by Lu Sobredo
~Celebrating the many dimensions of my husband James Sobredo: his interest, talent and heart as reflected through his camera lens.
IntroductionYes, my son and I, and sometimes our friends take very good pictures with our mobile phones. But the person, whose camera lens I totally rely on to document life's moments and special places, is my husband James Sobredo. Being around him and his photography partner and close friend, Steven Montalvo when on their photography shoots, is both meditative and exhilarating to watch. As if their eyes are connected to their hearts. And after many hours and enormous patience, they might be happy with the outcome. I know I am.
Folks have asked me why I find blogging so much fun? Other than the fact that:
- My family actually have visited the amazing places I write about.
- I get to meet fascinating people and who have become part of my family’s life.
- As strange as this sounds, it’s even fun to awkwardly attempt speaking a different language when abroad.
- Of course, I have tasted the food shown in the photos.
All of these make writing more pleasurable. The bonus that makes me giddy in the process of writing my blog? It’s having access to a massive collection of photos taken by my husband during those travels.
So when presented with the selection of photos for possible inclusion in my blog essay, I feel like a kid in a candy store, or more accurately, a big kid in a dessert shop. (I’m more drawn to scrumptious dessert cakes, puddings and tarts as an adult; in my mind, a mature version of a candy obsession). Not only is the essay brought to life by the accompanying pictures; those pictures are spiritually uplifting as well. And for someone who lives with a chronic illness with undefinable pain on a daily basis, I find pleasure even in the simple things.
As a tribute to my husband’s passion for the art of photography, with his permission, I present a Photo Essay. James views the world differently. He sees the world in a panoramic and an expansive perspective. Although a lot of work is involved, if the place he photographs seems to whisper wanting to be seen from more than one vantage point, he takes multiple shots of the scenery or subject. He then patiently stitches together the ones that meet his standards. It is a work of love. Some of these photos are most appealing on a 32x16 canvas and a few are available for purchase.
How did I select the photos for this essay? I must admit, my motivation for choosing what photos to include was mostly subjective and personal. But here are factors I considered:
- Light: Photos that showcase the play of light and darkness; maybe light in the night from lamp posts and buildings when captured by the camera lens with enough details to enchant.
- Landscape: Photographing landscapes is what gives my husband the unfettered joy when behind the camera. The photos are evocative when in daylight, and magical when saturated in moonlight or sunrise peaking slowly in the horizon. They exult the organic land and water, or the complex history and culture of the place.
- Life: Photos depicting people as backdrop or at the core in places we have visited. These photos showcase a unique human dimension to our travels. They represent the pulse, rhythm and texture of the place. They invite one to imagine possible stories behind the faces and activities. They evoke both wonderment and dissonance that self-resolve. They capture the imagination.
Photo EssayWithout further ado, here are some favorite images of light, landscape and life from many of my favorites of the photographs by Dr. James Sobredo, the university professor who has a deep passion for photography. Three photos are grouped under one title descriptive of the photos’ commonality and connectedness.
|Douro River Sparkles in Portugal. ©James Sobredo 2016|
No matter the weather, the photographer ventured on a long walk from sunset to dusk to admire the iconic river showered in lights in Porto, Portugal. The photographer chose to stay oblivious to the humidity and the hot temperature of the night, as well as the discomfort of stepping on undulating streets of cobblestones. Instead he seemed to have found solace in the privilege of what the camera lens could capture. The result, Douro River in lights.
|Clouds and Mt. Pulag Converged in the Philippines. ©James Sobredo 2013.|
|Thunderstorm and Torrential Downpour in Gijon, Asturias in Spain. ©James Sobredo 2016|
|Morning Sun Shines on Angkor Wat, Cambodia. ©James Sobredo 2013.|
The photographer had to wake up at 4 a.m. to take a bus for the opportunity to capture this scene at 5:30 a.m. A place of history, inhumanity and brutality, it is now visited by many in a seeming pilgrimage.
|Douro River at Sunset, Porto Portugal. ©James Sobredo 2016.|
|Symphony under the Stars in Florence, Italy. ©James Sobredo 2016.|
|Colors of the Night in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. ©James Sobredo 2013.|
|Tunnel in Porto, Portugal. ©James Sobredo 2016.|
|La Boqueria at Las Ramblas in Barcelona. ©James Sobredo 2010.|
|Light Show at Hongkong Harbor, China. ©James Sobredo 2017.|
Villa Cipressi Along Lago Di Como in Northern Italy. James Sobredo 2004.
Villa Cipressi is surrounded with gorgeous gardens, and exquisitely scented by flowers. You could see the flowers cascading down from the hotel to the lake.
|Filipino Immigrant Workers in Barcelona, Spain. ©James Sobredo 2017.|
|The Promenade in Lights in Donastia-San Sebastian, Spain. ©James Sobredo 2017.|
A promenade by the water is a familiar scene that we see in our other home— Sausalito, California. The promenade on Bridgeway looks out across the bay (Pacific Ocean) to the skyline of the city of San Francisco. (Photo not included in this essay).
|Communion of Land, Sea & Sky, Aklan, Philippines. ©James Sobredo 2017|
|A Walk Through Bavarian Forest: Mother and Son. ©James Sobredo 2004.|
The photographs selected for this Photo Essay are the ones that delighted the senses, tugged at my heart and propelled my imagination to another space and time. Some showcased light, both natural and human-made. Some others evoked layers of emotions in me, especially the photos from years ago. Why? Knowing it might be difficult for me to ever return to specific places because of my debilitating chronic illness. And I am at peace with that. I hope for the photos to bring on a smile to friends, family, and new readers. Maybe, these photos might even provoke questions or inspire healing thoughts. Maybe, all of the above.
So, when asked why I find blogging fun? Other than those reasons I have already mentioned at the start, I see writing for my blog a saving grace. This medical condition RA has a way of pulling focus on the pain it brings me daily. Pain and other symptoms have been my companion since the diagnosis over four years ago. Fortunately, writing has been a consistent companion in the past two years and counting. I am determined not to let the illness define me. Maybe, my writing will, instead. And that would be a much more welcomed and palatable challenge.
Vian Andrews, Welcome to Varenna from Jesse’s Journey. October 14, 2006, http://www.visitsitaly.com/lombardia/varenna/. Web. 29 August 2017.
Acknowledgement: A huge thank-you to my husband James Sobredo whose photographs are featured in this essay. He also provided the background stories that made it possible for me to write the descriptive narrative for each photograph.
Essay ©Lu Sobredo
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED