MIDNIGHT ATOP MACHU PICCHU ~ Peru
Situated in the midst of a tropical mountain forest along the eastern slopes of the Andes, Machu Picchu is one of the 7 wonders of the world. On the 2nd day of my week-long visit, I awoke early and saw the mountains shrouded in fog. As the sun began to burn through the morning fog, the view was truly awe-inspiring. Little did I know at the time, the weather was going to get far more interesting. As evening approached, dark clouds rolled in quickly. Naturally I grabbed my gear and headed straight for Santuario Historico for the best views of Machu Picchu. I quickly setup my tripod and waited. After nearly an hour, a break in the dark clouds developed and this amazing light came streaming down onto the mountaintop. It was truly a breathtaking moment and I was beyond grateful to already be in position to capture it. In less than a minute, the clouds had shifted and the light was gone. It was one of those rare moments in time when the weather gods had conspired in my favor and made the trip to Peru that much more worthwhile.
ARTIST STATEMENT: As though by a magnet, I’ve always felt the world pulling me, luring me to explore its mysteries and wonder. For a long time, I put my dreams on hold. Then one day in my practice as a radiologist, I met a patient whose journey would forever change my outlook.
In the Fall of 2006, a man came to me with a nagging discomfort in his chest. At 38 years old, he was so young that I thought surely it must be something benign or otherwise inconsequential. In a matter of a few short hours, his CT scan revealed that he was suffering from terminal lung cancer. His story is a reminder to us all that each day must be viewed as a very special gift.
I’ve witnessed hundreds of patients whose lives have been abruptly changed by a life-altering or life-ending diagnosis. At times we may convince ourselves that we are immortal, and that cancer or some other catastrophe only affects others, but we have no guarantees in this life. Time is too short to get lost in a blur of days, weeks, and months.
And so, I began to think more seriously about all those overseas adventures waiting for me, and soon enough, I grabbed my camera and voyaged to all 7 continents. I’ve observed Tibetan monks in prayer, hiked up the Virunga mountains of Rwanda to marvel at the Silverback gorillas in their natural habitat, and watched Bengal tigers cool off in a shallow lake to escape India’s searing heat.
I’ve met people, young and old, who have lived amazing yet ordinary lives. Along the way, I’ve spent several decades honing my craft as a portrait photographer. Whether I’m making candid images of women immersed in prayer in Abu Dhabi or portraits of television actors in my Venice Beach studio, I’ve continuously sought to capture life’s fragility and beauty.
There are no rewinds in life, so find the time to discover your inspiration, explore the extraordinary, create the unimaginable, and then leave nothing on the table.
~ Harv Greenberg, M.D.