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Sunday, January 13, 2013

They Didn't Make the Cut...

“He who never made a mistake never made a discovery. ” 
I love this quote quite frankly; it says it all. I hope this past weekend, I didn't make a mistake with my forthcoming book.

In the weeks after two wildly lucky winners in Missouri and Arizona divvied up the $600 million Powerball jackpot, I found myself enviously pondering, as I tore up two my December Starbucks allowance, what I would do if I woke up one day with an extra $300 million in the piggy bank. While I was doing that I received this email:

From: maggie, the book editor assistant []
Sent: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 1:17 PM
To: 'Michael Lloyd'
Subject: RE: Lloyd Book Changes #41

Happy New Year! Just hung up with Amazon and we are awaiting Landscapes to go to press. I know we’ve asked for an interminable amount of changes, but we need to shorten the six weeks we gave you to bring it all to final AND we need the new layout by Jan. 25th. Get back to me when you can and, uhm, no pressure,

Well, happy new years to you too, Maggie! When you get an email like that, what’s a Media Guy to do? I mean, I was still planning what to do with my first hundred mil... I’m fairly certain that ]I would not have poured it Lakers season tickets or JCPenney stock — my first order of business might have been finding a Westwood apartment with a few bedrooms, and maybe donating ten million or so to charity. But now I just had to get to work. I sequestered myself away from humanity and whacked my 250-page Landscapes of Life tome down to under a hundred pages. Really taking a book like this from 160 photos down to 90 was akin to choosing which of your children you love the most.

The new book cover designed by Anna Aladadyan.
I guess it could have been worse. Take a look at who didn’t make the cut elsewhere:
Anyway, I bring this up to honor five of my favorite photos that didn't make the cut for the book. Without further ado…

5. RAZI. When you see images from the Middle East and similar places in Afghanistan and India, women are often depicted as rights deficient thirsty from the parched climate of domineering men whom seek to enslave their every whim: No shoes. Six to 10 children in tow, once always attached to the hip. Each woman with the same "help me" look sewn into her face. Razi, shown here, explores the beauty that multiplies from within. The picture seems to show her emerging from a cocoon ready to embrace the world and have it embrace her back. Her expression emotes innocent confidence and traces of power that we hope will be realized along with her dreams.

4, ABANDONED. Living in the bigger cities typically doesn't give you the access to large areas that lack the residue of human activity. While traveling in Salalah, such a place exists near what would be the equivalent of prime beach real estate in Malibu. These hand-built row of ancient tract homes still stood tall, yet uninhabited as if they were resistant to the atomic bomb that surely must have detonated here. The area begged for answers. Who lived here? How did they live? What would make an entire town move en force?

3. THE LONG MARCH. On my way to Wadi Rum, the desert run where Lawrence of Arabia led the Arab Revolt, I spotted these two Bedouin trekking forward. I love the way they are walking while a truckload of people move past them; two generations of transportation dueling in opposite directions. The questions loom: How long was their trek? Where were they going? How hot were they in their black abayas on a hot desert afternoon?

2. NORIAS OF HAMA. The water wheels of Syria, aka Norias, have been delivering water to Hama for centuries. They also deliver a soul crushing sound that haunts the ears in a way that no other architecture ever has. Take a listen here.

1. THE MAN OF PALMS. By far my favorite picture that, alas, didn't make the cut. The Yemani man in his traditional dress sat in this single spot for hours. He was there when I left to visit an abandoned fort. He was there when I came back for lunch. He was there when I ventured out the next morning. Same position. Same happy-go-lucky look on his leather face. He never seemed to move and was more part of the botanical surroundings than the palms he sat among.

With that bittersweet countdown behind me, I now hand of my book to the acclaimed Los Angeles designer An Na who will turn the images and descriptions that did make the cut into a work of art.