Saturday, December 31, 2005

A walk in the park (31.12.05)

A walk in Central Park on New Year's Eve after a dusting of snow in the city.
Three wishes.
Happy New Year to everyone who has read The Diary of an Intimate Stranger this year. See you in 2006.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

the subway poems: the last day of the year

This is my ocean

Everybody's selling something.
A painting. A boat.
A woman. A coat.
A Sotheby's life by the sea.
It better be me.

So this is my ocean.
This is my sea.
let's talk about emptiness,
'good bye old man, finish your tea'.

I had you tomorrow,
I'll lose you again.
I chose you from many
behind this glass window pain.

So this is my river,
this is my tree.
Let rainclouds shed tears for me,
on the road to Pondicherri.

Let's walk to the market,
and see what is sold,
what tales are told,
of Google and gold.

And what to buy, out on the street,
dot (.) com
when I step outside
one fine and sunny day,
on the Upper West Side
-the only side-
will it be a fancy new car,
that will take us far?
when everyone
around us is selling something.

I walk from the park.
I feel alive.
I write. When a man says
'Have a nice day'.
I hope I find my way.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Postcard (New York City)

First walk down Prince Street, 1989.

The Vesuvio Bakery on Prince Street in SoHo. One of the most interesting store fronts I have come across and a decorated landmark for New Yorkers. More interesting pictures of NYC landmarks at

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


The Empire State Building on a clear and cold December morning, taken from the corner on 5th and 18th Street. I have spent many days in New York City over my lifetime and this city never ceases to amaze me. It's a city built on dreams and determination. The city that never sleeps..the city of a million stories.

A seat with a view

Rivers of gold or Chesapeake bay at sunset?. I shot this image as I cruised at 25,000 feet from Miami to New York, last week and it reminds me of the pre-Columbian gold designs that one finds in the Museo de Oro (Gold Museum) in Bogota.

Friday, December 16, 2005

the big apple

On Prince Street in SoHo, is the Apple store. A small piece of heaven in this big city - the big apple - as New York is fondly known. Against a clear blue sky, another icon of our times- Mac- and its apple of innovation.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


The coffee cup of Colombian coffee icon Juan Valdez is leaking over Times Square in central New York. Is this an appropriate location for the symbol and icon of Colombian coffee?. In my opinion, the location of Juan valdez, NYC, is rather dingy. Op ed piece at Colombia Review

I shot this scene this morning on a cold and blistery morning after a succesfull meeting at TIME. I have been invited to form part of the visionary and creative media consulting firm 5W Mignon Media, spear- headed by visual guru and designer Jeff Mignon who formed 5W Mignon Media years with Nancy Wang (strategist) and Eliot Bergman. I will lead 5W Mignon-Media into the South American market while my base continues to be in Bogota, Colombia. Interesting moves in media.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A seat with a view

Heading to New York City from Milan, Italy, on flight # 45 Continental Airlines. Back in The Big Apple this Christmas 2005/2006 and wishing everyone a festive season and happy holidays.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Letter from Colombia

This is my final post for The Diary of an Intimate Stranger from Colombia, this year, I am closing with a story, instead of my habitual use of photography. It's a story about Colombia and my final chapter at El Tiempo. It's some Christmas reading fun about being a foreigner at Colombia’s largest newspaper.

By Richard Emblin

Recently some friends of mine hosted a farewell dinner for me in a fancy apartment in the hills surrounding Bogotá. It was their way of saying thank you for having endured six years at El Tiempo- Colombia’s largest paper- and strangely enough 'congratulate' me for moving on. And it put a savoury end to my time as a foreign Photo Editor, working in this South American country. But when I told them my impressions of Colombia and eating habits, I had a dozen of this country’s most respected journalists and editors literally choking to death, on chicken salad. So I thought, that for those of you, who identify Colombia with cocaine and drug traffickers, that I would break it to you gently and say, that there is another, much graver threat coming out of Colombia these days, to our public health system and if I manage to finish this article, Colombia’s tarnished image with drugs might be replaced by, pork-rinds. That’s right, the dreaded chicharron. The chi-cha-what?. The chi-cha-ron.

