UNDER ONE SUN
Copyright c 1985 by Douglas Spencer
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may reproduce a photograph or quote brief passages in a review.
DBS Publishing Company
P. O. Box 7007 Stn. J
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K2A 3Z6
Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data
Spencer, Douglas Barry, 1946-
Under One Sun
1. Photography -- Portraits
2. Spencer, Douglas Barry, 1946-
TR654.s74.1985 779'2'0924 C84-090233-6
Thanks to Sandra Jeffery, Seymour Trieger, Andrew Oxenham, Bob Fancy, Paul McCarthy, Barbara Hoffman, and Betty Eligh.
Printed by Techno-Colour Company, Montreal
Designed by Saroj Saksanguan
Limited First Edition 1,000 copies
1 Morogoro, Tanzania, 1984
3 Quito, Ecuador, 1977
5 Cairo, Egypt, 1980
7 Lima, Peru, 1977
9 Lima, Peru, 1977
10 Quito, Ecuador, 1977
12 Miura-Kuigan, Japan, 1983
14 Tokyo, Japan, 1983
16 Quito, Ecuador, 1977
March 1977 -- Loja, Ecuador
During a trip to Ecuador, I came across a small village inhabited by a number of very old people.
Daily I witnessed seventy-year-olds courting seventy-year-olds, ninety-year-olds reading without the aid of glasses, and hundred olds ascending and descending mountain slopes.
The senior residents of Vilcabamba simply did not act their age. How they would fare in a society where one reads by seven, marries by thirty and retires by sixty-five is anyone's guess.
10 Bangkok, Thailand, 1983
21 Salzburg, Austria, 1980
21 Cusco, Peru, 1977
25 Tokyo, Japan, 1983
December 1978 -- North Brook, Canada
While visiting the oldest living person in Canada, I was confronted by a man who didn't look one hundred and nine years old:
"Anybody that comes here to see me think they're coming here to see some little old man. All bent up. They think I should have a long grey beard. A rough looking fellow. Wrinkles all over my face.
A lot of them come and say, 'We expected you to be just bent over pretty near to the ground. And you're straight as a rush! We're all disappointed in you!'
What's the use of bending over when you can keep straight? You don't want to come a huntin' for Dave Trumble and look for him that way. He's not here."
28 Omdurman, Sudan, 1980
30 Tokyo, Japan, 1983
32 Chilapa, Mexico, 1983
34 Tokyo, Japan, 1983
35 San Pedro, Ecuador, 1977
37 Delhi, India, 1983
39 Kyoto, Japan, 1983
41 Addis Ababa, Ethopia, 1980
43 Zihuatanejo, Mexico, 1983
44 Miami Beach, U.S.A., 1977
46 Munich, German, 1980
48 Cusco, Peru, 1977
50 Loja, Ecuador, 1977
August 1980 -- Nairobi, Kenya
On a road north of Limuru, an old Kenyan farmer stood next to his cow, unwilling to pose for a photograph.
Through awkward gestures, I motioned to him that no harm would come to him. As a gesture of good faith, I offered him my camera, expressing my willingness to be photographed.
The old farmer enthusiastically snapped pictures about the countryside. He was so taken away with it all, I had a hard time getting my camera back.
Eventually, he returned the camera and gladly posed for a photo.
53 Canton, China, 1983
55 Kowloon, Hong Kong, 1983
57 Canton, China, 1983
July 1980 -- Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
At the airport, sixteen kilometres from Dar es Salaam, local cab drivers cornered in-coming passengers, hoping to transport them to city-centre for 100 shillings apiece.
Most passengers, however insisted on waiting for the less expensive airport bus, despite the claims of the cabbies that it did not exist. Unable to agree, the two sides withdrew to their respective benches.
To pass the time, two new arrivals began throwing a frisbee back and forth. The cabbies, sitting nearby and never having seen a frisbee before, found the new game amusing.
Noting their reaction, one insightful youngster tossed the frisbee towards the group of drivers. One cabbie made a successful grab for it. The culture gap melted.
60 Plaster Rock, Canada, 1978
62 St. Petersburg, U.S.A., 1977
Douglas Spencer, in presenting this rich mosaic of the human family, shows us the unique and universal qualities found in people of diverse cultures.
Looking through the photographs of Under One Sun, we are able to reach beyond superficial stereotypes of race and colour, to associate ourselves with the eternal rhythm of human existence. We can share the experience of these people, their joys, their hopes, their suffering and their despair. The kinship of the human spirit is the flame which binds these photos to our own lives. We sense our global citizenship.
Douglas Spencer's pictorial essay will help us to understand the cultural similarities which exist between all peoples. Canadians, into whose schools and libraries this book will go, will benefit from the opportunity to see others as they see themselves.
Honourable Walter McLean, P.C., M.P.
Secretary of State of Canada
This book, a chronicle of exploration, in unlike most explorer stores. Its focus is not on conquering geography and discovering the exotic, but rather on crossing cultural boundaries and discovering bonds with other human beings.
Each photograph, whether the serenity of an old man in India or the defiance of a streetchild in Colombia, is testimony to the diversity of human existence. Under One Sun is a challenge to look beyond surface differences; to look into people's hearts and minds, and to identify with what they may be feeling or thinking.
Ours is a land rich in cultures and traditions of many people. Our pride in this heritage will determine our strength as a nation and the quality of our social fabric. Young people are the trustees of the future. Through tolerance and understanding and a celebration of differences, they can help build a future in which all peoples have a place in the sun.
