Here's a picture of me with one of my favorite living Buddhist teachers, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. Actually it's a picture of him taking a picture of me. The picture of him was taken by a wonderful young classical guitarist, Benjamin Biers. There was a lot of subject/object reversal was going on.
Maybe this picture should be called "Chain of Transmission." Or "Metaphotograph." Anyway, it was a great experience. Rinpoche had a burger and Coke for lunch. I had tortillas and chorizo. It was a very global-culture meal. And although I was the journalist and he was one of the subjects of the reporting, he took my picture rather than the other way around.
Rinpoche's talk was excellent. I like the picture, too. And since all journalism is ultimately about the writer and not the subject, why not take my picture? Besides, it was his idea. He's the teacher, not me.
The tortillas and chorizo were delicious. Very authentic, rustic-style cooking, not restaurant-style. It reminded me that those of us who live in Southern California reside in that part of the country the Chicano activists used to (and maybe still do) call México Ocupado - "occupied Mexico." That's looking at local history through a slightly longer historical lens. And, as always, what gets in the frame is determined by who gets to hold the camera.
And if you want to get beyond the Subject/Object dichotomy - well, then, that's where it's good to call in somebody who can express the situation in a non-literal way. Musicians are good at that.
¡Viva México Ocupado!