photo by Juan Pons
I move in a lot of circles. I can glide, most times comfortably, among the hippies, the musicians, the jocks, the business people, the average dudes, the millionaires… after all, excluding the latter I’ve hanged out as a part of those groups at some point in my life. Today I have a very broad variety of friends but really, my life is built around my family, my company and nature. If you know Dominican Republic you are then aware that this is a small country, and somehow, even though we are 10MM, we know each other. Well, not everyone, but at least in Santo Domingo, we all know each other, specially if like me, you attended 5 different high schools and at some point were a swimmer, a rock climbing aficionado, a wine amateur, a painter by profession, an entrepreneur, a tennis lover… well, you get the point “an inch deep but a mile wide”. One thing that has always been present is my love and admiration for nature.
My mom raised us that way. We would go camping, we would learn the names of flowers, butterflies, we would (well, she would) sneak in unknown peoples gardens and steal fruit or a flower, she would smuggle an olive tree from Israel and plant it in her backyard, she would teach us how to search for free range chicken eggs, we would unearth yucca roots for breakfast in the weekends, we would play in our treehouse… you can say my mom was a disguised flower child, and we were all little Tarzan wannabes.
After a brief but successful career as a fine artist I started an advertising agency with a partner and as of today we are among the top 5 of the country, remember this is a small country, so I am not a millionaire but I do well enough to afford my photography equipment and an occasional photo trip. After 10-12 hours a day in the office it became really hard for me to lock my self in the studio and paint, so I chose photography. It presented an opportunity to be outside and close to nature and at the same time have an artistic and creative output. – Yes but why birds? – is the question everyone keeps asking me. I can’t really tell. I guess is one of those things you secretly dreamed about but then thought it was just too far fetched to really happen. But here I am, reading about birds, learning their scientific names, their behavior patterns, watching them, stalking them with my lens and enjoying it like nothing before.
Birds are such a big part of our history. They are the modern day dinosaurs and most of them can fly.. and that is just amazing. They inhabit every kind of habitat, they are so different from each other but at the same time they are all unmistakably “birds”. Their feathers are perfectly designed, their beaks have evolved depending on their food source, their size goes from a few centimeters to a few meters… they are marvelous creatures and honestly I can’t get enough of them. I think a lot about birds. More than my business partner and clients should know about. I think about the best time or place to observe them and sometimes I dream about to discovering any missing link or a deep secret they might be hiding… Well, there is no specific answer to the “why birds?” question, just a very hard to explain obsession that has taken me to far away places, that gets me to camp in very remote locations and offers a whole world to discover. Try birding some time, you just might surprise your self.