Now in Colombia, every self-respecting household consumes large quantities of chicharron. It’s very popular and served with virtually, every meal. Especially in the peaceful and hardworking city of Medellin, where the local dish consists of fried plantain, red beans, rice and you guessed it, pork-rinds. The people of Medellin, are known as paisas, and are big on colonization. They gave the world cocaine- thanks to their local bad boy made good- Pablo Escobar- and they have managed to successfully bombard Colombia with pork-rinds. Little chunks of pork, deep fried in grease so that the cholesterol level rises by about 400 percent and then these crispy nuggets are left out to dry for a few days, preferably, by the side of a road, under the hot tropical sun.

Now, sometimes if you are lucky, you can find a chicharon with pig-hairs sticking out of them. Imagine that. What a treat. And yes, the rule of thumb is, the greasier the chicharon, the better.

Popular legend has it that pork-rinds were a late addition to the local dish of Antioquia - the state which Medellin is the capital of - and the name, Antioquia, originally comes from Antioch, thanks to the first Jewish settlers who came to this remote corner of the world- originally came from Spain - during the Inquisition, which started burning people back in the fourteenth century. Antioquia, was named after the motherland- the holy land- and rather than be tortured, several galleons of exiled Jews, ran ashore off the coast of Colombia, and as these brave refugees, headed inland they used local ingredients to cook and arrange their food in a similar fashion, as they had done so back in the old country. So on a typical Colombian plate – the bandeja paisa- the rice is kept separate from the beans, and the beans separate from the plantain and no one after fifteen years in this country, has given be a verifiable explanation as to how the pork-rind nuzzled its way on to Colombia’s national dish.

So when I joined El TIEMPO back in 2000, as one of only a handful of foreigners to work in this established Colombian newspaper- not teaching English as a foreign language to journalists- I was told that on Fridays’ the cafeteria served bandeja paisa. Great - I thought- what better way than to close a newspaper at night with a belly full of beans, plantain and pork-rinds. This tradition will never change, along as El Tiempo continues to print, and after ninety-something years, Fridays, is still pork-rind day and should stay that way for another century.

I could go back to El TIEMPO- not that I really want to- and still find that on any given Friday, there are pork-rinds being served in the cafeteria to 3000 employees. Now there is dark side to this story -if not I wouldn’t be writing this letter from Colombia- and it has nothing to do with my permanent state of indigestion. It has to do with the fact that over the years, the chicharon has become synonymous in this country with having ‘a problem’ and everything that can go wrong and does often, in Colombia, is endearingly referred to as a ‘chicharon’. The bigger the pork-rind, the graver the problem. If your bank statement got lost, you have a chicharon. If you car was unjustly towed –you guessed it- you had another chicharon. In actual fact, living in Colombia can be so complex and difficult at times, that it presents so many pork-rinds on an average working day.

To get things done in this country, you have to have an appetite for living dangerously, and as I was soon to learn - the hard way –working at EL TIEMPO was no exception. You could be sitting at your computer terminal, when all of a sudden, a journalist would shout at the top of his voice -Que chicharon!- what a mess- and your concentration would be shattered by jelling and screaming. No, it wasn’t a car bomb that just exploded, or another massacre involving the left wing rebels of the FARC - in which the death count when less than fourty. (which meant that it didn’t even make a footnore in the paper ) it was just the fact, that someone’s article about corruption in the Bogotá city council had gotten erased from the editorial system known fondly as Herpes - sorry Hermes 10 point something or other, and everyone in the newsroom, had to know about your latest pork-rind.

As Photo Editor at El TIEMPO, I had my fair share of pork to grind. My daily chicharron. And my photographers saw to it that I was well supllied. Cameras would disappear on a regular basis -not surprising in a city with the crime rate high as Bogotá- but it meant having to fill in vast amounts of paperwork and putting one’s life on hold, never mind everyone else’s, while I was fingerprinted by the National Police and the Attorney General’s office. Every time there was a major news event, breaking out somewhere in the world, which is quite common when you work at a newspaper, my best picture of the day would somehow, mysteriously vanish from my computer. This invariably happened at four o’clock, during the most pressing and stressful deadline. I don’t know where all these pictures are or went, but somewhere out there in cyberspace is a photo graveyard with wonderful photos from Afghanistan, Iraq and Colombia.

