John Stanmeyer

@johnstanmeyer

  • 277 Posts
  • 372 707 Followers
Feeling, Then Seeing - new workshop July 23-29 in the Berkshires of MA. Join us:
After caterpillars, electrified border fencing, and laundry line-needed visual distractions, we finally arrived at Samvel Torosyan’s home. Welcomed as family, fed like relatives with plates of stringy cheese, fresh fruit, and many glasses of Armenian cognac, Samvel began sharing stories his ancestors had told him of a mountain village in eastern Turkey called Sasun. A brawny fellow with a deep voice, near pickle-sized fingers, he told me he could sing and so began a medley of seven songs, each one more emotional than the next. Samvel kindly allowed me to record these songs as if they would be lost from memory, evaporated by time. So moved by his tone, passion, often tearful expression, I told Samvel I was traveling to the Anatolia region in a few days, making what felt an unfulfillable promise to somehow find his ancestral home, Sasun (today called, Sason). A few weeks later, becoming lost on unpaved mountain-bending roads, I found Sasun. It is located high above every mountain, and it was here I met the Tas family, the only remaining ethnic Armenians living in Sason. Never could I have imagined that late afternoon with Samvel’s family, finding what could have been their relatives in such a beautiful land. The video is a short excerpt of a much longer song called Kele Lao (Qele Lao), “Let’s Go Home,” or “Come Hither, Child.” On the last slide is a sixty-second recording of Samvel’s pain-filled voice. I so wish Instagram allowed this over three-minute song to be heard in its entirety, pouring into you as it was that day…
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 #armenia  #family  #home  #song  #cognac  #KeleLao  #QeleLao  #sasun  #sason  #turkey from the @natgeo story  #ghostlands @viiphoto  #fromthearchives

After caterpillars, electrified border fencing, and laundry line-needed visual distractions, we finally arrived at Samvel Torosyan’s home. Welcomed as family, fed like relatives with plates of stringy cheese, fresh fruit, and many glasses of Armenian cognac, Samvel began sharing stories his ancestors had told him of a mountain village in eastern Turkey called Sasun. A brawny fellow with a deep voice, near pickle-sized fingers, he told me he could sing and so began a medley of seven songs, each one more emotional than the next. Samvel kindly allowed me to record these songs as if they would be lost from memory, evaporated by time. So moved by his tone, passion, often tearful expression, I told Samvel I was traveling to the Anatolia region in a few days, making what felt an unfulfillable promise to somehow find his ancestral home, Sasun (today called, Sason). A few weeks later, becoming lost on unpaved mountain-bending roads, I found Sasun. It is located high above every mountain, and it was here I met the Tas family, the only remaining ethnic Armenians living in Sason. Never could I have imagined that late afternoon with Samvel’s family, finding what could have been their relatives in such a beautiful land. The video is a short excerpt of a much longer song called Kele Lao (Qele Lao), “Let’s Go Home,” or “Come Hither, Child.” On the last slide is a sixty-second recording of Samvel’s pain-filled voice. I so wish Instagram allowed this over three-minute song to be heard in its entirety, pouring into you as it was that day… ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #armenia #family #home #song #cognac #KeleLao #QeleLao #sasun #sason #turkey from the @natgeo story #ghostlands @viiphoto #fromthearchives

3 704
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9 days ago
Overjoyed in not knowing why, by everything, I had to stop when seeing children’s clothing running on a laundry line when a storm neared Gyumri in Armenia. Excited by this simplicity for what must have been an eternity, it was too late in the evening to drive towards Samvel Torosyan’s home, and we returned to Villa Kars, a most special place in Gyumri. More on Samvel, his family, and his beautiful voice in the coming days. Until then, I hope you will continue being ecstatic in the immense possibility of I do not know. If we pay enough attention, this universe opens its doors to why we are here.
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 #armenia  #gyumri  #laundry  #laundryline  #laundrylinedivine  #storm  #wind from the @natgeo story  #ghostlands @viiphoto  #fromthearchives

Overjoyed in not knowing why, by everything, I had to stop when seeing children’s clothing running on a laundry line when a storm neared Gyumri in Armenia. Excited by this simplicity for what must have been an eternity, it was too late in the evening to drive towards Samvel Torosyan’s home, and we returned to Villa Kars, a most special place in Gyumri. More on Samvel, his family, and his beautiful voice in the coming days. Until then, I hope you will continue being ecstatic in the immense possibility of I do not know. If we pay enough attention, this universe opens its doors to why we are here. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #armenia #gyumri #laundry #laundryline #laundrylinedivine #storm #wind from the @natgeo story #ghostlands @viiphoto #fromthearchives

