiate a process of healing, liberation, sincerity with life. I do not pretend to generate reactions of any nature, much less commiseration, if anything, I aspire to a better understanding of the past and present course of my life from those who can and are interested in doing so, and mainly to achieve myself a somewhat deeper understanding of my life.

Encouraging myself to share this has been a very hard and conflicting decision, the following I write comes from the deepest of my own self, and being about what it is about, prejudices and stigmas will soon disturb some. Now I’m not worried about it anymore, if there are those whose short sight, closed mind or ignorance prevents them from understanding, I really don’t care.

Sooner or later the soul seeks its way, when adversity shows its meanest and most eroded face it can break down even to the deepest foundations. They say that difficult situations are when opportunities present in their greatest, so I do have the hope that the opportunity is enormous in the current state that my life is in.

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The clear and timely opportunity that does present to me is to set fire to the facade that obstructs the view of my true Self, before me and before the others. The continuos burden of keeping to myself some secrets, pretending to be a “normal” (who has the right to give a definition of what normal means?) person have charged a very high fee on me, I can no longer carry that load so it’s time to uncover the “crickets pot”, open the Pandora’s box and show myself with no mask before everybody, and above everything else before myself, facing all my ghosts.

The struggle every day to find reasons to get out of bed and show a smile on my face to others, trying to appear like a normal person full of joy and enthusiasm generates a constant and harsh battle inside me. Only a few ones know that almost 10 years ago I found myself submerged in a sea of extremely dense blackness, from some people who knew about it I received rejection and discrimination, so I decided to hide a truth that I can not silence anymore, despite the consequences that revealing it now may bring.

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In May 2007, without warning, I fell for several weeks in an abyss of complete darkness, anguish without measure, moments of terror and a continuous anxiety, an anxiety that burns the flesh and corrodes the soul. In those days I lost almost completely my connection with the world, crawling through the bottom of a murky, dark place almost out of all sanity from where I felt I would never return. Being almost to the point where my body did not accept any food, night after night with no sleep at all, going through the creepy sensations that generated the medication in me, then, only a voice, a survival impulse, a primitive will, the most basic instinct to live, to keep breathing threw me a rope to get out of the abyss. That same impulse made me get up early from bed after endless nights of soaking the sheets with the sweat that shapeless terrors squeezed from the pores of my skin. I do not remember well how it happened, I only recall the image of being already outside the house with the imperious need to perceive the warm touch of the rays of the Sun, and trying to calm a very intense anxiety I tried to pick up some of the world with my eyes, breathing in the aromas and colours, the textures of the leaves, the flowers, watching with a limited and diffused vision as if standing into a dark a tunnel the smallest detail, every touch of light on a leaf, following with my fingertips the plant’s stems, the petals, longing to feel some life as I struggled to expel the despair and the feel of death from each of my cells.

Fading

I lived days and weeks of intense anguish, desolation and deep confusion that inhabited my mind and my body, however against all of those symptoms the medication did not seem to offer some relief, rather on the contrary, so, when my desire to live dissipated the clouds a little I decided to leave the medication and started fighting the anguish and some of the confusion – a feel that was similar to having the sensation of having the head imprisoned between some great pliers- with a lot of willpower and strenuous routines of exercise, routines so exhausting that helped me to get a few hours of sleep.

After several weeks more there was a slight improvement, and even then I knew I needed something more to get my health and my life ahead. Months before my existence crumbled to the ground I had already decided to take a mountaineering course, I knew that there was a path for improving and healing, and I signed that October to a course of 3 months. Trekking and hiking through forests and rivers, climbing our mountains, rock climbing, going through the depths of the Earth, camping in contact with Nature, the doses of adrenaline, all that was for me a lifesaver, and something that since then I enjoy really a lot, that I love doing, and something that I can’t think of living without. Other more physically and technically demanding courses followed and in months I considered to be free of that terrible stage in my life, that fearsome ghost, of which in months and years I did not want to hear or read anything about because of the such a cruel experience I lived and the terrible memories that came to my mind. Nor did I want to talk about that in years thinking that it was already a thing of the past, where I tried to bury it forever.

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Events of the present have made me realise that I never fully healed. The facts of the last months have confronted me with this reality, which, however hard it is to know and face, it opens the door for me to be free at last. How did I come to those conclusions?, without being as cruel as the episode of 2007, I have suffered a recent and very hard return to the shadows, to the confusion and to stand again in front of the infamous face of anguish and desolation. It has been months ago that the descent into darkness was coming, possibly more than a year in which within my being it began to spring an unavoidable rebellion against the heavy and hurting burden I have been carrying for so long.

In 2007 the doctor who attended me was too meager and negligent in the study of my case, fortunately the psychiatrist – yes, psychiatrist – who helps me since November, when seeking the help of one was already unavoidable, has done an in-depth analysis of many factors, physical, physiological, emotional and behavioral along my life. From everything the Dr. and I could deduce, it came to light a terrible but likely encouraging truth: since I was a very young child, or perhaps since I was born I have been living under that yoke, since then, lacking that childlike joy, always with a latent anxiety, a diffused fear without being able to recognise the source of a tangible danger.

How much can a person’s life be affected by a neural chemistry mismatch? !!! Serotonin, dopamine … a medicine school’s classroom words, harmless until they echo in your ears in the psychiatrist’s office, when he puts before you that fearsome statement, followed by a cold silence…

A forest near Jilotzingo, Mexico. November 2016. ©Eduardo Mendoza.

