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

Postcard (Colombia)

An indian boy from the Guambia community in southern Colombia, stands in front of a white wall in his home town of Silvia, Cauca.

Photo: Richard Emblin/1991

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A shot from the past

Musician Chris Isaak, author of the song Wicked Game, which appeared on the charts back in 1989 sits in a typical London pub after the launch of his album Heart Shaped World.

Photo: Richard Emblin/1989


'Crop dusters' used to fumigate coca plantations in central Colombia, return to the army base at Chaparral, Tolima, after performing this dangerous task.

Photo: Richard Emblin/1998

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A shot from the past

Taken in Cali, Colombia, during a photo
shoot for a corporate client back in 1995,
this faded polaroid, belongs to my
personal collection of images.
It was a test shot, which actually turned out
quite good.

Postcard (Colombia)

A Colombian cowboy, called a vaquero, stands on a hill in the state of Tolima, after herding cattle and horses.
Photo: Richard Emblin/2005


Hindu pilgrims gather at dawn in Pushkar, near the sacred lake, to perform their
poojas-religious rituals. Pushkar, a small town in the western province of Rajasthan, India, is famous for its annual Camel Fair or Pushkar Mela, which is held at the end of October. This small white walled town becomes transformed into a dazzling fairground famous for its camel races and meditating sadus, holy men.

Photo: Richard Emblin/1993

Monday, September 12, 2005


An MPLA soldier, waves his pistol in the air, as he wanders through the refugee camp on the northern front of the civil war in Angola, Africa. In 1993, I traveled to Angola to cover the civil war for The Globe and Mail newspaper (Canada).

Photo: Richard Emblin/1993

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Postcard (Mexico)

Recently I gave a conference in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, organized by the Society of News Design (SND) on photojournalism and the 'digital dilema' faced by newspapers across Central and South America- ( a thesis which I will post soon on this blog), and as I walked down the famous broadwalk in Puerto Vallarta with friend Jeff Goertzen from the St Petersburg Sun Times, I saw this reflection in the window of a typical Vallarta 'yellow cab'. I thought it made for a nice picture, and a postcard shot from the location where the famous movie with Richard Burton and Liz Taylor ' The night of the Iguana', was shot back in the 1950's.

Photo: Richard Emblin (2005)

Postcard (Colombia)

The Red Virgin. La Virgen Rojo.

Climbing up the path to the 'La Popa' monastery in Cartagena, Colombia, I stumbled across this picturesque statue of the virgin mary in one of the poor neighbourhoods on the hill.

It caught my attention, because of the rather loud use of colours, yet I found her beautiful. Something out of Colombian 'pop culture'.

This picture was used recently in the CD of Colombian rock ska band, Doctor Krapula.

Photo: Richard Emblin (1995)

A seat with a view (9/11)

It's September the 11th 2005, and here is a picture from my personal Archive of the 'Twin Towers'.

There are no words to explain the horror of what happened four years ago to this day, but this is my tribute, in Black and White, to the victims and their families.

The picture was taken onboard a Fokker 100, American Airlines, as I headed to YYZ/Toronto from New York's La Guardia airport. It was a sunny morning and I snapped the view of lower Manhattan, a year before the two towers came down with my old faithful, a Nikon F4 camera

Photo: Richard Emblin

Saturday, September 10, 2005


The Gateway of India, at the entrance to the bay of Bombay. I took this picture as dawn broke over the Indian subcontinent, in front of the Taj Mumbai Hotel. Photo: Richard Emblin (2003)


Colombian actress Flora Martinez was recently in Bogota, Colombia, promoting the new film, Rosario Tijeras, which hit screens last month in Europe and across South America. Rosario Tijeras is the story of a woman who finds herself deep inside the sub culture and violence of the Medellin drug cartel, back in the early 90's when drug kingpin, Pablo Escobar, ruled that city. Flora visited her native country for a few days, and posed for me in the old colonial part of Bogota.

Photo: Richard Emblin (2005)

Friday, September 09, 2005

Postcard (Colombia)

The Boxer.