7 549
122
12 days ago
Update: Workshop is full. I so look forward collaborating with such a talented group of creative storytellers this July! - Our universe of possibilities is reopening, and only one space remains in the workshop, sharing once more a most beautiful event this July...Feeling, Then Seeing, at home with Frida and me. All the goodness is within the link of my Instagram bio, so excited many new and returning photographers will be joining us in the home of 24 Windows next month, July 23-29, in the Berkshires. Oooh, and we hope to share more happiness...a special guest might be joining me too. Register and learn more soon! Peace within, love to all, John and Frida @elfriede.the.great.dane 🐾❤️
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 #intheberkshires  #workshop  #photoworkshop  #storytelling  #photography  #life  #love  #creating in  #GreatBarrington  #massachusetts

Update: Workshop is full. I so look forward collaborating with such a talented group of creative storytellers this July! - Our universe of possibilities is reopening, and only one space remains in the workshop, sharing once more a most beautiful event this July...Feeling, Then Seeing, at home with Frida and me. All the goodness is within the link of my Instagram bio, so excited many new and returning photographers will be joining us in the home of 24 Windows next month, July 23-29, in the Berkshires. Oooh, and we hope to share more happiness...a special guest might be joining me too. Register and learn more soon! Peace within, love to all, John and Frida @elfriede.the.great.dane 🐾❤️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #intheberkshires #workshop #photoworkshop #Storytelling #photography #life #love #creating in #greatbarrington #massachusetts

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14 days ago
Borders make me sad. Days of driving along the western part of Armenia with Turkey, the only bridge I could find that connected people were simple planks of wood, an overpass above a small portion of the Araks River. Not that long ago, it was accessible, now separated by electrified barbed wire that only insects, small mammals, and the birds we often saw flying overhead can freely cross between two neighbors. I’ve seen these desperately depressing lines of division everywhere on our earth. From this melancholy is why @bridging.stories was created. To find what we have in common. Not in what divides.
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 #armenia  #turkey  #AraksRiver  #ArasRiver  #ArazRiver bridge  #border  #barbedwire from the @natgeo story  #ghostlands @viiphoto  #fromthearchives

Borders make me sad. Days of driving along the western part of Armenia with Turkey, the only bridge I could find that connected people were simple planks of wood, an overpass above a small portion of the Araks River. Not that long ago, it was accessible, now separated by electrified barbed wire that only insects, small mammals, and the birds we often saw flying overhead can freely cross between two neighbors. I’ve seen these desperately depressing lines of division everywhere on our earth. From this melancholy is why @bridging.stories was created. To find what we have in common. Not in what divides. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #armenia #turkey #AraksRiver #ArasRiver #ArazRiver bridge #border #barbedwire from the @natgeo story #ghostlands @viiphoto #fromthearchives

2 807
29
17 days ago
I imagine everywhere are gentle little premonitions. All around, intended to be. I met a man named Vachagan in the village of Bagaran on Armenia's border to Turkey. There was no reason or purpose to visit Bagaran. I was curious about small towns along the west of the country, and only the intent of driving in that direction, somehow we appeared there. Soon after meeting, Vachagan took us through a forest of the beautiful ubiquitousness of Armenia…apricot trees. Small insects were at a party above a fallen limb, saying to pay attention. I can't remember how long I spent with these sweet tiny ones, falling into the endless pleasant distraction of hidden reasons, grateful for Vachagan's patience. Much later, I came upon what Vachagan was so excited to show us; A cross had been built under tall apricot trees at a small clearing overlooking the border, but no one was there. A few days later, we learned people might be coming to share a meal by this cross and decided to return, and so became the photograph that appeared in @natgeo. This evening realizing my excitement of tiny whirling insects that had nothing to do with the story, foreshadowing a moment that would arrive...their light and the trees separated by days were so similar, understanding why we were there. That's Vachagan on the right with a walking stick, leaning upon an apricot tree, talking to the men eating. Unfortunately, he passed a few years ago. After those moments in Bagaran, and sometimes now, often giggling on two-rhymed words, about writing a children's book. Tonight becoming clearer…dancing insects living in a mystical forest of apricot trees, a kind one who can enter both worlds. In foreverness existing in two magical universes. Illustrated in beautiful greens, blues, yellows called...Vachagan, of Bagaran.
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 #armenia  #bagaran  #insects  #flyinginsects  #sunset  #cross  #remembering from the @natgeo story  #ghostlands @viiphoto  #fromthearchives

