HAL ROBERT MYERS confronts the trauma of his wife’s Stage 4 cancer diagnosis, sharing deeply personal images that demonstrate a clinging to love in their struggle to cope.
More than 100,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma in the U.S. this year.
AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY
WHEN WE FIRST GOT THE NEWS WE WERE SHOCKED. I can remember Barbara saying in disbelief: WHAT THE HELL? It was difficult for us to conceive that she had been caught on the sticky flypaper of a cancer diagnosis – news that nearly two million Americans receive every year. Still, what were the odds that Stage 4 metastatic melanoma would infect such a beautiful soul.
It’s strange being both the sometime subject of my own photography and the one bearing witness to a potentially deadly disease. The best way of coping for me has been to photograph the journey Barbara is on – either as an act of documenting this time for the Akashic record or as an exercise in preserving my own mental health. I can’t say exactly which, only that I am grateful to Barbara for allowing the camera’s occasional presence. I know in my heart it’s her gift to me, and a reminder that her capacity for love is far greater than some insidious mass.
HAL ROBERT MYERS uses the barrel of his camera to shoot the front lines.
WE LIVE IN AN ERA OF SOCIAL UNREST. From the ripple effect of Dobbs to roiling issues of immigration reform, the U.S. is churning in political discord, triggered in part by the friction between anti-woke nativism and socially progressive ideals. Most protests spring from the generational roots of perceived subjugation: whether it’s a response to the violation of indigenous rights at Standing Rock, North Dakota, or the global reaction to the violence unleashed in the Middle East, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” hardly does this reactionary era we’re in, well, justice. I used to believe that documenting these struggles helped to inspire a greater awareness for addressing their cause, and thus promoted eventual compromise. In truth, the media – even mine – tends to further segregate our opinions by reinforcing a held view. If so, my protest work not only does little good; it could be seen as part of the problem.
HAL ROBERT MYERS takes aim at the human condition from street level.
This work is a classical study of our time, or of any other.
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MY AIM is to see the humanity of a situation, not just the circumstance – which basically defines the act of street photography: to freeze the choreography of our surroundings in order to more fully investigate an otherwise constantly moving environment. It suspends time, lets you roll the moment around on your tongue and get a flavor of things, maybe even imagine what happened before or after the picture was taken. I enjoy the pursuit of this type of documentation, especially out on the cultural fringe. Another, longer aim of this work is to capture and preserve the local traditions of people whose image is typically shaped by either Instagram likes or a patronizing view of their relatively poor economic conditions.
HAL ROBERT MYERS presents a handful of expressive portraits, chosen in part for the portrayal of indigenous lives and their quotidian struggle.
RGB STANDS FOR red, green and blue – three colors of light that can be combined in distinct ratios to produce more than 16 million different visible shades. If three basic colors can generate that kind of complexity, imagine what a human face can affect with at least that many forms of expression. When viewed environmentally, the added layer of context forces a broader interpretation of the subject’s appearance to encompass the circumstances around which the photo was taken. I’m most tuned into those surroundings when I travel to destinations off the beaten path, both geographically and philosophically. I appreciate the exercise of photographing subject matter in my own backyard, but what excites my interest is exploring how others live outside of my culture, and picturing myself in their eyes.
I’m what Cornell Capa considered to be a “concerned photographer.” These days, just about any photographer who is sensitive to what feels like a world of multiplying problems must qualify. I have a particular interest in protecting the environment as well, and the two go hand-in-hand: we’re embarking on a long march toward global climgration (climate + migration), which promises to introduce challenges beyond environmental destruction, from where they spooled.
Having lived in several countries and spent time in well over 50 has imbued my work with a perspective that comes from fully immersive travel experiences. The takeaway has been a realization that we are all closely connected. I’m baffled by the adopting of kneejerk political positions that build walls around narrow-minded and homogeneous thinking, which itself springs from fear. Real solutions don’t come about through exclusion, but (however trite this might sound) acts of inclusion – whose root word “include” is an apt description for the container in which we all live: Planet Earth. Contrary to forces trying to pull us apart, the colorful threads of diversity are what bind the world closer together, much like an Afghan rug or a handmade Mexican scarf, whose strength is derived from the alternating warp and weft of their fibers. Our strength and, I suspect, future depends on taking a more interwoven approach.