My Last Smithsonian Instagram Takeover Post

I wanted to share with you all my last post for my Instagram takeover with @smithsonianmagazine through the week of Veterans Day! I salute all our present military and our veterans, but more importantly the ones that gave it all and never came home! #neverforget Here is a snippet of a ongoing project I have been working on for the last couple of years with our nations greatest heroes. Those who have been awarded the Medal of Honor!!!!

Throughout the week with the Smithsonian, I was sharing military images and some of my passion projects. I wanted to leave an impression with the viewer, a sort of call to action: There is soooooo much more to this world than what’s outside your front door! I challenge each and every one of you to go out and explore it, get off the touristy beaten track and invest time in getting to know your neighbors, distant lands & beautiful cultures! One only needs to start with a firm handshake, true eye contact and a warm heart!!!!

For those of you who followed along last week, I sincerely thank you!!!!

Jeremy Lock | Recipient of the First Annual South x Southeast Director’s Award 2018 | To Be An Apatani Woman

Wow, it has been a whirlwind of “on the road” work since June for me! I have been working at workshops, (one that I run), travels to India finishing up a personal project, living out of a car for a couple weeks covering Hurricane Florence and a bunch of guest speaking to include speaking to the Canadian military and NATO forces in Ottawa, Canada.

When I came home a week ago I had a beautiful email in my in box from a great mentor of mine congratulating me.

Congratulations on this wonderful South by Southeast Director’s Award. You deserve it and much more. This honor is an appreciation of the very necessary and powerful work you deliver each time you go out to do your work. You have made a personal step forward to make a difference. It shows that a person can deliver truth and beauty when they lead with their heart and soul.” – Eli Reed, Magnum Photographer

I was scratching my head until I then looked further down in my emails and found the official confirmation from South x Southeast. I was truly overjoyed!!!!!

This was a project that I had worked on last fall in Far East India with a great friend of mine Russell Klika and was an amazing Army Combat Camera man during his time in service. Just to get to some of our locations during the trip it took two days by train, 16 hour bus rides and finally around six-eight hour car rides. Russell big thanks to our trip and introducing me to this amazing culture! As you know I would travel with you anywhere!!!

This has been an amazing project to work on that has truly enriched my life! I couldn’t have even come close to finishing up this without the help of my AMAZING writer Taylor Nam who works to bring my interviews, perspective and thoughts into a beautiful story. I continue to love working with her on our projects!

So this story To Be An Apatani Woman has made it into the top 20 in Pictures of the Year International and now this award. It has been frustrating trying to find a home/publication for this project in hopes of bringing more awareness and understanding into our complex world. I am happy to be sharing it with you and in this way! Thanks again to Nancy at South x Southeast for the honor and belief in my work. I hope you will all take the time to read the story that accompanies the images and by all means please share!!!!

https://www.sxsephotogallery.com/2018/10/21/jeremy-lock-recipient-of-the-south-x-southeast-directors-award-2018-to-be-an-apatani-woman/

Kago Yapii, 70's When Yapii was five or six she had her modifications done. She says, "I really wanted to have this done and I had no fear at all"

To Be An Apatani Woman When the last tattooed Apatani woman of Arunachal Pradesh passes, the tribe will lay to rest one of the most significant parts of their history and culture–the coming-of-age ritual of nose plugging and facial tattooing, two practices that historically defined what it meant to be an Apatani woman. Up until 1974, young Apatani girls around the tender age of seven were forced to plug their noses with cane and tattoo their faces from hairline to nose and then across the chin using a tipe tere (local thorny plant). In this northeastern Indian state also known as the ‘Land of the Rising Sun,’ nose plugs and face tattoos were much a part of the journey to womanhood as was finding a husband and starting a family. News organizations have reported in the past that these physical modifications were made so that enemy tribes wouldn’t steal the famously beautiful Apatani women during tribal disputes. However, an Apatani woman named Manu gave another reason for the tradition as it was taught to her years ago by her parents: “If you don’t have tattoos and nose plugs, no boys will be attracted to you. If you want to get married, you need these.” However, according to the locals of Ziro Valley, these practices were banned by the government in the 1970’s. Some of the Apatani women expressed their gratitude that the rituals have been banned; they do not want to see younger generations go through the physical pain of plugging one’s nose and tattooing one’s face. Other women disagreed. They see the ban as a suppression of their identity. In the words of Apatani, Lulyo, “I want the younger women to keep on the tradition, because God has given them some kind of sign that they must follow the culture.” Yet, even those who disagree with the ban seemed to have reached a sort of individual peace with the changing culture, expressing a trust in fate, destiny, God or organization to the way of life that goes beyond the physical world. The ban represents both the movement towards modernization as well as movement away from what has always been. For as long as history has been passed from generation to generation, to have the plugs and tattoos is to be Apatani. Now, going forward, these women must decide what marks them as being distinct from the surrounding tribes and, really, the rest of the world. Story written by: Taylor Nam

