Images and words by Charlie Oberhauser
"We are very used to understanding stories by watching a film, reading a book, watching a play, or even listening to a friend who’s telling you about an unusual moment he experienced in his daily routine.
But when it comes to appreciating a story through a series of images frozen in time, it suddenly feels different. Why is that?
There are two blank spaces, one before the image—you can call it the past—and the other after the image—you can call it the future. These blank spaces are there to be filled with imagination, supposition, and personal interpretation. It is only the operator, the witnesses, that knows the real truth of it all. This produces in the external spectator a new perspective or judgment, a new feeling, one of confusion, misunderstanding, scarcity, or non-comfort; a frustrating desire of wanting to know what has been and what comes next.
For others that is okay, because they love mystery, they find comfort in the unknown, because it’s up to them, because they have a task, they interact and therefore earn a part in the story, which, in a subtle way, becomes their story as well.
Showing up every day with a camera in hand from day one allowed me to experience different lighting scenarios, locations, human expressions, and activities.
All of the participants felt comfortable with me at the time of shooting pictures of them during very intimate moments. For most of the journey, I never felt like I was intruding until we did the “Shadow to Gold” work guided by Stefan Herman. It was incredibly hard for me to be shooting such human openness and vulnerability, I really felt limited and slightly abrasive.
Shooting these incredible 13 humans throughout the whole month was a big motivation, getting to know slowly who they were, what they like, what they do, what they fear, what they want, and, most importantly, what they need.
It was beautiful to witness the change in everyone and the strong bond that was formed between all of us. I believe everyone, including myself, came with tough challenges and unconscious or conspicuous problems to deal with. Diego Dosal, as the creator and facilitator, provided not only a space of trust and comfort to share between all of us but also priceless information, practices, and techniques that turned out to be the ideal tools to face what prevents us from being free from fear.
This is really a Warrior's Journey, where we need to face pure non-comfort, awkwardness, intense vulnerability, anger, and fear. It was clear as water that this is what we must experience to grow, to understand the root of our problems, that it is absolutely necessary to face darkness and not fight with it, but simply observe it and understand it. We must start there.
So with the intention of keeping the mystery of the journey, I give you these images for you to fill in the blanks, hoping this story becomes your own, too."