Beneath the surface

 

Do you ever stop and wonder what the names of the hundreds of people that pass through our daily lives are? Everyone has a story. If we could just look past stereotypes and what we see on the surface you really see the beauty in people.

Chan_082809_04
Chan_082809_04

It was a normal day at Magic Island. I went for a quick swim close to sunset. And saw a young girl running around with her camera taking photos of every palm tree within my peripheral view. She looked as if she was witnessing the most beautiful thing she's ever seen. And then I realized she was taking the exact photos I took years ago under the same tree at the same angle.

It was like someone kicked me upside the head and woke me up. I had the urge to grab my camera and just shoot random things like I used to. I started shooting a tree. And noticed in the corner of my viewfinder a man riding his bike towards me that I recognized.

Chan_082809_05
Chan_082809_05
Chan_082809_03
Chan_082809_03

I had not seen him for over 2 years. Every beach has their own regulars. For a while I was "capoeira guy." This guy on the bike used to be "the dude with the headphones that used to do headstands against a tree." I spoke to him briefly all those years ago. He introduced himself as Chan. When he spoke to me he seemed so confident about his life. He was determined to teach me that "you have to live everyday like its your last."

Chan_082809_02
Chan_082809_02

Now 2 years later he showed up again where I was shooting. I actually hesitated walking up to him. Maybe he wouldn't remember me? That would be awkward... than I thought, "I don't think that way. I never have. Just go say Hi." So I did. As soon as he saw me approach he gave me one glance, smiled and said "Long time no see, Raul!"

We talked about life and pursuing our dreams. And he told me about his hardships and than he told me "No matter what you do, the mind has to be strong. You have to be confident about who you are or you are nothing!" Then he told me about his life torn from the world. (which I won't go into out of respect) Which I couldn't believe. And all the while he kept calling me "kid." And said "YOU still young, you get long life ahead you." Then he told me his age. 52 years old. And here he was in full splits doing a headstand while blasting Metallica through his headphones upside down, talking with me. So I asked if he would mind if I took a few photos. He told me "Man, it's your art. Do you're thing.

Incredible. If you just look past the surface, everyone has a story. The world is full of them, sometimes you just gotta stop and listen.