“Does anyone know what happened to the picture of Arafat’s funeral?, I would ask my colleagues when an AP photo would all of a sudden vanish from my screen. “You know, the one where Arafat’s coffin is being unloaded by crowds of chanting Palestinians?. Blank stares. The picture that just came in from Gaza?. More empty stares. ‘Does anyone know where Gaza is ?. Silence. Arafat?. Nothing?”. I just wanted to recuperate the picture with the helicopter in it. It’s not too much to ask. So, in desperation I would lift up the speakerphone and implore across the newsroom: “Foreigner 8256 actually employed as your Photo Editor, sitting at desk 15, near the northeast corner window, urgently requests assistance from Systems department to locate picture of Arafat with a helicopter’. “It’s me- senor Emblin- your gringo photo editor”. Invariably the nice fellows from the IT department never came. I guess they wanted me- the outsider- to boil in my own juice, or better still, grease.

Now Colombians are decent, hardworking and more often than not, friendly people- unless of course you have 'pork to grind' with your bosses- and I have never felt resentment towards me in this country for being an extranjero- foreigner- and I have always tried to be a law abiding resident trying hard not to step on anyone’s feet or hooves. So when I headed down to cafeteria at EL TIEMPO years ago on a rainy Friday, around lunchtime, I was anxiously awaited my first official meal of the legendary ‘paisa’ platter. I picked up my tray, waited in line, as secretaries -one by one- and line operators from the printing press- picked out their plantains and pork-rinds. There didn’t seem to be a problem with this set up for handing out the chicharon, and regardless of rank or file, EL TIEMPO seemed like a very democratic place to work. Everyone in the company is allowed one- not two- toasted and crispy chicharon. So, if you wanted more beans, the ladies in the cafeteria simply handed you a smaller ‘problem’ and I might add, added years to your health and life.

As I had only been in the company for a few days, it didn’t take long for everyone to know that the gringo had arrived in EL TIEMPO. Word was out that I had entered the hallowed halls of this publishing empire owned by the Santos family. Now the Santos- name which means ‘Saints’ in English- are everywhere, except of course in the cafeteria. There are Saints in government- the actual vice-president Francisco is one- and there are Saints in every important position in this South American democracy. They are Colombia’s royal family and 'Buckingham palace' is a large brick bunker on the western fringes of Bogotá, known as the CEET, pronounced: se'at, as in 'seat of power' or ceet of discomfort ?. Now, the Santos not only run Colombia’s national newspaper, but they run everything else in between. And don't expect receiving an email from the Emperor himself, (far from a saint) as he don't communicate with serfs. Like die-hard Colombians they too enjoy pork-rinds, and god forbid, falling out with The Saints means, no more greasy nuggets, for you !!!.

So what was the problem for a Canadian journalist like myself actually wanting a hot, decent meal at work?. I didn’t think there was one, until I was involved in a chicharon saga. As I approached the lady in her white overalls serving behind the glass counter in the basement cafeteria, I knew my moment to be accepted at this newspaper had arrived. Suddenly, as I came face to face with her, I muttered in my broken Spanish, the customary words ‘Buenos dias, senorita…I’ll have the paisa platter, por favor’.

‘With beans’ came a sharp reply. ‘Yes, please’. ‘Rice?’. “Yes” I answered obediently. “Plantain?” “How nice” I begged with a radiant smile. ‘Chicharon?. “Of course’ I said enthusiastically. Then, she thrust her metal prongs into a large shiny bowl and began searching for what was about to become a massive problem for her, for me and my life in the house of Saints.

She produced the evidence - the smallest chicharon ever fried in the history of Colombia- and placed in on my plate. I looked at the burnt kernel of disgrace, and looked again. ‘Excuse me Miss, I this what you call a chicharon?, I enquired, shocked and dismayed. ‘Yes’ she replied, in a rather sharp tone of voice, and yelled ‘Next’. ‘But, it looks awfully small to me”, I said. ‘Take it or leave it” she rebutted, frowned and nodded at the next person in line, who seemed to have a generous portion of everything, including not one, but two pork-rinds. In actual fact, everyone had wonderfully large portions of everything. Why did she give me the smallest, most miserable piece of grizzle?. Dejected, I grabbed my 300 grams of potato soup, to accompany 36 red beans, 445 grains of rice, two yellow plantain sticks and headed off to find a table.