The picture (above) was taken in Palenque; a hamlet several hours south of Cartagena on Colombia's northern coast and home to a legendary boxing tradition. Alfonso Cervantes, known as 'Kid Pambele', one of this country's greastest boxers, was born in Palenque and for decades the children of this impoverished village have tried to follow in the footsteps of this boxing legend by fighting their way, literally, out of poverty.

The plight of the children boxers of Palenque became known internationally as a result of my my photos and in the picture posted, a young boy stops on a hot dusty track with his boxing gloves, under the hot midday sun.

The picture was also the opening image for my photo retrospective, held last year, at the Fundacion Santillana in Bogota
Photo: Richard Emblin (1995)


The real 'Putumayo' isn't a trendy record label. It's the wide river which crosses a large streach of border from Colombia with its southern neighbours: Ecuador and Peru. The brunt of the Colombian coca industry and harvest is scattered along the banks of the Putumayo. Here, in the picture, Colombian marines from the Puerto Leguizamo base patrol the Putumayo river, looking for guerilla activity and clandestine cocaine laboratories.

Photo: Richard Emblin (1999)

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Colombian rodeo.

Known as coleo in Spanish, this sport consists of a horseman trying to catch a runaway bull, and throw it onto a sandy floor using only his bare hands.

Every year, the coleo season in Colombia attracts hundreds of spectators on the eastern plains which unite this country with Venezuela

Photo: Richard Emblin (2003)


Whale song

The whale song in my soul
is graceful and strong, a silent howl
in timeless waters flowing.
Dancing on the filigree
of the sea, vulnerable
and true, you wrestle with the
ocean's deeper blue.
Pale pallor and metalled fin,
you slip beneath Neptune's dominion.
With wrenching spine and tingling skin,
you are the queen of the trembling light,
mother of unseen night,
sentinel of gentle might.

Photo and text: Richard Emblin

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A seat with a view

Within a few days, the world will stand by to conmemorate the four year anniversary of the terrible events of September 11th 2001.

I recently found this picture of mine, in a box of negatives, which hadn't been organized. It was taken just before the turn of the millenium, as I headed northwest to Toronto, from New York on an American Airlines Fokker 100.

It was a bright morning as we headed out towards the Hudson River, after taking off from La Guardia. Of course, I had the window seat.

It's a small tribute of mine to remember that tragic day, the victims, and the once majestic skyline of the 'Big Apple': NYC.

Photo: Richard Emblin (1999)

Journal (IV)

Among the Gods and the 'cybergods' in southern India. Home to magnificent temples such as Hassan and Halebur, near the 'silicon valley' of Asia, the booming computer city of Bangalore.

I returned to India in 2003, for a short visit, after ten years. It was another country. Yet the beautiful traditions of India just don't change, such as the way one is received and greeted by strangers. Everywhere I went I was garlanded with gifts.

Here, at the entrance to the 2000 year old religious temples of Halebur, with my garland of wrapped coconuts and flowers.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Frontline (II)

Hours alter the Colombia peace process collapsed with the leftist guerrilla group FARC, back in the year 2002, Colombian president Andrés Pastrana flew off to the former ‘DMZ’ zone, known as the Caguan, to greet the soldiers who had taken control of the town square. In the picture, the hand of the President reaching out to the first troops on the ground, in eastern Colombia. Photo: Richard Emblin/El Tiempo. (2002).

Postcard (VII)


The word coined by Colombian Nobel prize writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his famous work One hundred years of solitude to describe the magical, realistic world of the Colombian coast, does actually exist. Somewhere between Aracataca, the town where ‘Gabo’, was born and the old banana colony of Fundación (Magdalena), I came up to one of the last remaining train crossings in this country. It was a surreal moment, with a beautiful sunset, as a man and a car waited in the distance for the ‘coal train’ to pass.

Photo: Richard Emblin (1997)

'A seat with a view'

From my desk in the El Tiempo newsroom, I can see the departure of planes from Bogota, heading in the afternoon off to continental Europe. Everyday, the Iberia A 340 Airbus passes my window on its way to Madrid, Spain. Off to a colorful country of castles, flamencoand tapas.

