Last night I went with the Robles family to the shopping mall. A pretty routine experience I suppose, yet this mall is in Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. I guess a mall is a mall, yet this was a new experience even for me with gambling tables mixed with a family window shopping spree.
I was introduced to Briseida’s boyfriend Diego, 15, who plans to join the Air Force when he finishes high school. At dinner in the mall the conversation turned to college education and its out of reach tuitions for many. Diego told me that he plans to use the military service as a way to get some college education. He will serve the country and then let them pay for at least some of his advanced education. He wants to be an architect.
Briseida, 14, says that she and her family scour the internet etc. for college scholarships and loans. She loves art. Briseida and her sister Isabella (ponytail) are A students of course. Yet the high price of American advanced education has the family very focused on how they can afford to make this an option for their children.
Rocio says that it is a vicious circle. She wishes that both she and her husband Miguel had been able to afford a higher education which then would have allowed them to perhaps have the income that would have made college easier for their daughters. Yet this family is not the complaining type. They will figure it out no doubt at all.
Are the glaring lights of the casino industry and resultant temptations any place to raise a family? Rocio says “We teach our daughters right from wrong. They see it all here in Vegas. They can easily see life’s choices right up front here. They eventually would anyway.”
As an outside observer, I would not worry much. The whole family has their head on straight. They know what is up. Like so many Mexican nationals who come to the United States to work and raise families they are a hard working bunch. They are surely an integral part of the American work force who really get down and work. The fact that life might be a bit harder for them than for some perhaps more privileged does not phase them a bit. They will just do it.
Anyone I know who has a company and is hiring would do well to check out this family. Smarter, more loyal, harder working people cannot be found.
I am not a casino gambler, but I would bet on this family for sure.
“Sometimes out of nowhere souls meet on this journey through life, it’s the majic that brings you together. I am alert and aware of that! I always have something to learn and last night I learned that whatever appearance or recognitions may guard the soul has nothing to do with what lies beneath! David Alan Harvey you are an amazing soul!
abrazos, Rocio and family”
That text message above from Rocio Robles to me this morning well just makes life worthwhile. I had been down, and this alone brought me up. So to all who love photography you can see from this alone that photography is but a tool for living life. Taking pictures, of any kind, is about immersing oneself deep deep into the magic of other people. The give and take and total synchronization of like minded souls. And fact is, it doesn’t take any time at all to recognize it, nor is there any difficulty or impediment to instant rapport.
This does not necessarily mean great pictures will arise from great vibes, but it is a pretty damned good place to start. My dinner last night with Miguel and Rocio Robles and their immediate and extended family was special. All around. It was the perfect combo of getting to know people and yet being allowed to photograph the process.
Many have watched things around here the last few weeks as I was on a ‘Off For A Family Drive’ bookmaking expedition. And you saw that life ain’t always easy. Thank goodness nothing BAD happened. Nobody was injured (except me slightly), and all got home safe. Safety was all I was even thinking about at many points. A van with 5 people is a lot to haul around and take responsibility for and make work simultaneous. Yet we will show you a mini portfolio in the next few days. A roundup of the few pictures I did make. For three weeks I would rarely expect to have more than say 5 pictures. Sometimes less, sometimes more. That is just the way it is for me. Slow learner.
Yet my immediate bonding with the Robles family has been a highlight. No van. None of my cast of friends who are really really my family as well, I love them all. Really. However, to be alone here in Vegas with all that has transpired in just the last few weeks starting with BurnBooks winning Pulbisher of the Year, and taking that party scene on the road up to now just three weeks later ending up at dinner with some very special life long new friends I can tell. That is a lot of life in three weeks!! Whew!
These pictures as presented are sort of a step by step process contact sheet. I rarely get a photograph while at the dinner table, so I try to shoot around and away and in this case very fast. I know the best work will most likely be BEFORE dinner. As with my photo of Briseida above (top) which I shot immediately. I try to photograph people as fast as I can in the learning process of getting to know them. So one must have special sense of when to make eye contact and when to look through the camera. Somehow I try both simultaneous. I feel like I making constant eye contact, even when the camera is covering my eyes.
So this is just dinner. My first meeting with the Robles family. Yet alas all of you knew before you got to this paragraph I will try to go back for more. If they want. My little secret to photographing people is to always make sure THEY are truly enjoying the experience. I want my work of course. Yet I always want my subjects to somehow in some way be getting as much out of it as do I. The symbiotic relationship.
The only way to live.
This photo of Rocio and her three daughters is only presented as a process example. Not a photo to end up in the book, but just to give here a perfect example of serendipity and karma as part of process in work evolution.
I just shot this w my iphone the moment Rocio introduced me to her three daughters at Starbucks in the casino at Stratosphere my hotel where Rocio is a desk clerk in training. Now heaven only knows how many hotel clerks I have had polite smiles with over the years, but it is a lot. Yet none have ever invited me home to meet their family as did Rocio, a very unlikely scenario, espescially in a town as is Las Vegas (or so I thought). “I just feel we are meant to meet” she told me. In a city of hustle and scams I have heard this before phrased perhaps a bit differently. Yet this time I knew it was for real. Her eyes, her nationality. She meant it.
Turns out by fate or whatever that Rocio and her family are from Mexico and so we have an immediate connection, yet Rocio had no clue of my work in the Spanish cultural milieu. She and her husband Miguel and his mother and the girls I will meet in a few hours. I have bought a simple bouquet of flowers, will even shave and shower, try to find my battery charger somehere in my luggage nightmare and head on to their home.
The family is truly beautiful, that is if Miguel is anything like the four women with whom he lives. I will meet him soon. Even if no great pictures emerge , this good vibe is just what the doctor ordered.
My friends split. I am alone in Vegas.
I will stay a few days to just wander in a city I would never come to “on purpose”. The casino scene not my scene.
Yet I need to be anonymous and totally alone. Three weeks in a camper van with 5 people preceded by the Lucie Awards in Hollywood and my general lifestyle of often being with many has me seeking anonymity as a luxury, a treasure. I have zero plan except to have no plan.
The health club sounds nice, watch some movies I never saw, and just being a street photographer is all I seek. Why not just go home? Well even home will bring up obligations and I don’t want anything to think about.
I “disappear” like this every few years. Need to. Yet something I cannot imagine will happen.
Probably. Or not.