Now, I am someone who doesn’t complain about things, let alone the size of my chicharon, but I was so upset that as I spoke with an accent, looked like a foreigner in this country, that the hostess had made an arbitrary decision to cut back on my lunch rations, that I wrapped my kernel in a paper napkin, and decided to confront the situation from behind my desk in the newsroom with a polite letter to the General manager of the EL TIEMPO kitchen service. “Dear Sir, this afternoon - began the letter- while I was happily, expecting to be served the greatest of all dishes, the bandeja pasia, I came upon this most uncomfortable situation…

Now, I will not go over the letter in detail, except to say, that it was well intentioned and cordial. I felt it my duty as a foreigner working in the Colombian newspaper to have the right to complain about what, I believe, what some strange form of discrimination?. I had been forced to the back of the lunch bus for being a gringo and I was going to stay there for many years- as I later found out- for not speaking properly. Now for those foreigners who want to work in a Colombian company, my heart goes out to you, and my recommendation is, bring a box lunch.

Needless to say, the chicharon problem, created a huge problem El Tiempo. Within minutes, I had the entire catering department, leering at me with sullen faces. “Senor Emblin, what was the problem? said the affable manager. ‘Well funny you should ask… let me show you” I responded, as I popped the greasy tid-bit from my jacket pocket and placed it on my desk. “Does this look like a chicharon, to you?’. There was silence, shock and outrage. “No, no, definetly, not, senor. We don’t serve those types of chicharon here” he proclaimed. ‘Well, Sir, I don’t want to create a scene, but I really do like Colombia, and as a foreigner, I actually do like Colombian food, so it would be nice if in the future, I received a pork-rind on my plate, just like everyone else”. Sensing tension and nervousness in the newsroom, I surrendered gracefully and decided not to question corporate pork-rind polices again.

I endured my years in EL TIEMPO, facing many bouts of upset tummy on Fridays and one too many massacres. During 270 pork-rind days, I never received a decent portion, and I feel a happier and healthier person as a result. It was only until last month, when word got out -again- in the house of the Saints- that the gringo was being let go, that I stood in line at the cafeteria and asked the catering lady for my last ‘bandeja paisa’. Reaching in the silver bowl with her metal prongs, she produced the biggest, fatest chicharon there was, and plonked it on my plate. ‘Gracias’ I said, realizing that it took six years for me to get to this point where my portion was actually the same size, as everyone else’s. That was the least of my problems, on the last day of work as I had resolved my porkrind issue with the newspaper, and now I had to face the bean counters.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Monday, December 05, 2005

Child Labour (Brazil)

Children workers in northeastern Brazil, near the city Bahia, sit and listen to a lesson after working in the fields of a sisal plantation and 'rope' producing farm. Thousands of children in Brazil work in tea, sugar and sisal plantations as bonded servants - part of a continental wide problem of child labour and indentured servitude which plagues South America, despite regional efforts by governments, such as the Brazilian, to stamp out this human tragedy.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Devil's Mine

Deep in the mine at the Cerro Rico mountain in central Bolivia, near the town of Potosi, I came across el tio - the guardian of this dark underworld. Here Bolivian silver miners for centuries have offered this stone effigy of 'the white man's devil', vials of distilled alcohol, dry coca leaves and cigarrettes so that he may protect them from the dangers inherent to mining this infamous hill which had given up its ore and minerals since the Spanish conquistadores first stumbled across the Rich Hill, back in 1544.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Dancing from poverty.

