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