It’s Thingyan here in Myanmar. Water festival -the New Year. With each new beginning I’m drawn into reflecting on what is, was, and may be. Having not done that for a while this was the perfect opportunity.

An event recently gave me the idea for the this blog post. The event… an end, in a way, (more about that later) but a unique opportunity to look at cracks and flaws in a way most never do.

The beauty in a simple crack in a wall, the line a drying bit of mud takes, the character a sculpture gains with a chip, these are images that I find I am endlessly drawn to.

Recently I have been deeply immersed in commercial photography work. The kind of work that absolutely has no room for cracks, chips, or flaws of any sort. This blog post is NOT about that, “perfection”. Rather it is about beauty. Real beauty that is all around us.

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“I say to him... why do I call you God? He says 'Because Grand Poobah sounds ridiculous.”

“(Who knew he was so witty?) I ask him 'Lord, so many poets have tried to nail it and missed, what is holy?”

“At that moment, the planets begin to spin and awaken and large movie screens appear on Mars, Saturn and Venus each bearing images I have witnessed and over each and every clip flashes the word holy.”


Burma_2014_04177a “magic tricks--holy”

THA_March_2014_022a “cows' tongues--holy”

THA_Sept_2013_01371a “snowballs upside the head--holy”

Burma_2014_04937a “clumsy first kisses--holy”

Burma_2014_04646a “sneaking into movies--holy”

Burma_2013_11800a “your mother teaching you to slow dance”

Burma_2014_04169a “the fear returning the fear overcome--holy”

Burma_2013_DSC09419a “eating top ramen on upside-down frisbees cause it was either buy plates or more beer--holy”

Burma_2014_04311a “drunk beach cruiser nights--holy”

Burma_2014_04346a “the last time you were nervous holding hands--holy”

Burma_2014_05003a “feeling God at a pool hall but not church--holy”

Burma_2013_14546a “sleeping during your uncle's memorized dinner prayer--holy”

Burma_2013_DSC09787a “losing your watch in the waves and all that signifies--holy”

“the day your grandmother told you something meaningful cause she was dying--holy”
Lines from the poem -A Finger, Two Dots, Then Me by Derrick Brown

The event that inspired this blog entry was the retirement of the camera body that took many of the images in this post.

This crack, inflicted in the line of duty.


The lens, a 70-200 ƒ2.8, was fine, a broken hood, nothing more. But the body…… I feared the worst. Turning it on and to my surprise it sprang to life! In fact this Nikon D4 works perfectly! Okay, the top display is DOA but all else…. 100%!

I recently shot the arrival and accompanying events of the Solar Impulse in Mandalay with this cracked D4. (along with other Nikon Bodies) If you don’t know about the around the world flight of the Solar Impulse you owe it to your self to check out what these amazing pioneers are doing. The aircraft is powered with nothing but Sun light.

Three brutal, very long, high energy days of run and gun and the Nikon D4c (cracked) did what all Nikons do, It delivered perfectly! Not a single issue.SI_2015_1442

Pilot André Borschberg, Myanmar President U Thein Sein, and Pilot Bertrand Piccard standing in front of the Solar Impulse aircraft.

I toyed with the idea of repairing it but as that would mean a complete teardown and a new Magnesium alloy body…. also with more than 400k shutter releases on it, it is time to retire it to quiet shelf, far away from rain, mud, sweat, grime, dust, and all the bumps and jostles of sharp elbows and tired flight attendants.

A big shoutout to NPS (once again) for all their help in keeping my gear working perfectly.

I look forward to seeing you out there…. What are your holy images?

Thank you,

Julian Ray

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If you like what you see. Don’t like what you see. Want to offer a critique. Have a story or an image (or more) on the same subject that you would like to share, please do. I would enjoy hearing form you.


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