Photo: Richard Emblin (2005)

Apertures (IV)

'Peggy's Cove'. Nova Scotia, Canada. Lobster boats moored at this famous Canadian fishing village. Photo: Richard Emblin. (2004)

Apertures (III)

The Grand Canal.Venezia. Italy. Photo: Richard Emblin (2001)

Journal (III)

Back in 1993, I headed off for three months to northern India to shoot some photo essays.

By the time this picture was taken on the roof top of a run down 'hotel' in Old Delhi, I was surviving on less than a few dollars a day.

I even took up reading the 'tarot' for back packers, who gave me a few bucks, for extra 'tea money'. In the picture, two wonderful sisters, Amanda Smith and Melissa Smith, from NSW, Australia.

I lost touch with Amanda and Melissa, years ago, so if you two, should see my blog, please drop me a line, I would love to hear from you after all these years.

Monday, September 05, 2005

'A seat with a view' (I)

Afternoon flight to Bogota, Colombia, on Continental Airlines, from Newark International. From the window of this Boeing 757, Chesapeake Bay, and Virginia Beach.

Postcard (VI)

The 'magic hour' at the Luena refugee camp in eastern Angola, during the height of the civil war in this African country.

Just a few miles from the frontline, I captured this woman carrying her belongings on her head as she passed through a dark hallway in a bombshelled building.

Photo: Richard Emblin (1993)

Journal (II)

Heading up through the 'heart of darkness' with the French Foreign Legion. The Legion Etrangére- near their jungle training outpost in Regina, French Guyana.

This picture was taken as we headed up river for a dinner of steak and fries, with the finest of french wines, after shooting legionnaires for three days in the jungle.

Photo: John Otis/Houston Chronicle

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Journal (I)

Walking through the Darien rainforest between Colombia and Panama, with my crew. The Darien rainforest is the most dense jungle in the world. We took this picture at 'Palo de Letras', the halfway point, between the two countries, or the unofficial border, after days of walking through guerrilla infested territory, right wing paramilitary death squads, armed bandits and alor of other colorful 'wildlife'. In the picture, Colombian author, Alfredo Molano (with panama hat) and our guides from a village on the Cacarica river, in the heart of the Chocó.

Postcard (V)

Pink car with a blue sky on a hot summer's day in Miami Beach.

Photo: Richard Emblin

Postcard (IV)

'Beach Babe'. Interesting wall art, or graffiti in
Key West, Fla.

Photo: Richard Emblin (2002)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Frontline (I)

Flying with Colombian National Police on an anti-drug mission is risky business, but I managed to capture the deforestation caused by coca plantations in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in the goggles of this police gunner.

Photo: Richard Emblin/El Tiempo (2004)

Apertures (II)

Indigena Kogi.

This member of the Kogi indigenous community of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Colombia, was photographed as he visited the capital city Bogotá, carrying only his 'poporo', a woven 'mochilla' sack.

Photo: Richard Emblin


Riding the Konkan Express from Mumbai, India, formerly known as Bombay, to the spice port of Mangalore in southern India on the Arabian Sea.
Here after a rough night in 2nd class, with no airconditioning, we are approaching our final destination.
Photo: Richard Emblin (2003)

History of Photography in Colombia

Opening night at The Museo Nacional in Bogotá, Colombia. 01-09-2005.

My 'fasttrack Indians' picture in the exhibition The history of photography in Colombia 1950-2000. Here I am, Richard Emblin, with my wife, Maria Claudia Peña.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Postcard (II)

Guambiano Indians, from the community of Silvia, Cauca, in southern Colombia, check their modern mules before heading into the morning market. Photo: Richard Emblin

This picture was included in The History of Photography in Colombia: 1950-2000, (La Historia de la fotografia en Colombia 1950-2000) which opens today at the The Museo Nacional, in Bogota.


A New York Moment.

Ray's Pizza on the Upper West side, of Manhattan lits up a cold January night.
Photo: Richard Emblin (2005)



The road to Pushkar,
is long and far,
across theses sands,
of distant empty lands.

The road to Pushkar, is
but a pilgrims' way,
where my memory meets
illusion, and the dying

of the day

Richard Emblin