Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day Everybody!!! It's February 14th, 2012. While the year is, as some believe, a Doomsday Year, the day may be one reminding us of the brighter side of life--love, trust, inner peace...

Love comes in various ways. Here are just a few examples:

Classical, conventional, Silhouetted Love:
Wedding Silhouettes, Waikiki, Hawaii. Copyright 2010 by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Wedding Silhouettes, Waikiki, Hawaii. Copyright 2010 by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Wedding Silhouettes, Waikiki, Hawaii. Copyright 2010 by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Less conventional, more passionate, love shadows:
Love Shadows. Copyright 2011 by Alina Oswald

Also less conventional, vampire love:

"Fangs: Vampire showing human feelings towards his cat" Copyright 2010 by Alina Oswald

Love and remembrance:

9/11 Tribute Lights and the Katyn Memorial. Copyright 2008 by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Flowers and Candles at Katyn Memorial for late Polish President. Copyright 2010 by Alina Oswald

Hope you all have a wonder-filled weekend. I leave you with a few images and a Valentine-related excerpt from Journeys Through Darkness: A Biography that tells the story of AIDS through the story of AIDS warrior and long-term survivor, award-winning legally blind visual artist Kurt Weston.

Enjoy and thanks for visiting!
Happy V's Day!
Alina Oswald

On Valentine’s Day weekend in 1998, Kurt had just gotten back home from school and was looking forward to some much needed rest, when a few members of the Asian Pacific Crossroads group called him to invite him to a party. At first, Kurt declined the invitation. He was too exhausted and had a full week worth of studies in Los Angeles ahead of him. But the Asian Pacific members refused to take no for an answer, and even offered to pick him up from his place and take him to the party. So Kurt accepted to go with them in the end.
    It was at this party that the group organizers decided they wanted to raise money for the organization through a fundraising project—a calendar featuring some of the Asian men who were members of the organization.
    “All we need is a photographer,” they said. 
    “Well… Kurt is a photographer,” the ones who knew Kurt pitched in. 
    “Yeah, but I’m legally blind now,” the photographer said.
    They were somehow disappointed and asked him if he’d ever tried to photograph after losing most of his sight. He still had his equipment, but couldn’t see anything clearly, so he wasn’t sure he could even focus the camera anymore. They interpreted his insecurity as hope and decided to give him two models to practice with for the calendar pictures and see what he could do.
    So, he ended up using his special equipment, the handheld telescope and special magnification finger-thick glasses he’d purchased with the help of the Department of Rehabilitation. Kurt worked with the two models for a full afternoon, using different lighting for different pictures. The process was much slower than when he used to work as a fashion photographer.

    At the end of the photo shoot, Kurt presented Asian Pacific Crossroads with a few sample photos of his models and waited for their reaction. And they took a look at his work and were amazed by its quality. They named him their photographer and decided to let him shoot the entire calendar.
    Kurt Weston started to work on his project in May of 1998, and while doing so he began to learn—and then to master—the use of his special equipment. The learning process didn’t happen overnight. It took time and patience. The photographer had to work much slower and make sure that everything was in focus, although sometimes he couldn’t be certain. It took him months to finish the 1999 Asian Pacific Crossroads calendar, while working during the weekends and going to school in L.A. during the week.
    “It was scary. A lot of times, I would take a leap of faith and do a lot of experimentation,” Weston describes this learning process. Yet, upon accomplishing the goal, it dawned on him that he could still photograph.
    Photography has always been his life and passion, his only inspiration. It had been heartbreaking for the artist to learn that he would never be able to photograph again. But the completion of the Asian Pacific Dreaming 1999 Calendar in August 1998 was proof that he could. It also opened a whole new reality for Kurt Weston, a reality which introduced him to the world of art photography, something he’d always wanted to try ever since his college years.
    A feature article in the L.A. Times followed shortly in November of the same year and covered Weston’s success. Not long after that, the Braille Institute invited the photographer to become part of an art show they were putting together at the Anaheim Museum of Art. They asked him to showcase some of his works. It became obvious to the artist that photography could still be part of his life, not as commercial photography, but as fine art photography.
    Besides, while living with AIDS and visual loss, it would have been practically impossible for Weston to get back into commercial photography because of the amount of energy it required, but he could definitely photograph artistically. So he started devoting his attention to art photography, which later allowed him to display some of his early pieces, like The Runway, and thus further contribute to his artistic career.


  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Cancer Treatment Guide

  2. Hi Susan,

    Thank you! I woke up this morning to be greeted by your heartfelt note. I truly appreciate it and the link to Cancer Treatment Guide, vital for so many people's survival.

    I started the blog because, well... everybody was starting a blog and because I wanted to talk about Kurt Weston's story in Journeys Through Darkness. And while I've been drawn to the darker side of life ever since I can remember, I decided to dedicate the blog to these sorts of topics. I do believe, though, that one can find light (and hope) deep within the darkness. With people like you and sites like Cancer Treatment Guide (and hopefully Kurt Weston's Journeys Through Darkness) one can find the way back to hope, life and light.

    I do appreciate your comment and hope you will visit often :-)
    Thanks again and look forward to reading more of your comments,