Yes, the signs of a condition -chronic already- of anxiety and depression have been there for most of my life, lack of concentration, too few encounters with enthusiasm, and more recently, my distractions, the lack of memory, slow but steady weight loss and muscle mass, a certain degree of confusion in some situations, difficulty in handling stressful situations, digestive disorders, difficulties to keep a conversation going on, headaches, and many other things, the list is long and affects so much …

In 2007 I tried to get ahead by myself with a lot of will, a sport lifestyle, and the best attitude I was capable of. After almost 10 years I have realised that these efforts have not been enough, that the shadow has been always along with me to a greater or lesser extent all this time and that I may have to take medicines that will help my mind for the rest of my life. Now I also know that many ghosts that come out from my past make worse that disorder in my brain, and that I must confront them, send them light and let them go. I said above that the truth was also encouraging, yes, since although a hard battle appears before me, I know that in the end I will win and I will be free at last!

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I also think it is pertinent to share that much of the photographic work that I have been doing, especially the one I’ve done in recent times has much of its roots embedded in these experiences. From the prevailing need to reconnect with the world was born contemplating and capturing in images that little world, flowers, details of leaves, insects, what lies hidden on a forest ground… that one we rarely pay attention to, but that it keeps wonders to those who know how to look or is in need to understand the miracle of Life. Likewise, finding delight in staring at the immensity of the great mountains, at the huge plains as far as the eye can see, at the strokes of light through the trees canopy, at a sky crowded with cotton-like clouds , or looking for the essence of my surroundings in visual compositions that seek to convey, be it simplicity and minimalism, or the great complexity of Nature’s Creation, all of this fills my being with something special that drives me to live and that I seek to capture and transmit through my vision, a sensitive vision since yes, I am very sensitive to the stimuli, to what I experience of the world and the people, good and bad, which on one hand it’s a disadvantage, since the rough or aggressive can affect me more than it affects other people, and on the other hand, it is a blessing, because it opens my conscience to the beautiful, noble and admirable.

Facing the future.

The picture above seems to me to be very adequate to what I am going through now, most of that horizon is hidden behind dense and dark clouds, and yet it is possible to discover beyond the clouds a clear bright sky, to which I hope I will be able to get after finally unfolding my wings, rising from the ashes and getting rid of the deep shadows in which I have spent most of my life.

I do not think I can say anything else, in these weeks when my life, my mind and my soul have had to be reduced to the essential, the most basic, and now that the confusion has diminished a little, I have been able to get to some conclusions, to make some decisions and understand a little more of the road I have traveled in my life and some glimpses of what direction I should direct my footsteps from now on. What it does remain a mystery to me, is how will be that person, that Eduardo free of shadows and with a fulfilled soul, the bright and shiny Eduardo, full of Light. I really would love to have an idea, a small clue about it, I will wait until that happens, I hope I will be able to be patient, until now nobody has met him, in my whole life not even myself has met Him!!!

Will to Live

The not so diffused picture, my collaboration on Broken Light. 

When images are more than just pretty pictures, and say more than a lot of words.

Don’t you get excited when you or some of your relatives appear on TV??

Well, the following image means a lot to me, it’s my third contribution in the online gallery of the Broken Light Collective!! Let me tell you about it!!

Broken Light Collective is a nonprofit organisation founded in 2012 by Danielle Hark,  that strives to create safe and accepting environments where photographers of all levels who are affected by mental health challenges can display their work, as well as inspire one another to keep going and keep creating, despite the dark or scary places in which they may find themselves. The work of the collective is of trascendental importance towards fighting the stigma commonly associated with mental health issues and all the lack of understanding that surrounds it.

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I’ve been very lucky to have found about this community and get in touch with it, it has made me understand my own situation a little more and look at it from a not so dark a perspective, and helped me to lighten the heavy load of the deep loneliness and suffering I have been immersed into. I feel honoured that my work in images and words has already been featured in the online gallery three times until these day!! It really is so valuable for me to share part of myself with the other members who walk along similar paths.

Here I share my three first entries that are already on Broken Light’s online gallery:

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If there’s anything else I can say is that I’m so grateful with Danielle and all the team at Broken Light Collective for making me part of the community and sharing my thoughts, feelings and photographic work, it represents such an honest support for me!!

To find more about Broken Light Collective’s work and the contributions of the members please visit their website.

The End of the year, The End for this blog.

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There’s an unavoidable moment when everything comes to its dusk, completing a cycle just as the Sun follows his path across the sky everyday until it hides far beyond the west. Different times require transformations in Life. So that’s right, with this post this blog reaches its end, at least, the way it has been from its start. In fact, the previous post is the last one in which the main topic is my photography work.

The original name, Ojo de Piedra, “Eye of Stone” was inspired based in my philosophy of life, but also and most importantly, in the way I interact with the world, almost always looking for the light, the textures, the places, the people or the moments I can translate with a camera and a lens in something that is part of my understanding, that has my signature, my vision, or my sense of aesthetics. That said, the main topic of this blog has always been my photography, the places I capture when I travel, documenting my adventures or my ideas, a little talk about photo gear and technique, and the like. In that tune the “eye” fitted really nicely, you know, the act of looking, the camera lens, etc., the full phrase has a lot more meaning behind the three words to it, something much more intimate that is inspired by a fragment of a story from the Aztec philosophy that resonates a lot with my way of thinking about myself.

In the recent months my life has been going through very hard times and that has made me take the tough decision of leading this blog away from what it was and take it into another direction. Thus, from now on my photography will still play a very important role here, but more as a means of expressing the tribulations of my mind, the process of understanding the path my life has followed, my thoughts and feelings as I embark on a journey through my inner self, a personal battle and a struggle that may lead myself through some not so nice places.

For sure there will be more photography oriented content for which I will start a new blog, which means to me the start of a new challenge and a new adventure, one that I’m really looking forward to share with you, so for sure you will be the first to know!!