In an abandoned convent in the city of Cartagena, on Colombia's northern coast, operates The School of the Body- El Colegio del Cuerpo- a non profit organization which helps children from the marginalized neighbourhoods, come to terms with their traumas from war and displacement. Every year thousands of Colombians are forced from their land, from their homes and villages as a result of the civil conflict which wages in the countryside between left wing rebels and right wing paramilitaries. The most affected, are the children. At The School of the Body, the children learn how to use music and dance as a way of exorcizing the soul and coming to terms with their fears, and dancing from poverty by seeing a future, as contemporary dancers and performers in the Arts. The School of the Body is directed by internationally renowned artist and dancer Alvaro Restrepo, and his charity has kept hundreds of children from the city streets, known for its charter tourism and social disparity. In the picture, Viridiana Castro dances her way through a dark corridor, like a ghost, in this imposing colonial building.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Climbing 614 steps, chisled into the side of a granite mountain, renowned as one of the holiest Jain pilgrimage sites, in Sravanabelagola, India, I photographed with my Leica M6, 28mm lens and TriX-400 speed film, an elderly woman being carted up the hill by four men. Talk about having an 'aura'. The face of the man, in the extreme right corner, never came out. It's blurred and has no definition. Everything else in the picture is in focus and has detail. Strange, considering that many of the men who carry pilgrims up this holy shrine, are mistics and have inhabited Sravanabelagola since the third century in honour of Lord Buhubali, who stands upon the summit of the mountain, in a colossal stone statue, in the heart of the Karnataka state. Visit for more on this incredible country.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Frontline Colombia

Leftwing guerillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, lay down their weapons and fatigues at a camp in los Pozos, Caguan, as night falls over the rainforest.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


A pundit or high priest produces an oil burning flame during the sacred Hindu ritual, known as a puja, in honour of God Vishnu in a temple on the outskirts of Mangalore, India. As the month draws to a close and a time of reflection and religious festivies begin for all faiths, I post this puja, that December brings peace and serenity for our bruised and battered world

Friday, November 25, 2005

Frontline French Guiana

Dodging barbwire at the jungle training camp of The French Foreign Legion- Legion Etrangere- in southern French Guiana.

In this mosquito infested swamp - deep in the Amazon rainforest - hundreds of new recruits to this elite french fighting force endure a 'death hike' through the equatorial rainforest with little more than a few matches and half rations.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Frontline Colombia (landmines)

It's called El Futuro - The Future - and it looks bleak. A shantytown several miles outside Quibdo, on Colombia's pacific coast where thousands of displaced persons have arrived and live in abject poverty, after fleeing from their villages as war wages on in the region between bitter adversaries, the right-wing paramilitaries and the left wing guerrilla factions of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and ELN (National Liberation Army).
It's not Angola, but Colombia. It's not the past, but The Future. In the picture, another victim of the landmine scourge, which destroys thousands of lives in this country every year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Frontline Angola (landmines)

During the height of the civil war in Angola, which ended with a definitive peace in 2002 after almost thirty years of conflict, tens of thousands of civilians were killed and as many as 80,000 people injured and mamed as a result of the indiscrimate use of landmines. In towns such as Luena, where this picture was taken during back in 1993 when rebel forces from UNITA advanced towards the eastern plains of this African country, I entered the local hospital to find a young man, crippled and wrapping medical gauze, for the walking and the wounded.

Richard Emblin/1993

Monday, November 21, 2005

Postcard Colombia

It wasn't your typical breakfast at a diner, but scrambled eggs and coffee in the Darien rainforest, as we started heading away from Colombia on our treck to Panama. My expeditionary team and I, joined some local cattle farmers for an early morning breakfast in Lomas Aisladas, the last town in Colombia, where the Panamerican road ends in an abandoned football field. Sitting in a hut, as the sun was breaking through the woooden planks, I took this rather intimate photograph of a typical Colombian cowboy.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

the subway poems: After all

After all

I smiled at the sea, and
the sea
smiled at me.
The pain that was

started set me free.

One night
was all I had to hold you

when stars fell and the moon
crept at our feet.

One day was not enough
to last
a lifetime
as the night was all

we had to dream.

Memory is the music
that makes

my heart sing, and everything
falls in between
the shadows and
the road
that leads me from where

you are.

Let me drown in
your harbour,

let me fall from your eyes
like tears on this window

And I saw what my life
could have been,

and all it foretold, standing
on Northhampton Road.

Let me fall into your arms
let me fall from grace
to say this last

goodbye, as I smile at the sea
and the sea
turns from me.

The pain that was started
must be.