Punyo Pui, 80’s

Michi Yaji, 75-80

Michi Yaring, 75-80 Yaring was 14 yrs old when she had her nose done and was tattooed at 15 yrs old. When her mother started to tattoo her she screamed a lot and asked to wait until her father came home from the jungle. Yaring said, “five people including her father had to catch her and hold her down”. Although it was very painful, she would like the younger girls to take on the responsibility and continue the tradition.

Tilling Manu, 61 Manu was 3 yrs old when her ears were pierced, 7yrs old when she received her nose plug and tattooed at the age of 12 or 13. She didn’t want to get the tattoos because she heard it was painful. She ran and hid under the house with the pigs until her parents pulled her out and tied her hands and legs before performing the act. When asked now about her tattoos and nose plug Manu says, ” I am very proud to have them because it is our own culture. I want to have these because everybody knows that I am Apatani”.

Michi Modii, 60

2018 EarthX

Finally getting around to posting a fun assignment I had this past April for the EarthX 2018 gala here in Dallas, Texas. I was brought in to do a little portrait session with some of the VIP’s attending the event. Wow, and to my surprise, I was blown away when Dr. Buzz Aldrin, one of my childhood heroes walked in to be photographed! He is a great person full of character and life and was so much fun on set! His attire is absolutely so fitting for him! In fact all the VIP’s I got to work with are absolutely amazing and it was a true honor to work with them all!!!

EarthX is the World’s Largest Environmental Expo, Conference and Film Festival. Their mission is Connecting a global community to create a sustainable world for all life and future generations. They have a vision of being the leading global connector and environmental forum to positively impact our world for a sustainable future.

Buzz Aldrin (born Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr.; January 20, 1930) is an American engineer, former astronaut, and Command Pilot in the United States Air Force. As Lunar Module Pilot on the Apollo 11 mission, he and mission commander Neil Armstrong were the first two humans to land on the Moon. Aldrin set foot on the Moon at 03:15:16 on July 21, 1969 (UTC), 9 minutes after Armstrong first touched the surface. (Global Impact Honoree 2018)

Left: Miguel Hoffmann – Mexican Actor (Most recognized actor in Mexico). Right: Danni Washington is an on-camera personality and science communicator who is deeply passionate about our oceans. (Global Impact Honoree 2018)

Left: Ovie Mughelli – Former Fullback for the Atlanta Falcons. Right: Colbie Marie Caillat is an American singer and songwriter from Malibu, California. Caillat rose to fame through social networking website Myspace. At that time, she was the number-one unsigned artist of her genre. After signing with Universal Republic Records, she released her debut album Coco in July 2007.

Left: Sonja Morgan (The Real Housewives of New York City) is a fixture of New York City society. She got her start modeling in Paris and Milan and studying marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology, representing high-end luxury brands while keeping her Berkshire-bred sensibilities and values. Sonja used her business acumen and social skills—along with rock-and-rollers, royalty, and the power set—to launch several award-winning luxury fashion brands and successful hot spots across the country. Right: Jorge Heredia is an award winning Host, Actor and Journalist who launched his career as the host of Emmy & Paoli award winning entertainment variety show, “Que Pasa Miami?”. The show garnered a global weekly audience of 22 million and was broadcast in 19 international cities. Jorge decided to expand his portfolio by working as an actor on independent films and television in the US.

Left: Dr. Cyrus Wadia is Vice President, Sustainable Business & Innovation, NIKE, Inc., where he is responsible for enabling the company’s sustainability strategy with the goal of driving change across Nike and the wider industry. (Global Impact Honoree 2018) Right: Cyrill Gutsch founded Parley for the Oceans to provide a collaboration network where creators, thinkers and leaders can come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of our oceans and collaborate to end their destruction. Parley is known for renaming sustainability into ‘Eco Innovation,’ a concept realized through high-caliber collaborations and the introduction of Ocean Plastic™, a range of premium materials for the sports, fashion and luxury industries made from upcycled plastic debris collected on high seas, beaches and in remote coastal communities. (Global Impact Honoree)

2018 Kolkata, India

Its been a great couple of weeks here in Kolkata, India working on a project I started last November. I have been all over this “City of Joy” sometimes walking up to 10 miles a day. I will be excited to share my project when its completed. In the meantime, here are some images shot in-between my project.