I imagine everywhere are gentle little premonitions. All around, intended to be. I met a man named Vachagan in the village of Bagaran on Armenia's border to Turkey. There was no reason or purpose to visit Bagaran. I was curious about small towns along the west of the country, and only the intent of driving in that direction, somehow we appeared there. Soon after meeting, Vachagan took us through a forest of the beautiful ubiquitousness of Armenia…apricot trees. Small insects were at a party above a fallen limb, saying to pay attention. I can't remember how long I spent with these sweet tiny ones, falling into the endless pleasant distraction of hidden reasons, grateful for Vachagan's patience. Much later, I came upon what Vachagan was so excited to show us; A cross had been built under tall apricot trees at a small clearing overlooking the border, but no one was there. A few days later, we learned people might be coming to share a meal by this cross and decided to return, and so became the photograph that appeared in @natgeo. This evening realizing my excitement of tiny whirling insects that had nothing to do with the story, foreshadowing a moment that would arrive...their light and the trees separated by days were so similar, understanding why we were there. That's Vachagan on the right with a walking stick, leaning upon an apricot tree, talking to the men eating. Unfortunately, he passed a few years ago. After those moments in Bagaran, and sometimes now, often giggling on two-rhymed words, about writing a children's book. Tonight becoming clearer…dancing insects living in a mystical forest of apricot trees, a kind one who can enter both worlds. In foreverness existing in two magical universes. Illustrated in beautiful greens, blues, yellows called...Vachagan, of Bagaran. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #armenia #Bagaran #insects #flyinginsects #sunset #cross #remembering from the @natgeo story #ghostlands @viiphoto #fromthearchives

2 523
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19 days ago
During yesterday's Spirituality of Seeing gathering, and so thankful some of you joined me for this VII Insider online series, a question was asked about overcoming the (often) torture to see more than simplicity before us. To go beyond the obvious. A need for a greater purpose in why we are there. The response, I hope, was helpful…to let go of ourselves and become lost in the periphery. This happens all the time. Everywhere. And it often did while in Armenia. I was at such a lovely home in Gyumri to photograph a 104-year-old survivor of the Genocide. Able to remember everything of his childhood, Varazdat Manukyan was bedridden because of his age. Not sure how to approach this importance of his legacy, the painful history, while standing in the home's hallway as he lay on a bed, briefly resting in a repurposed room where he reads books on Armenian history, was a most beautiful unfinished space behind me. On the wall was a photograph of his father, Arshak. I spent much of the time filming and photographing through curtain laces that hung behind two glass doors, far longer than I should admit. One door was opened, the other closed. It was in this state of delusion, lost in a room that had nothing to do with why I was there, is what hopefully I shared adequately yesterday. The need, literally in this home of oozing beauty, to turn around, becoming unconditionally lost. Only then can we find the meaning of why we are there, removing ourselves to un-muddle our overthinking so we can see. Ooh, I was kindly reminded by someone much wiser, a deep-soul who knows more than can be imagined. It was not ants we became lost in during another distraction moment that opened deeper understanding. It was caterpillars... 
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 #armenia  #gyumri  #room  #photograph  #curtain  #caterpillars from the @natgeo story  #ghostlands @viiphoto  #fromthearchives

During yesterday's Spirituality of Seeing gathering, and so thankful some of you joined me for this VII Insider online series, a question was asked about overcoming the (often) torture to see more than simplicity before us. To go beyond the obvious. A need for a greater purpose in why we are there. The response, I hope, was helpful…to let go of ourselves and become lost in the periphery. This happens all the time. Everywhere. And it often did while in Armenia. I was at such a lovely home in Gyumri to photograph a 104-year-old survivor of the Genocide. Able to remember everything of his childhood, Varazdat Manukyan was bedridden because of his age. Not sure how to approach this importance of his legacy, the painful history, while standing in the home's hallway as he lay on a bed, briefly resting in a repurposed room where he reads books on Armenian history, was a most beautiful unfinished space behind me. On the wall was a photograph of his father, Arshak. I spent much of the time filming and photographing through curtain laces that hung behind two glass doors, far longer than I should admit. One door was opened, the other closed. It was in this state of delusion, lost in a room that had nothing to do with why I was there, is what hopefully I shared adequately yesterday. The need, literally in this home of oozing beauty, to turn around, becoming unconditionally lost. Only then can we find the meaning of why we are there, removing ourselves to un-muddle our overthinking so we can see. Ooh, I was kindly reminded by someone much wiser, a deep-soul who knows more than can be imagined. It was not ants we became lost in during another distraction moment that opened deeper understanding. It was caterpillars... ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #armenia #gyumri #room #photograph #curtain #caterpillars from the @natgeo story #ghostlands @viiphoto #fromthearchives

