MT. BROMO ~ Indonesia.
It’s quite a trek to visit this spectacular volcano. My journey began with a direct flight from Jakarta to Surabaya. Around midnight, my guide and I left on a 3-hour drive to Mt. Penanjakan, the best viewpoint to watch the sunrise over Mt. Bromo. It was unbelievably crowded, even in the middle of the night. We walked in complete darkness from the park’s entrance to the viewpoint and waited patiently. As always, we were at the mercy of Mother Nature and the sunrise was less than fabulous. Never to be deterred, I waited and waited and waited for the clouds to part. Finally, as the blanket of clouds covering the sky began to separate, the sun’s golden rays finally lit up Semeru National Park and I fired off several dozen photos. It was an incredibly magical moment and well worth the loss of sleep and the long distances traveled to stand before some of the most majestic scenery on the planet.
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.