Bike The Bricks, McKinney, Texas

This past weekend a buddy of mine said,  “Why don’t you come out and enjoy some beers and watch a race in the Historic Downtown of McKinney, Texas”? I was intrigued, I mean he had me at the beers, but what was this race he was speaking of? I looked it up and it turns out that it’s a bicycle race called, Bike The Bricks. This multiple bike race (11 races) puts these cyclist on a timed (20-70 min) multiple lap 1 mile L-shaped track through a beautiful neighborhood and McKinney’s Downtown. Spectators are inches from the action as some riders reach speed of 40mph.

I called my friend back and told him I am in and will see you down there!

I have never photographed a bike race before and a couple of free beers in-between had me stoked!

This is my take on the 2018 Bike The Bricks!!!

 

 

Honored To Be A USVAA Colleagues

I am Honored that I was asked to be a representing colleague with the United States Veterans’ Artists Alliance (USVAA). I am also very humbled to be among this talented group of amazing artist! I hope you will take the time to check out some of the other artist that make up USVAA’s, film, fine art, photography, music, literature & poetry, theater, television and technology.

USVAA is a multi-disciplinary arts organization composed of a diverse group of dynamic, extraordinarily talented military veterans and artists located across the United States.

Founded in 2004, USVAA seeks to open doors for military veterans to work and thrive in America’s creative economy by providing opportunities in the arts, humanities and entertainment industry. With a solid track record of programming excellence in place, USVAA works tirelessly with veterans, artists, supportive individuals and organizations within the arts and veterans’ communities to find funding and support for individual and collaborative projects in photography, literature, theater, film, television, fine arts and a wide variety of crafts.

In addition to our work with veterans and artists, we strive first and foremost to highlight the talents of military veterans and the history of veterans who have made significant contributions to the arts and humanities since the Revolutionary War. To date we have compiled biographical information on the over 550 military veterans who have made noted contributions to the arts and humanities since the founding of the United States.

 

Voices In The Streets When The NRA Comes To Dallas

This weekend the city of Dallas hosted the NRA convention and thousands of gun enthusiast. While others FOR and AGAINST the NRA took to the city streets to let their voices be heard. This is a combination of three rallies: Stand Up To The NRA, Rally 4 Reform and a open carry fire arm rally.

It was great getting out there and running into some old friends like Adrees Latif while working with a younger photographer I am mentoring. All the rallies went of great and from what I could tell I didn’t see any fighting from opposing sides. When I did encounter anything it was a discussion between the two.

March for Eternal Life

First Baptist, Dallas, Texas, Palm Sunday.
On Sunday March 25, 2018 my church, First Baptist experienced a night of worship with singer Sandi Patty and observed The Lord’s Supper. After service, the congregation led by Pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress participated in the March for Eternal Life as they carried a lit cross to Klyde Warren Park proclaiming the message of Jesus Christ.

March For Our Lives In Dallas

On March 24, 2018 citizens across Dallas took to the streets in solidarity with the March For Our Lives and stand united in support of common gun laws. The event started with a march through the streets of downtown Dallas and ended with students speaking out to the masses.

The event was organized by local students with the help of organizers who have worked on past marches in solidarity with the national March on Washington.

Here is a look at my day documenting the event.

ISIS Last Stronghold

With only 8.1 km separating Batnaya and Tel Skuf, they existed as sister cities in an area of Iraq called the Nineveh Plain – a place that Christians and other ethnoreligious minorities have lived for millennia.

When ISIS swept across Iraq in August 2014 on a mission of systematic annihilation against Christians and other religious minorities, chaos ensued. People were forced to flee their homes instantly, knowing full well that ISIS would soon destroy their churches, houses and places of work. Eventually, ISIS took Batnaya with the full intention to advance towards Tel Skuf, desecrating everything in its way.

In the resulting struggle between the Kurdish army, called Peshmerga, and ISIS to take possession of the land, Batnaya became a desolate moonscape and Tel Skuf an uninhabited ghost town, constantly under enemy fire, directly on the war’s front line. By October 2017, the Peshmerga, together with the Coalition Forces, drove out the last of the ISIS from Batnaya and eventually all of Nineveh.

In Tel Skuf, 300 families have started the process of patching their lives back together. In Batnaya, however, only one man has re-established his home and returned with his family. Even with ISIS gone, the current political uncertainty has caused some to hesitate on returning to Nineveh while others have chosen to leave the province altogether, seeking refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan, other nearby countries, or in the West. For all the displaced people of Nineveh, these towns mean more than the streets and buildings – Nineveh is the wounded but still beating heart of Iraq’s minority population.