Photo: Varanasi, India, as dawn breaks on the Ganges river. 1993

Friday, November 18, 2005


They are the cable racers of the Andes. Lives in the balance, as young men and women from the town of Guayabetal in central Colombia, use abandoned cables susupended over the Rio Negro gorge to haul their goods to the nearest town. In the hills around Guayabetal, there are no roads, just mud tracks in the thick rainforest. Everything that must be sold or bartered in the nearest market arrives by air. The cable racers, cross a three mile lifeline, suspended 1500 feet above the raging river with no harness or safety precautions. Dozens have fallen to their deaths. In 1999, I shot this picture of a young boy, trying to haul heavy planks of wood, across the Rio Negro suspended only by a cable and a prayer.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Child Labour

Back in 1993, I climbed 500 feet down a coal shaft in the central mountains of Colombia, trespassing on a 'hacienda'-farm- which belonged to a supposed drug lord of the Medellin cocaine cartel, to come across dozens of children working in the coal pits underground, in the dark, without air.

In the dank and cramped tunnels, I found abject poverty and desperation. Conditions similar of the children workers in the mills and mines of Victorian England. And while the local thugs, paid to protect the ranch, drove around on their motorbikes intimidating the townspeople and throughbred horses grazed in the emerald green hills of Angelopolis- translated from latin as The city of Angels- beneath the surface of this pleasant coffee town, some 50 miles southwest of Medellin, existed a tragedy of children forced to work the coal 'pits' as cheap labour- child slaves in this City of Angels.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Frontline (Angola)

While on assignment for The Globe and Mail, Canada´s national daily newspaper, with Isabel Vincent, a Canadian journalist, doing a series of photo essays in Angola titled, 'The war the world forgot', we
ventured into Papa Kitoco's asylum for the criminally insane and victims of war trauma on the outskirts of Luanda.

I came upon this woman, chiamed to the rim of a truck, who in despair raised her arms to the sky and began screaming...
I won the bronze medal for photojournalism from the SND (Society of News Design) for this picture in the SND 1994 awards.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Remembrance Day

Hart House memorial, University of Toronto. Canada

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

John McCrae (1872-1918)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Political uncertainity looms in Canada. The Great White North, faces another cold winter, and a heat wave of a political activity. The legacy of separatist leader Rene Levesque may come back to haunt the Canadian political landscape. In the picture, the political icon of Quebec separatism, Rene Levesque, and founder of the Parti Quebecois (PQ) during a conference in Toronto.

Richard Emblin/1990

Frontline (Berlin 1989)

During the height of the Berlin Wall crisis in November 1989 - Der Mauer- as the Germans called it became invaded with grafitti and hand painted slogans. Refugees were streaming across checkpoint Charlie and different gates to enter what was then known as 'West Berlin'. I came across a rather prophetic phrase splashed across a tiny section of the wall, which read - They came. They saw. They did a little shopping'.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Frontline (Berlin 1989)

It was a cold night on November 9th 1989, when I took this picture at the Brandenburg Gate. There was excitement and anticipation in the air, as Berlin, a divided city, was about to become reunited after fifty years.

Just after midnight, the TV cameras of the international press lit up the night when Russian President Gorbachev gave the order to the East German leader Honecker to let the wall come down.

In the picture, students gather near the Berlin Wall to prepare to storm it, in one of the most historic events of our times.

Friday, November 04, 2005


This picture was taken back in 1990, when I came across the then mayor of New York City, Edward 'Ed' Koch eating a hotdog on Fifth Avenue. Mayor Koch, was showing his support to the NYC street vendors, who were up in arms, over a plan to force them off the city streets.

Richard Emblin/1990

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Postcard Colombia

Beyond irony is hope,
beyond hope is despair
beyond despair is death
and beyond death is life

-Richard Emblin/2005

Friday, October 28, 2005

The voyage

After almost six years as the Photo Editor for EL TIEMPO, Colombia's largest daily newspaper, I am moving on. The voyage for me begins. It is time to seek new horizons and live a little more. This picture closes a chapter in my life, as it portrays the plight of a displaced mother and her child, heading up the Atrato River, on Colombia's western coast, on a humanitarian riverboat called La Arca de Noé, Noah's Ark.

