A Poem for a Way of Life (Or A New Year) .. …

Brighton Beach Lovers
Brighton Beach Lovers © Stewart Weir 2002

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love – for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment is it perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you from misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life

Karoshi

Karoshi is the name given to death caused by to much work. There is a national Japanese karoshi hotline, a karoshi self-help book and a law that funnels money to the widow and children of a salaryman who works himself into an early karoshi for the good of his company.

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For decades, the Japanese government has been trying, and largely failing, to set limits on work and on overtime. The problem of karoshi became prevalent enough to warrant its own word in the boom years of the late 1970s, as the number of Japanese men working more than 60 hours a week soared. Thirty years later, overtime rules remain so nebulous and so weakly enforced that the United Nations’ International Labor Organization has described Japan as a country with no legal limits on the practice. The consequences show up not only in claims for death and disability from overwork but in suicides attributed to “fatigue from work.”

Ueno Park, Tokyo

Ueno Park, Tokyo. The Sleeping City. ©Stewart Weir 2002

I never saw the cat. I don’t know why but it wasn’t until I saw the negative that the cat made his presence known and made this image one of my favorites.

I find it very difficult to edit my own work but easy to edit others. I’m far to emotionally attached to my work and so battle daily with making a decision. Editing is part of the photographers daily routine whether its looking at contact sheets, a computer screen or in your head. Sometimes I’ve feel almost OCD about it, churning away like a hamster on a wheel.

Some images just jump straight out and grab you like a lunatic and they become burnt into your memory and never forgotten. When this happens you have an image that will stand the test of time. When I saw the cat thats exactly what happened.