2 Bogota, Colombia, 1977
4 Nairobi, Kenya, 1980
6 Omdurman, Sudan, 1980
8 Bujumburu, Burundi, 1980
April 1977 -- Cusco, Peru
On a train from Machu-Picchu -- a well-known archeological site in Peru -- I noticed a young boy in the seat opposite folding and refolding a piece of paper. I motioned to him to let me have a try.
I quickly folded it into a paper airplane and handed it back to him as if my efforts were a demonstration of North American technological superiority.
The boy took the paper airplane, looked at it momentarily, unfolded it, and skillfully reshaped it into a jet airplane with retractable landing-gear...
Sometimes I wonder where we get our ideas about people -- what they can or cannot do.
11 Bogota, Colombia, 1977
13 Panama City, Panama, 1977
15 Cusco, Peru, 1977
17 Nairobi, Kenya, 1980
18 Quito, Ecuador, 1977
20 Chilapa, Mexico, 1983
22 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 1980
24 Paraiso, Costa Rica, 1977
26 Delhi, India, 1983
27 North Brook, Canada, 1976
29 Cairo, Egypt, 1980
31 Delhi, India, 1983
33 Canton, China, 1983
July 1983 -- Tokyo, Japan
While wandering about Tokyo's Yoyogi Park, I came across hundreds of local teenagers with grease-backed hair, dressed in black leather jackets or crinoline skirts, dancing to 50's rock 'n' roll around tape-deck machines.
This cross-cultural phenomenon represented the simple attraction of opposites -- the United States and Japan, in some ways, are interesting commentaries on each other.
36 Vwawa, Tanzania, 1984
38 Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1984
40 Barrio Neuvo, Mexico, 1983
42 Athens, Greece, 1980
December 1983 -- Zihuatanejo, Mexico
Cruising out of Zihuatanejo in a small boat towards the open Pacific, I looked forward to a day of high adventure with local divers.
Wishing to impress them with my manliness, I dove towards a nearby peninsula. In reality, I was hoping to reach shore to soothe my queasy stomach.
Within feet of land, pounding waves picked me up and tossed me against the rocks. I succeeded in clutching one and dragged myself ashore. Fortunately, my ordeal was hidden from their view.
After an hour of fishing, the divers signaled me to return to the boat. Confidently, with settled stomach and unbruised ego, I stepped back into the water, but each time the pounding waves drove me back. The divers had no alternative; they were forced to bring the boat dangerously close to shore.
I jumped into a wave and struggled for the boat. As they hauled me over the side, I made a circular gesture with my hand about my head and repeated "Crazy gringo si? Crazy gringo?" The divers seemed to agree.
45 Tokyo, Japan, 1983
47 Bogota, Colombia, 1977
49 Kowloon, Hong Kong, 1983
51 Wurzburg, Germany, 1980
52 Limuru, Kenya, 1980
54 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 1980
56 El Coacoyul, Mexico, 1983
58 Bogota, Colombia, 1977
59 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 1980
61 Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1983
63 Dali, China, 1983
` 64 Tokyo, Japan, 1983
66 Bangkok, Thailand, 1983
August 1980 -- Bujumburu, Burundi
On the outskirts of Lima, I noticed small groups of boys flying kites made from ordinary scaps of notebook paper folded at the edges. In Delhi, discarded wheel rims occupiued the time of youngsters who pushed them about with the sweeping action of a stick. A small girl in Quito, used the steering wheel of a neighbour's car as a substitute for a rocking horse. In Bujumburu, a small boy fashioned an extraordinary toy truck from a jumble of old rusty coat-hangers.
The initiative shared by the world's poor boggles the mind.
69 Tokyo, Japan, 1983
71 Tokyo, Japan, 1983
73 Bangkok, Thailand, 1983
July 1983 -- Bangkok, Thailand
Being rushed into a public hospital crammed with Thai-speaking strangers, with an intravenous strapped to my arm, did not make it easy for me to make new friends.
Shared activities, however, would soon change all of that. Boredom, constant noise, mosquitoes, needles, diabolical hospital food and fear of dying quickly brought us together.
Despite language differences, I was one of them.
76 San Pedro, Ecuador, 1977
78 Mbeya, Tanzania, 1984
80 Kingston, Canada, 1978
82 Kyoto, Japan, 1983
65 Brussels, Belgium, 1980
67 Delhi, India, 1983
68 Bogota, Colombia, 1977
70 Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1984
72 Ixtapa, Mexico, 1983
74 Delhi, India, 1983
75 Bangkok, Thailand, 1983
77 Quito, Ecuador, 1977
79 Bogota, Colombia, 1977
81 Fiumicino, Italy, 1983
Douglas Spencer is the author of Questions Kids Ask For Those Who Care to Listen (Simon & Pierre Publishing Company), Learning Spaces: A Handshake with the City (Community Planning Association of Canada); Networks (Is Five Foundation); the Career Awareness Kit (All About Us Books); and the Futures Kit (All About Us Books).
He has assessed or designed public information systems, training programs, workshops, and learning materials for a wide vareity of businesses, organizations, institutions, and government agencies including Michelin Tire Company, Tele-Direct Limited, Le Groupe de la Place Royale, Voyageur Tours Incorporated, and the Ontario Teachers' Federation.
At present, Mr. Spencer is working with the World University Service of Canada in Ottawa.