coincidental encounters

to be hugged require

attention instead of


seeing instead of 


experiencing instead of



The blurriness comes when the shades are down and the mind is rushing. Clarity comes from light being shed on what is underneath that rush. 


I’m sitting on the 16th floor of a hotel in Jakarta. I have a thin slice of the city on the palm of my hand. In each corner or a nook wherever I look I find life and a short story. It’s evening. The city takes few last short breaths before awakening the next morning on Monday. 

I hear somewhere near a lonely bakso salesman hitting the spoon on an empty glass to let others know it’s time for the last treat of the day. Traffic is still bustling on the highways somewhere on the horizon yet in a somehow slower manner,  as if the closing night brings a long awaited peace. The business centre before me, in far distance, full of lights, acts as a beacon and reminder to call for the undecided to prepare for a new week.

I sit here yet again after a longer while with a similar view on the city. A different man, a changed man. Jakarta, it’s been a while. I’ve experienced a lot of death and resurrection recently. Both in a literal and figurative meaning.

I stop thinking, take in the dense and wet air in my lungs and continue sitting in silence and gratitude.


Saudade is a feeling that recently dominates my imaginative landscape and parts of my heart. It reminds me of the locations and people I met. 

For those curious of the meaning, the word itself comes from Portugese language and cannot be translated directly. 

Wikipedia makes an effort, to my liking, by describing it as:

”(…) an emotional state of melancholic or profoundly nostalgic longing for a beloved yet absent something or someone. It is often associated with a repressed understanding that one might never encounter the recipient of longing ever again. It is a recollection of feelings, experiences, places, or events— often illusive — that cause a sense of separation from the exciting, pleasant, or joyous sensations they once caused.” 

Saudade originates from Latin solitās, solitātem which mean “solidude” as if instructing me with the direction I should embark on to understand it.


“Words became cheaper. They multiplied, but lost their value. They are everywhere. There are too many. They swirl, swarm, torment like clouds of insistent flies. They stun.

So we miss tranquility. We miss silence. Wandering through the fields. Through the meadows. Through the forest that hums, but does not waffle, does not jabber, does not toot.”

- Ryszard Kapuściński


Start killing your darlings.

One of the rules in photography, when preparing your material, during the selection phase is not to be afraid to kill your darlings. Darlings being all the photographs that you love, and probably only you understand. 

In a professional setting, personal preference does not matter (with some exceptions). What matters is the story you want to tell and how you tell it. 

I must say, it’s a bloodbath. One of the most painful, soul-crashing experiences I’ve lived through… Well, maybe not that bad, but you get my drift. 

A common practice is to do it with an editor or a close friend photographer whom you can trust. One that will be ruthless while, at the same time, giving a fresh look and some good argumentation. Supporting you in telling your story, not theirs.

Another option is to sleep with it. Print your photographs and lay them on the table in a sequence that feels right to you. Leave them for a few hours or days, then return to do the edits. Both of those techniques can, and often are, combined.

The goal is to have a coherent story that tells what you want to convey. Something that has rhythm and leaves a mark on the viewer. 

Now, think where you get stuck and stand by ideas, beliefs or statements that may be your darlings but don’t make sense anymore. They just don’t fit the story you are pursuing. They keep you in a limbo.

Which of those darlings should you kill today?

Originally published at subscribe.konkel.co

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