An overdue reply to a letter, lingering 150+ days on, prompted by another Hi moment.

June 6th, 2016, 9pm

Dear Daniel,

Your last email has been sitting in my inbox for 150 days. The preciousness of our friendship makes me wait —- holding off on a reply until I have something real to say until there are substance and tangibles. It sits quietly, never judging, guilt free. It’s not an act of neglect but rather waiting for the muse to kick in and say, today, this moment, right now, Daniel’s been waiting. This is when we hit reply and say something that matters. A story worthwhile. News.

You click publish on In seconds, your voice is in my inbox. Oh, Daniel!

How quickly we forget. Part of human survival depends on upon our ability to forget. If we remembered and held on to every act of horror, hate and hurt, national, local or personal, we would never leave the house, never move on, never hope or dream. The Darwinist human trying to live a life understands; the concerned citizen in me refuses to accept our collective short term memory.

Istanbul has been serving as my second home. Fatih and the blast site is a 20 min walk from my flat in Balat. I was there for the bombing on Istiklal in March. All it takes is 6 weeks home in NYC and I am as far removed from that minaret soaked reality steeped in prayers and geopolitics as if I’ve never been there —- even if I am scheduled to return in a week.

Who decides what is worthy of a BBC - CNN - NYT breaking headline? Only the BBC sent out a breaking news announcement at 3:46AM EST. A small banner I could have easily overlooked at 6AM. Automatically, I sent out a round of inquiry to friends in Istanbul. How are you? Are you okay? These urgent messages are losing their potency. We’ve asked these questions all too often now. The terror is losing impact but has the fear and anxiety decreased as well? Have we come to accept this new world order so easily?

I can’t dwell on the bomb, the casualty nor the proximity to my home. I’m trying to move the needle and do good in other ways. A Climate Change NGO, building a new MVP for a platform that could bring substantial change to democracy and campaign finance, a digital publication in a space that stands to be more significant than Health Care. Everyone needs a consult; they all want to know how to reach, how to speak, how to be more effective, make an impact and a dollar. I’m trying —- but it doesn’t feel like its enough.

This is not apathy nor excuses —- but why does it feel like such?

You reached for your camera and headed out into the streets. You automatically donned the skin of a photographer. Once we become are we ever not? A camera in our face is no longer what bring us our daily bread —- but that impulse hasn’t gone away. That day on Istiklal, I wanted to run home for my camera and become one in the crowd. “Making pictures because we are here. For history, for memory.” Is there an argument that the act of reaching for our cameras, composing, finger to shutter, we are inherently optimistic? There would be no need to document, for history or for memory if we didn’t believe there will be a tomorrow.

You say you’ve not made images like this for YEARS. Yeah. I know. Neither have I. But maybe we’ve never stopped witnessing, frame & reframe, compose, highlight & contrast, and squeezing that shutter decidedly. Maybe the siren song that brought us to those silver emulsion soaked dreams of our youth never really went away.

608 words later, I don’t know if this ramble is worth the 150 days of wait. What I know is you are right, this is coming to our doors. What I know is I will miss (thank you Craig) and this place for us to share these moments that don’t belong anywhere else. What I know is I will see you one day soon and we will keep on moving that needle, with a camera or without.

Much love,


Mike, Daniel, Philippe, So-Shan and 9 others said thanks.

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Charlie Grosso

Photographer - Writer. Adventure Traveller. Brand Consultant. Art Gallery Director. Possible Spy. Always on the road, living under an alias. Seeking co-conspirators.

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