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Ed Kashi

February 17th, 2009

Ed Kashi: Travels in India 2

Posted by Ed Kashi

In Ed’s first post, he tells us how a chance encounter during a family vacation in India led to a possible new photo project. Here he reflects on a common struggle for many photojournalists: finding quality family time amid a hectic work schedule. Also check out Ed’s third post about the rejuvenating effect that teaching has on him.
Ed Kashi and his family on vacation, in Jaipur, India. © Ed Kashi

Ed Kashi and his family on vacation, in Jaipur, India. © Ed Kashi


Being on the road half the year away from my family is probably the hardest part of being a photojournalist at this point in my life. The challenge of balancing these two vitally important parts of my whole being is essential, because without one or the other, my life would dissolve into an abyss I prefer to avoid. I’m constantly in dialogue with myself to keep in check my compulsion to create and push my boundaries, while maintaining my family’s tight bonds, making sure my children feel loved, continuing to be a vital participant in their lives, and providing my wife with enough support and love. At times, when I’m far away for long stretches, I wonder how I can continue to make it all work.  My wife and kids are tremendously supportive and understanding, yet it’s my sense of loss and longing for their companionship that causes my heartache. What I find so interesting is how both elements of this weird life feed into one another.

It used to be, when the kids were younger, that I couldn’t wait to leave again, within days of getting home. Now I battle with the need and desire to be home and not miss all the amazing things my children are up to, while I also feed off of the engagement with the world my work and travels provide. I couldn’t do this without the unconditional support of my wife, Julie Winokur. She is an incredible woman: a great mother, a talented writer and multimedia producer, and an excellent storyteller. She has that rare quality of the common touch, the artist’s sense of how to put a story together and the writer’s ability to construct narratives. We are so fortunate to have one another. It is rare to be able to combine work, family, and friendship. Not that it’s always easy or fun or loving, but, at the end of the day, we recognize our good fortune. Finding a teammate or collaborator in life is not easy.

Of course, Julie and I constantly imagine how much easier our work life could be without the responsibilities of the children, being able to travel freely, have her join me on my more dangerous and risky projects. But what I’ve come to realize is the vital importance our children have in our work lives. The daily minutiae — making a school lunch, eating a home cooked meal, giving love and support to a sad child, sharing a movie together — help buffer us from our obsessive ambitions. And such simple family pleasures, which make us human and reaffirm our love and commitment to one another, remind us of the most important aspects of our work: new-found sensitivities to other people’s lives and a deeper understanding of what it means to come through for another person who is depending on you.

And what is even more exciting now, as the kids mature and grow up, is that we’re increasingly able to include them in our work. Last year my son Eli, who is 14, assisted Julie and I on two shoots, which gives him a better understanding of what we do, as well as boosting his income dramatically :-)  And at the moment we’re working with Isabel to produce a musical score for an upcoming multimedia piece to accompany my next book, THREE, due out in April.

Be Part of the RESOLUTION: Are there other photographers who are frequently on the road for long stretches of time and have a strategy to maintain the balance between work and personal relationships?

February 6th, 2009

Ed Kashi: Travels in India 1

Posted by Ed Kashi

Photojournalist Ed Kashi traveled to India with his family in early January to teach a National Geographic Photo Camp near Udaipur in Rajasthan. Ed is not only an award-winning photographer on the cutting edge of storytelling techniques, he’s also an eloquent thinker about the issues photographers like him deal with every day. In these personal reflections from his trip, he talks honestly about his own struggles to balance work and family, to connect with the children at the photo camp, and to understand where photography is heading. Be sure to check out “Ed Kashi: Travels in India 2.”
Ed Kashi's son Eli and wife Julie in the back of a rickshaw in Jaipur, India in January.

Ed's son Eli and wife Julie in the back of a rickshaw in Jaipur, India, in January. © Ed Kashi


I am on a rare vacation with my family, traveling around Rajashtan, India for two weeks over the Christmas, New Year break. My nearly 11-year-old daughter Isabel is gaga over animals and continues to fall in love with every stray dog, monkey, cow or other animal, of which there are countless on the streets of India. We are in Udaipur, a lovely city tucked in the hills of southern Rajashtan, where today our rickshaw driver suggested out of the blue that we go to a place called Animal Aid. It is an animal shelter and rehab clinic run by an American couple and their 19 year old daughter, who moved from Seattle seven years ago. Just earlier today we had been talking to Isabel about going to a veterinarian to watch how they care for animals, so it was providence that brought this suggestion to us. Once we arrived, it dawned on us that not only had we chanced upon a discovery for Isabel that could lead to a summer volunteering opportunity, but we might also have found a story idea for one of our clients back home. As I say over and over again to students, keep an open heart and open mind, and you never know what life will bring you. Here was a perfect example of that.

Be Part of the RESOLUTION: Most photographer know that locals like cab drivers and waiters can be a great resource for inside information when you’re in an unfamiliar place. Anyone have other stories about locals who helped them find a special photo story?


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