The Life Within the Wrapping Paper

People are fascinating— there is a certain mystic beauty in trying to piece together someone’s life, a story entirely their own, simply by catching a few seconds’ worth of them, or perhaps by sneaking in a photograph that you can then look back at. It’s a guessing game, one entirely based on judgement, one that can be extremely accurate based on the opinions of the person making the judgements. However, it makes no story any less unique or worthy of being presented.

I admit that I’m guilty of having taken a few thousand pictures these past few weeks, many of which are of myself and family, but when walking down the street my lens feels magnetized to the energy of the people around me. The individuality of life is so alluring, and I want to capture it if, and when, I can.

I have two days left before I not-so-happily have to come home. However, I still want to share some of the pictures of those around me that I’ve already taken, some after I’ve shamelessly asked for their photograph, and others that have caught my eye from a distance. It’s not quite like “Humans Of,” as I don’t have their stories to share with their images, simply where I was when the photo was taken.

You’ll also note that I included some shots of animals that I found as I wandered. They are nearly all strays and survive off of the goodwill of the people around them.

What I’ve learned from taking these pictures, and looking at them again, is that life is truly a gift. It may come in different wrapping paper to different people— some in paper, others perhaps in a Cartier bag. Yet we are all blessed with the fact that we are alive, and in this life, have the opportunity to influence other people’s lives. It’s never too late to be humbled, to help others, and to be the best people we can be; and we can never be reminded of this too often.

These span from Plovdiv, Sofia, Athens, Santorini, and Istanbul. Use your imaginations…

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Plovdiv, Bulgaria/A girl and her pretzel sticks

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Plovidv, Bulgaria/A boy with the puppet master

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Plovdiv, Bulgaria/Two boys playing in the fountains

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Plovdiv, Bulgaria/The turtle that lives in our house in the village

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Plovdiv, Bulgaria/A little girl dancing at an outdoor concert

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Plovdiv, Bulgaria/A cat dozing outside of a shop

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The Old Houses, Bulgaria/A lizard…being a lizard?

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Sofia, Bulgaria/Posing for the camera 😉

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Athens, Greece/On the tram en route to the beach

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Santorini, Greece/A Chinese bride and groom on their wedding day

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Santorini, Greece/A stray dog sleeping in the streets

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Istanbul, Turkey/Two boys running a corn stand

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Istanbul, Turkey/A woman feeding a flock pigeons (all of which are not pictured)

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Istanbul, Turkey/A waiter since the age of 9.

For this last photograph, I do have a story. This is Batuhan. He is 14 and about to start his first year of high school, a memory I’m sure many of us look back on with a mix of anxiety and excitement. The reason he is dressed in a waiter’s uniform? He has worked at a fish restaurant since the age of 9 and takes care of his younger siblings. The other waiter at the restaurant, the same age as Batuhan, is the 11th of 16 children.

I hope you enjoyed this photographs, and have managed to craft your own stories to accompany each one.

Humbly,

Aliana

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