Zim Photography Blog

Food or Photography?

Posted: 31 March 2011 . / Categories: Thoughts

Recently a someone wrote on my facebook page, in response to my blog postings from the Middle East, “I love your style of being a foodie…” I had started thinking towards the end of the trip that I had posted a whole lot about food during this trip, perhaps more than usual. There are many reasons for that. First of all I was in both Syria (a highly repressive government that monitors a lot of internet activity) and Egypt (where things were still volatile). So food was a very safe topic.

But please consider that the reason I blog is to share my experience. I have come to find that the best way to experience a culture is through your stomach! Food is about hospitality and enjoying life. You can tell a lot about a culture and people in how they prepare and care for food. Do they take time to make good food? Do they sit around and enjoy it? All cultures with great food also have great people in it.Ever had a party without food? Ever been to a great wedding with lousy food?

Some once asked me if travel came first or photography? My answer was food comes first. Ok that’s an exaggeration. I choose travel destinations based on whether or not I think I will find great photography opportunities. I have come to find that if a place doesn’t have great photography opportunities then there had better be some great food. Otherwise it’s a total disaster. And trust me I’ve had a couple of those. Here’s one, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – some of the best food on earth. Not so much to shoot. But I’d go back just for the food.

So the next time you hear me talk about some great food, know that there were likely some great people sitting and chatting with me too.

Home Sweet Home

Posted: 30 March 2011 . / Categories: Thoughts, Where's Zim?

Although it’s always nice to be home, I must say returning home from this trip felt better than most. Travel fatigue really hit me hard this time. I think a lot of it had to do with the bad experiences in Egypt. As much as I try to tell myself that the sites were amazing and there did seem to be genuinely nice people there, I just can’t seem to shake the feeling that I kinda got ripped off somehow. This morning I woke up lost, thinking that I was in a hotel somewhere and thought to myself, “Which way is the bathroom? Did I miss the sunrise? What am I going to shoot instead?” It took a moment to realize that I was home and that the pressure was off and I could lay back down and relax for a while.

In my final analysis of this experience and what is currently happening in the region, I fear for the Middle East and North Africa. From my very limited, outside perspective these are my thoughts.

I think Egypt has a chance of getting a real democracy, one that it deserves. But I think it is a long way from helping all of it’s people get out of poverty and this will continue to create unrest within the country. I believe much the problem is deeply rooted.

As for Syria? I fear that the country is headed to a bloody civil war. There are many in the country who seem to love their ruler, Asad Bashar. The current violence shows that there are many who do not. They will clash. As a whole, from the people peddling tourist junk to the cobbler, Syrians just nice seem to be nice people who understand hospitality. A civil war is beneath them and I hope they will find common ground.

In my few contacts with Christians in both Egypt and Syria, I came to this realization: if you oppress or even give the impression that you are oppressing a minority population (or any population for that matter) they will do what they can to assert their “human rights” and their “place”. Whether that is a religious or ethnic minority it doesn’t matter. We see it here in this country and I see it everywhere in the world I have traveled. Somehow, as a community we must figure out how to allow minorities to exist not only among us but among themselves. Minorities do not need to be like us to be a part of us; and do not need to be a part of us to be like us.

Ready for the long trip to Minneapolis.

Posted: 02 August 2010 . / Categories: Thoughts

After staying at home last weekend. I’m ready for the long ride to Minneapolis. Thank goodness for satellite radio! I wonder if I will make any headway on learning Japanese in the car?

Wesport, CT – and my own pillow.

Posted: 14 July 2010 . / Categories: Thoughts

Well, i’m certainly looking forward to sleeping in my own bed this weekend, cause I’m doing the Wesport Fine Arts Festival this weekend and it’s close enough to commute. There really is nothing like your own bed!

Here’s to hoping for good weather and lots of people.


New work posted

Posted: 17 February 2009 . / Categories: Thoughts

After many long grueling hours editing my work from this last trip to Asia I have finally posted the images. You can find them on three different pages:

Malaysia, Indonesia, and Korea

There were a also number of people who helped me edit the thousands of images down to these; thanks to everyone who helped! I know your time is valuable.


First Ramble

Posted: 04 December 2007 . / Categories: Thoughts

I just realized that I have not posted for more than 10 days, and I had promised that I would try to write something every 10 days. I have been working non-stop in order to prepare for this upcoming trip to SE Asia again. I leave on Thursday night.

The thrust of my trip is to go on behalf of the Vietnamese Nom Preservation Foundation of which I was recently asked to be VP. I will be training the Foundation’s staff in the process of digitizing ancient books. In April I helped the Foundation sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Library of Vietnam to digitize their entire Nom collection. This trip will formally start the project. We will have with us a total of 4 board members (including our Chair) and several technical advisors. So the pressure is on. I will have about 10 days on the ground to make sure that all is well so that we can leave and know that the project will fly. This project will give the world a real glimpse into Vietnam’s history.

When I was there in April I digitized 2 books which were nearly 300 years old. It’s crazy. The Chair is hoping to be able to do a fund raiser while we are there. I find it really amazing how much the Foundation has accomplished on so little money. So if any of you feel so inclined in this holiday season, do send your tax deductible donation! (you should know that I am going as a volunteer, as are the others, and that our staff of 4 in Vietnam is paid about $250/month; so the money you send really does directly go into accomplishing the mission).

Anyway, I need to get back to packing and continued preparations! it’s late.

First Entry

Posted: 09 June 2007 . / Categories: Thoughts

Welcome! I’ve finally done it, I have my own blog! In preparation for my upcoming trip to Vietnam and Laos I have decided to start a blog. To see my strategy for the information you will find on this blog please refer to the page in the left column called “About this blog”. I hope to add interesting if not valuable content to this site about once every 10 days. Probably every day when I’m on the road. Hopefully I will be able to post photographs as I go along! If you would like to contact me use my regular email account in the contacts page.

Back to top