The Nineveh Plains are symbolic, a cultural and religious landmark and to remain with the uncertainties of war still on the horizon is to claim ownership of one’s future there. -Story written by Taylor Nam

Erbil, located approximately 120 kilometers north of Baghdad, is the capital city of the Kurdistan Region and became the destination for hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the neighboring province of Nineveh. This region is where the majority of Iraq’s ethnic and religious minorities, including a nearly 2,000-year-old Christian community, reside. Although ISIS never reached Erbil itself, war consumed its neighboring cities and threatened the lives of everyone in the area until its expulsion from Iraq in the fall of 2017.

In a process of systematic persecution of Christians and other ethnoreligious minorities like Yazidis, ISIS invaded the Nineveh Plains with the intent of creating its territorial caliphate and to obliterate everything representing these cultures. Women and children were no exception. When ISIS took Batnaya, thousands fled to the Kurdistan region with only minutes notice, taking with them only what they could carry and leaving most of their possessions behind. Once clear of Batnaya, they had little place to go except for refugee camps. Although they may have escaped the ISIS invasion, the people of Nineveh were far from safe.

Batnaya’s neighbor, Telskuf, was held by the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and became the front line against ISIS. The militants who captured Batnaya were stopped only a few kilometers away. Filled with homes, shops, restaurants, schools — like any normal town — Telskuf marked the last line of defense in Northern Iraq. Just on the horizon and after years of occupation, looting, shelling, desecration and eventually coalition bombing, Batnaya was reduced to near rubble as Telskuf remained relatively intact.

Although ISIS nearly captured Telskuf it continued to besiege it daily with mortars, artillery, sniper infiltrations and roadside bombs. Eventually, the extremists were pushed back by the Peshmerga forces with air support from the United States. As a defensive measure, The Peshmerga drew literal lines in the sand with WWI-like trenches dug deep into the Telskuf ¬that remain visual scars recent conflict.

For almost three years, ISIS ravaged Batnaya and continually attacked Telskuf. The rubble piles and dry, fragmented vegetation in both towns reflects the destruction. With debris littering the streets and entire buildings leveled almost beyond recognition, Nineveh was transformed from an ancient sanctuary to ruins.

In Batnaya, very few buildings withstood ISIS’s occupation. Those that did were disfigured by the ravages of war – graffiti, bullet holes, bomb craters, missing walls and piles of rubble. With all the residents gone and around 80-percent of the town damaged, the now ghost town took on a moonscape-like appearance. The Peshmerga (with air support from the U.S.) eventually pushed ISIS out of Batnaya but the retreating fighters scorched the earth as they fled by blowing up key infrastructure, llooting and leaving booby traps for the victors in an already devastated city. The Christians of Batnaya have been slow to return, because so little of their old lives remain and danger still exists.

By September 2017, only one family had returned to Batnaya. They live in what would be a normal home in any other town but here, perched amidst the wreckage; the structure’s mere existence is remarkable. Other residents, while at first expressing their resolution to return to their city, now face the reality that everything they once knew is nearly gone.

What used to be a place of worship, the Catholic Church in Batnaya, now stands as a testament to jihad. With the statuary destroyed and the building in near ruins, the altar was used as target practice by occupying ISIS militants. On the walls, hateful messages were made in Arabic but also in German ISIS soldier scribbled caliphate graffiti on the walls – a testament to ISIS’s global appeal. The local vicar has expressed that he will keep the bullet-riddled altar as a monument and a reminder to visitors and Parishioners alike that although outside forces like ISIS may try to wipe out Christianity, the community will endure.

Clothing, toys, and photos — memories of happier days — all had to be left behind when the people of Nineveh fled for their lives. In the choice between personal mementos and one’s life, the decision is instinctual and often instantaneous. For the Christians of Batnaya, the abandonment and loss of material things represents how quickly their lives can be taken from them.

Initially, the general attitude among the displaced Christians, Yazidis and other refugees was that they would return to their towns in Nineveh, including Batnaya and Telskuf, when ISIS was defeated. However, some have left Iraq and will never return seeking refuge in neighboring counties like Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and beyond. Many remain in refugee camps with no money or means to rebuild.

In Telskuf, the town is making a comeback with stores and shops reopening. Even restaurants are turning on their lights once more.

No matter if they choose to go back home to Telskuf and Batnaya or to move elsewhere, the attitude of those Christians and the other displaced peoples who lived through the ISIS invasion remains one of hope and pride. ISIS did not win. Jihad did not prevail. And, for the future, hope exists.