Beyond irony, is hope. The only riverboat that is allowed to navigate the turbulent waters of the Atrato, where left wing rebels from the FARC fight right wing paramilitary deathsquads, is Noah's Ark. A lifeline in this country's fourty year old civil war.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Colombian children play football under the hot midday sun on a small patch of crushed sea shells and sand in the middle of the Cienaga de Santa Marta. The Cienaga is Colombia´s largest fresh water lake and became immortalized in the works of Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez´s fictional portrayal of life in Macondo. The fantastical place where what is magical is in fact real, and what is real, well, magical.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Postcard India

Standing in the desert, at the start of the Pushkar Mela, with its famous camel fair, I saw this face in the afternoon light. A portrait from India, and a postcard from the bazaar at the end of the world.

Photo: Richard Emblin/1993

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Postcard Bolivia

Walking up through the old miner's market in Potosi, Bolivia, towards the Cerro Rico hill, I came upon this boy with his retro red slide viewer. It was a bright sunny morning, as I paced up though the cobbled streets of this legendary silver mining town in central South America, perched high at 3000 meters above sea level on an arid, wind swept plateau.

Friday, October 14, 2005

London Chronicle

Seagulls fly over the River Thames, near Richmond, England, on a grey afternoon in late September.

Postcard (Colombia)

Somewhere between Colombia and Panama, while crossing the Darien rainforest, we found wild avocados and threw them into our dug out canoe.

After heading downstream towards the hamlet of Paya on the Panamanian side of the jungle, I got so tired of having to sit in the canoe and stare at the fresh fruit, that I grabbed my Nikon F4 and 'click'! , I took this picture. I call it, 'still life in the jungle'.

Photo: Richard Emblin/1995

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Frontline (Angola)

'The tear'

Refugee camp in Northern Angola, during the height of the civil war in this west African country.

Photo: Richard Emblin/1993

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A seat with a view

So here I am.
somewhere over the blue
Atlantic Ocean.
A pixel.
A dot.
A line crossing
of old
new and

Postcard (India)

One of the favorite pastimes in India, is cricket. The sport is played in parks and fields throughout this subcontient, and here, I captured a team of cricketers in downtown Mumbai, the city formerly known as Bombay, on a hot day with their cricket bats and padding.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Used coffee cups in the Café La Romana in downtown Bogotá.
This picture reminds me of the line by poet T.S.Eliot in the The Love Song for J.Alfred Prufrock : I have measured out my life with coffee spoons...'

Monday, October 10, 2005

Poem (Coming Home)

Coming home to the Launderette
watching souls, tumble dry
in the damp misery of this inner city.
I recall Sunday dinner
roast pork on a silver tray.

My soul fattens besides the soapy
chickens dangling in the abattoir of
Mister Singh’s corner store.

And Anna with her bleached face
and battered soul makes love to
Zoe in this Ajax.

Coming home to the Launderette
I am that passive voyeur, reaching
for my fabric softener and inviting
loneliness like a cat
on your uninviting arse.

Coming home to my squatting
ambition, I inhale death, stale,
death over the counter
only to realize that
I shall never go back to her.

I shall never sleep with my dirty nymph
under grey skies and cleanse
her spirit with my despair.

Hackney. London. Oct 1989

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Apertures (VIII)

As the afternoon light faded across the colonial square of this old town, called the Villa de Leyva, in central Colombia, I captured the 400 year old church with my camera, as well as the reflections from the more modern mule, a parked Harley.

Friday, September 16, 2005

A seat with a view

You are still here,
you are not quite there
I lost you on a Sunday
down by Barnsbury square.

I crossed the ocean
so many times
I forgot the reason why
I was traveling
towards you, and I am
still here,
I am not quite there.

-Richard Emblin (2005)

The moon was setting as I cruised half way over the Atlantic ocean, on my way to Paris from Toronto, Canada. This picture was taken from the window of an Air Canada 747. I am off to London, England so this is my final 'post', until next month. Thanks

Postcard (Miami)

On the Calle Ocho, in 'Little Havana', I found this interesting juxtaposition of retro typeface and bright wall colours. A detail from the vibrant tropical city, known as Miami.

Photo: Richard Emblin/2003

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Deep inside the emerald mines of Muzo, in central Colombia.

Everyday, thousands of scavengers, called guaqueros, wade through the black and muddy Miners River, looking for sparkling green precious stones, known as emeralds. Colombia´s emerald mines are by and large, violent places, and a refuge to bandits and fugitive drug barons.

Photo: Richard Emblin/1992