2 279
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23 days ago
During these moments waiting for a passport renewal, the international travel universe slowly reopening to continue an assignment begun for @natgeo before Covid's arrival. Over the coming weeks proceeding towards what I usually do, tonight begins a story about a land that enlightened me…Armenia. The rewriting of self happened almost when I landed in Yerevan, a place I'd never been before. A few days later, I came upon this most resourceful innocent fence of beauty. Created from old window frames, its bright blue paint gently pealing, held together upright with wires beside this home and three leafless early-spring trees. The calling of birds I never heard before sang in branches overhead. A nearby rooster making itself known he existed. At this simple place on the periphery of Gyumri, remembering how that day in April forever changed me.
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 #armenia  #gyumri  #fence  #blue  #sounds  #birds  #rooster from the @natgeo story  #ghostlands @viiphoto  #fromthearchives  #fieldrecording

During these moments waiting for a passport renewal, the international travel universe slowly reopening to continue an assignment begun for @natgeo before Covid's arrival. Over the coming weeks proceeding towards what I usually do, tonight begins a story about a land that enlightened me…Armenia. The rewriting of self happened almost when I landed in Yerevan, a place I'd never been before. A few days later, I came upon this most resourceful innocent fence of beauty. Created from old window frames, its bright blue paint gently pealing, held together upright with wires beside this home and three leafless early-spring trees. The calling of birds I never heard before sang in branches overhead. A nearby rooster making itself known he existed. At this simple place on the periphery of Gyumri, remembering how that day in April forever changed me. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #armenia #gyumri #fence #blue #sounds #birds #rooster from the @natgeo story #ghostlands @viiphoto #fromthearchives #fieldrecording

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25 days ago
A moment for pleasurable silliness after those long eleven days of sadness for everyone…I met Haloom Abu Mussalam selling watermelons on the side of the road just outside Nablus. If selling tasty fresh fruits and being incredibly kind wasn't special enough, Haloom had a talent I'd never seen before, the ability to balance three watermelons on his head and walk! When returning to Nablus a few days later, I stopped by a fruit seller in the market. Just standing, I couldn't balance two.
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(Photograph by Garo Nalbandian, of someone with no watermelon talents)
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 #MiddleEast  #palestine  #nablus  #watermelons from the @natgeo story  #BlessedCursedClaimed @viiphoto  #fromthearchives

A moment for pleasurable silliness after those long eleven days of sadness for everyone…I met Haloom Abu Mussalam selling watermelons on the side of the road just outside Nablus. If selling tasty fresh fruits and being incredibly kind wasn't special enough, Haloom had a talent I'd never seen before, the ability to balance three watermelons on his head and walk! When returning to Nablus a few days later, I stopped by a fruit seller in the market. Just standing, I couldn't balance two. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ (Photograph by Garo Nalbandian, of someone with no watermelon talents) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #middleeast #palestine #nablus #watermelons from the @natgeo story #blessedcursedclaimed @viiphoto #fromthearchives

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27 days ago
Because of memory, in war, no one wins. We carry memory from ancestor to ancestor and ancestors before. Today on the radio, I heard the pain of memory being written today…if you are a Palestinian child, just 13 years of age, you already carry a memory of four separate rocket attacks. If the ceasefire is sustaining on both sides, will anyone remember the faces of all who suffered? The suffering from past and lingering conflicts elsewhere? We carry memory in our minds. Even worse is the memory being written in our DNA…we encode what we live through, passing it from generation upon generation to come. The only species on our planet to have consciousness and conscience, with the power to choose…do we want to continue creating such a legacy of memory, where all of us, because of memory, lose?
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 #portraits  #MiddleEast  #akko akka  #acres  #nablus from the @natgeo story  #BlessedCursedClaimed @viiphoto  #fromthearchives

