From Istanbul, with Love

 
Hannah Reyes Morales-2.jpg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

We had just been talking about our hopes for the year to come, telling stories about the people we love, celebrating how we survived the year, and we were dancing. We weren't far when the Istanbul attack happened. Those who died were doing the same things we were...

It was snowing when we woke up today. 

I cannot stop thinking about how I get to see another morning, another beginning, another year.

On the way home I was reading the paper and read a line from Susie Boyt:

I think that celebrating and mourning should be practised in equal measure, sometimes at the same time.

Here you are, 2017.

 

Cappadocia and Istanbul, 23 Dec '16-2 Jan '17.

 

A Love Letter for Turning 26

 

 

 

'I hope when you are away and your rings and I are home, you'll think of this silly little box and laugh at your loving husband's many fibbles and flaws and love me for them too. I love you my dearest wife. Love, Jon'

 

 

 

Love Letters

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

May 21, 2016.

Can you believe that a few years ago we were at Savemore counting coins because you were so broke and could only afford off brand corned beef? Now I'm walking down the aisle and you're sobbing and making people laugh and cry at the same time.

It feels mysterious that we got ourselves to this point.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Husband and wife. Husband and wife. Husband and wife.

I grew up around single mothers my whole life and it is strange to me to be part of

this mythical thing called husband and wife.

 

Jonny I am happy.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

To My Wife:

Three years earlier we came to Coron and we saw a church on a hill down a dirt road.  You didn't get out of the car and climb the steps because it was hot and you weren't thinking so far ahead, but I was already thinking about forever. In that tiny church of stone and seashells facing the sea, I knew where forever would start.

How little we knew then, how different we were! So many sharp corners still to turn, still fashioning cocktails from ice and water.  Cambodia wasn't even a glimmer in our minds yet, though it was rapidly approaching us unawares.  Still counting coins at Savemore cashiers, mixing rum in coke bottles in taxicab back seats. Sometimes change is like that I guess, a thousand coincidences conspiring backstage to alter the course of your life.  A chance meeting turns into a life and a lifetime.

And sometimes change doesn't sneak up on us.  Sometimes it's been foreseen and dreamed for years and the ghostly, hopeful vision becomes reality, in a stone and seashell church facing the sea.  It still caught me by surprise, and in my delight I didn't know if I was laughing or crying.  You are a dream come true.

The very first thing you said to me was "Lemme know if you're serious."

I was, I am.

I do.

 
 
 

Up a hill, down the aisle. All our worlds present, in people who know us truly and love the dark and bright bits of us.

This day is so delicate and so fleeting. 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Yes, I am here. And you are lucky to be here too after all the absurd things you've done since you left home.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

 

 

 

 

 


Images from various cameras during the week of the wedding.

Official Photographer: Joseph Pascual

Video: Dan Mendiola

Instant Camera Prints: Rosem Morton / MorePerspectives

Guests who accidentally became official photographers: Geric Cruz, Bianca Natola

More images from: Ben Woods, Thomas Cristofoletti, Aurora Almendral, Hannah Reyes

Chungking Mansions

It's known as the 'Ghetto in the Center of the World.'

Located in Kowloon, the Chungking Mansions building has a bit of a reputation. Friends from Hong Kong often warned against it with wide eyes, telling me to be careful in this fabled place. I stepped in its doors, with my little suitcase, and was immediately grabbed by a man. Hey baby do you need a room? 

I stayed in Chungking Mansions for several days during my first trip to Hong Kong, booking a tiny room in an old apartment complex that confusingly called itself a hotel. A tiny space, disguised as a hotel room. A run down building calling itself a mansion. Every day, they say 10,000 people go in and out of its doors - asylum seekers, restaurant owners, travelers, residents. It's the setting of Wong Kar Wai's Chungking Express, and has been compared to the Spaceport Cantina in Star Wars. 

I ended up there while attending a short (and amazing) course led by VII Photo's Christopher Morris, and for the class I took photographs of the building, when originally my idea was to do a story in Disney Land - which was perhaps the opposite of the mansions. Soon I would find myself inside narrow bedrooms with sticker walls, in a gazebo with a man as he smoked up some ice, up and down a maze of stairwells that was constantly surveilled.

Chungking Mansions is a curious little part of the world, difficult to make sense of. And yet, for even just a few days in a cramped up little room, I found myself at home. 

Bombay Mixture

Sending you love from the beaches of Juhu Choupati, home of the bombay mixture. I found myself there during a long assignment this year, with Abhishek, an Indian man I had met for work, who soon became my friend. After a few weeks working straight with no weekends, and no other company but myself, it was heartwarming to find someone I could talk to about Firefly, and graphic novels, my fiancee Jon, and about the intelligentsia of India. He told me about his life, about growing up very poor in a small town, getting out of that small town and realizing he dreaded coming back. What do you call the people you become close to very briefly, and then never see again? 

India used to terrify me. That's not true anymore. We parted ways in Juhu Choupati, where the sea and the skies are grey but the colors are everywhere.