Straight from the heart

Dec 9, 2015 | 0 comments

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American-born photographer Thomas Ives has worked for international news and feature magazines for over 38 years. His photo essays and images have appeared in National Geographic, Time, Geo, Stern, Newsweek, Life, Smithsonian, and many others publications. He currently lives in Vilcabamba with his Ecuadorian partner. For more about Thomas, click here, or here (en español).


Reflections on hanging out: The grace of free time

A year after I arrived in Ecuador, I realized why some Ecuadorians run a bit late: they stop to visit with friends. Outside tiendas, while walking through parks, they pause to converse, not only sharing ideas but emotions, the feelings that nourish the human spirit.

These two woman having a “heart-to-heart” on a street in Cuenca were so focused in the spirit of sharing their time and attention with each other that they never noticed me documenting their ease.

And that is what they gave to me, a lesson in grace. I’m cut from the cloth of a lifetime of filling moments with activity, deadlines, appointments, time pieces telling me at what point an event will occur relative to mechanical hands sweeping around a device rather than when an event occurs through its own organic manifestation. Like turning a corner to meet a friend or make a new one.

While living in Bali, decades back, this wisdom was offered to me by my Balinese handyman Katut. He said to me, with a soft smile on his face: “Mr. Tom, you have the watch, we have the time.”

Thanks Katut, and thanks charming Cuencanas for the time out of self.

— Thomas H. Ives


Photo taken in Cuenca, 2014.

Copyright © 2014 by Thomas H. Ives / Contact


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