Because of memory, in war, no one wins. We carry memory from ancestor to ancestor and ancestors before. Today on the radio, I heard the pain of memory being written today…if you are a Palestinian child, just 13 years of age, you already carry a memory of four separate rocket attacks. If the ceasefire is sustaining on both sides, will anyone remember the faces of all who suffered? The suffering from past and lingering conflicts elsewhere? We carry memory in our minds. Even worse is the memory being written in our DNA…we encode what we live through, passing it from generation upon generation to come. The only species on our planet to have consciousness and conscience, with the power to choose…do we want to continue creating such a legacy of memory, where all of us, because of memory, lose? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #portraits #middleeast #akko akka #acres #nablus from the @natgeo story #blessedcursedclaimed @viiphoto #fromthearchives

2 516
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29 days ago
When hearing this song today by Jackson Browne, a story about revisiting the home of our youth, I thought of these two photographs. Just people passing by, so similar. The destruction these nine days, the previous too many. Home, a metaphor for our lives, crumbled. The embattled illusions we hold unflinchingly. Not simply the loss and destruction. Going deeper, looking into ourselves.
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-
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And I looked into the faces all passing by
It's an ocean that will never be filled
And the house that grows older and finally crumbles
That even love cannot rebuild…
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Well I looked into dream of the millions
That one day the search will be through
Now here I stand at the edge of
My embattled illusions
Looking into you
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Looking Into You ~ Jackson Browne
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 #MiddleEast  #jerusalem  #nablus  #people  #walking from the @natgeo story  #BlessedCursedClaimed @viiphoto  #fromthearchives

When hearing this song today by Jackson Browne, a story about revisiting the home of our youth, I thought of these two photographs. Just people passing by, so similar. The destruction these nine days, the previous too many. Home, a metaphor for our lives, crumbled. The embattled illusions we hold unflinchingly. Not simply the loss and destruction. Going deeper, looking into ourselves. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ - ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ And I looked into the faces all passing by It's an ocean that will never be filled And the house that grows older and finally crumbles That even love cannot rebuild… ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Well I looked into dream of the millions That one day the search will be through Now here I stand at the edge of My embattled illusions Looking into you
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Looking Into You ~ Jackson Browne ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #middleeast #jerusalem #nablus #people #walking from the @natgeo story #blessedcursedclaimed @viiphoto #fromthearchives

2 521
28
a month ago
Akko and Nablus. Today the U.N. Security Council finally meets to discuss the madness occurring for the seventh day.
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 #MiddleEast  #akko akka  #acres  #nablus  #horses  #sheep from the @natgeo story  #BlessedCursedClaimed @viiphoto  #fromthearchives

Akko and Nablus. Today the U.N. Security Council finally meets to discuss the madness occurring for the seventh day. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #middleeast #akko akka #acres #nablus #horses #sheep from the @natgeo story #blessedcursedclaimed @viiphoto #fromthearchives

3 666
38
a month ago
It is impossible to publish anything without causing heartache and anger in a conflict that is causing so much misery for everyone involved. In vulnerability of my belief to find common ground. Dialogue, not weapons of our inhumanity, tonight a moment from atop 2000-year-old Roman ruins in the village of Sabastia overlooking Samaria in the West Bank. One of the countless legacies in this beautifully conflicted region, the endless shifting of ruling powers and history across the most contested land on earth. This evening, as always, thinking of everyone I know on both sides of this suffering...
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 #MiddleEast  #sabastia   #samaria  #palestine from the @natgeo story  #BlessedCursedClaimed @viiphoto  #fromthearchives

It is impossible to publish anything without causing heartache and anger in a conflict that is causing so much misery for everyone involved. In vulnerability of my belief to find common ground. Dialogue, not weapons of our inhumanity, tonight a moment from atop 2000-year-old Roman ruins in the village of Sabastia overlooking Samaria in the West Bank. One of the countless legacies in this beautifully conflicted region, the endless shifting of ruling powers and history across the most contested land on earth. This evening, as always, thinking of everyone I know on both sides of this suffering... ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #middleeast #sabastia #samaria #palestine from the @natgeo story #blessedcursedclaimed @viiphoto #fromthearchives

3 317
60
a month ago