All photographs: Alex Autin
This series of photographs featuring ships and boats were taken in and around Dili, Timor Leste.
‘If you boat a lot, you’re known as a ‘boating enthusiast’. I like to boat, but I just don’t want to ever be referred to as a ‘boating enthusiast’. I hope they call me ‘a guy who likes to boat.’ ~Mitch Hedberg
I LOVE…Cycling! I feel the same as Mitch, but in reference to cycling…not boating. I don’t, in any way, consider myself a cyclist…but I do like to ‘cycle’, if that’s the correct term. If I WERE a cyclist I would probably have some really cool cycling clothes, cool cycling gear…oh, yeah….I would probably have a bike as well.
I had bikes when I lived in Australia and Timor, but since I’ve been back in the States…no bike. In those places riding a bike seemed natural. It was also fun and a great way to get around. Here, though San Antonio claims to be ‘bike friendly’ and in many ways I suppose it is, I’m just not seeing a bike as a practical means of getting around. I’ve friends who tell me there are some great mountain bike trails nearby, and I completely believe them, I just haven’t made the investment necessary to enjoy them.
The 3 things I enjoy most about cycling are:
1 – It greatly reduces the travel time of getting from point A to point B as opposed to walking.
2 – The way my thighs look when I’m cycling a lot. (Any activity which causes me to look at certain parts of my body and think… ‘Wow, that looks kinda hot! Are those MINE?!’ …is a good activity!)
3 – You get to name your bike!
Naming a bike is much more fun than naming a boat, though I’ve seen some very clever boat names. The bike I had in Australia was named ‘Silver’….but she was actually red. Silver was fearless and a trusted companion! She and I had many really cool adventures together. I bought her from a German woman for 75$AU….which was a steal! Silver’s accessories alone were worth much more than that. The woman was leaving Australia and wanted to make sure Silver went to a good home. Her boyfriend was definitely a CYCLIST, when I went to pick up Silver he spent over an hour with me going over her proper maintenance. At that point I knew I was getting a good bike. I, in turn, when I left Australia also sold Silver for 75$ and made sure she went to someone who would appreciate and take care of her.
In Timor I was fortunate enough to have the use of one of my friend Q’s bikes. This bike was named ‘Fury!’. (The exclamation mark is mine.) Fury! is probably the best bike I’ve ever ridden. I shit you not….Fury! was awesome. One of the coolest things about riding in Timor, I mean other than not getting hit and arriving home alive, was getting the bike serviced. In Timor the trails and roads are rough, and we rode often and hard ….so riding down to Loja Ma Li-Lait bike shop for servicing (or getting more tire patches!) was something I did about twice a week, and it was always an experience!
Another really cool thing about cycling in Timor is the Tour de Timor. Tour de Timor is a 5 day, 450 km, international Mountain Bike race which attracts over 300 cyclists from around the world. The race covers 9 of the country’s 13 districts and is one of the biggest events in Timor. Before you can ask….no, I did not participate! Are you on crack? I’m not fond of the expression…’life is too short’, because it’s usually followed by something very cliché. However, in my opinion….life IS too short to ride a bike uphill. I mean, for fuck’s sakes! Surely there is a better way to get up that hill. I’ve a couple of friends who are participants though, and who are part of Team Timor. These guys truly ARE cyclists, as opposed to my pseudo-cycling. I was lucky enough to ride with them every now and then when I’d run into them here and there around Dili.
These photographs were taken on a day out to the market in Dili, Timor Leste. It was my first time in this particular market. It was also a market which is not regularly shopped by malaes (foreigners). These are usually the kind of places I LOVE! Maybe the reason foreigners don’t frequent this market is because reaching it requires crossing four lanes of heavy traffic on Comoro Road, waking through puddles of who knows what, and fighting off the occasion rooster or pig…..but as they say…..getting there is half the fun!
I LOVE…Life In A Day! I should explain something about myself. I am very much ‘out of the loop’ when it comes to pop culture. It can take me forever to catch on to some things. Sometimes when I discover something I think is cool and new, I quickly find out that it’s not actually new and seemingly everyone else on the face of the planet already knows about it. This is true of Life In A Day. I found it a couple of nights ago while browsing around Netflix looking for something interesting and inspiring to watch. If there’s anything positive about being outside the pop culture circle, it’s that when I do finally stumble upon something I can then experience it without the hype/propaganda associated with it. It’s for this same reason I rarely will read a review before watching a film, reading a book, or listening to music.
So, I watched Life in a Day only knowing the brief description given by Netflix…. ‘After thousands of people around the world joined together to record banal and remarkable everyday events on July 24, 2010, director Kevin MacDonald led a team of editors to condense more than 4,500 hours of video into this picture of life on Earth.’.
Cool enough. While I was expecting something inspiring, and I did find inspiration, I also found a lot I was not expecting. Initially I was very impressed with some of the amazingly beautiful footage shot by the amateur photographers. I was also impressed with how frank and open some of the participants were. I thought the editing done by MacDonald and his team to be brilliant given over 4,000 hours of video to work with. I was also extremely fascinated by the 3 questions asked of the participants; What’s in your pocket? What do you love? What do you fear? In my opinion, the answers to these questions proved to be the most compelling aspect of the film.
While I enjoyed watching the film in it’s entirety, and as I mentioned I did find inspiration, there were also moments which I found incredibly sad and incredibly touching. Other moments were, to be honest, incredibly boring. And there were some moments I could have lived my entire life without seeing. I think this all adds to the authenticity of the film as, in reality, a typical day can contain all of the above.
After watching the film I began to think about what I was doing on July 24, 2010. How was my day spent? What would I have contributed to this documentary? I went to my journal and found my entry for that day. I was in Dili, East Timor, it was only my 4th day there. It was a place I came to quite in-expectantly. I also went though my photographs and found I had taken 4 pictures on that day. In an effort to somewhat take part in this project, I’ll post the pictures taken that day. If you remember what you were doing that day, or where you were, I would really love to know!