Monday, August 26, 2013


In the summer of 1991 I spent three weeks traveling throughout the country of Jordan, making visual notations of the people and conditions, in a country moving through what was a turbulent and transitional time, shortly following the first Iraq War.
Since the War of 1967, the Jordanian population had grown to over eighty-five percent Palestinian, and after the end of the Iraq War of 1991 there were nearly one million additional Iraqis who had come over the border to the safety and stability of Jordan, crowding especially into some of the neighborhoods of Amman. There seemed to be potential for many stressed and strained communities to break under the physical and emotional pressures of the day, but what seemed most impressive to me, as I walked the warm streets of ancient cities, was the feeling of community, and a concern for the growth of a necessary balance.
I met a Palestinian refugee named Hashem Radwan Hassan while in Amman, who seemed to symbolize much of what I saw during my short visit. He took me out to his small house in the jebel southeast of the city, and walking under loose weavings of grapevines that sprinkled the yellow green light of leaf cut sunbeams, and under the grapes that hung in full rich ripeness, it seemed an appropriate frame to his true wealth and abundance. I met his wife and children and his grandchildren, all healthy and good and in love with him. He showed me his small orchard of a dozen or so trees, which had a variety of grafted branches of different fruit on them. He was especially attached to his trees it seemed, as he talked passionately of them and the process of grafting. He also talked of his life as a Palestinian away from his home in Jerusalem. I remember him talking of his new life there in Jordan, while he ate a fig that he had just picked from an apple tree. It seemed to be a visual equivalent of his life, and an icon of the time.
There are 150 photographs in the Jordan Portfolio, printed to 11"x14" on Portriga Rapid paper, and matted to 16"x 20.