Ricardo Sevilla's Blog

A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” — Dorothea Lange

My Hurricane Irma Experience

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My family was spread out, each doing their thing. Unable to convince them that where I would be at was safe, I went ahead there myself. At work. The Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach.

 

"WHAT!? What were you thinking! It was originally going to hit Miami Beach head on!"

 

Yes, I know. However, the new Art Deco wing of the hotel was designed to withstand such hurricane winds, and we were immune to storm surge since we have multiple floors. Emergency backup generators, food, water... it made sense. 

 

While I do have insurance for my property, I took my most prized possessions with me. Things I know insurance would not be able to replace. 

 

  • My Longbow - Custom crafted by a master bowyer in Estonia.
  • My Archery Hat - Gifted to me by my archery coach.
  • My Archery Bracer - Gifted to me by my archery coach.
  • My Camera - Sentimental value, for it has seen much through its lens.
  • My External Harddrive - Containing all of my photography work over the past 12 years.
  • The shirt I wore when Blu was born
  • Blu's first toy.
  • Photographs of when I was Blu's age.
  • A leather bound journal

 

While I did take many photos Reader, I won't bore you with so many, but enough to give an idea of what my experience was like. 

 

 

When I arrived at Miami Beach, it was a complete ghost town. An eeriness was in the air. Honestly, it did make me feel uncomfortable, but at the same time... a little excited to see what would happen. Selfishly excited for myself, but also worried about my loved ones who were too concerned to join me at the beach.

 

 

Ocean drive was empty. Not a single person was there... and my beloved Betsy all boarded up! One of the gems on Ocean Drive, still shined in all her grandeur despite the loneliness before her.

 

 

Some of the staff photos I took the night before the storm was set to arrive. All of us were in good spirits. Food, water, and wine were always available. Wine... :) :) 

 

I finish my dinner, finish my serving of wine, sit back and tell two of colleagues, "Let's go for a walk shall we? Let's go look outside."

 

"Ok!"

 

They finish their dinner, and we go for a walk.

 


 

We walk down Ocean Drive, laughs in our voices as we talk about the entire ordeal that is to come. Still, we all could not help but notice the desolate streets, and more importantly... the sand dust in the air carried by Irma's fingertips. 

 

 

It almost felt as if there was a thin fog spread throughout Miami Beach. One I am not accustomed to, especially in the presence of silence. 

 

 

I could not help admire the melancholic atmosphere of a beautiful city that's usually always active. It was kind of... romantic in a way I suppose. In a place where devastation and dishevel was anticipated, it's nice to capture human emotion through it all. 

 

 

As Irma passed through S. Florida, The Betsy's owner sat in a corner, working on his laptop, as the winds howled and shook windows. 

 

 

Spirits remained high throughout the entire storm's passing.  

 

  

 

The paparazzi in me was allowed to flourish.  

 

 

In the morning, as the storm receded, I took a photo of what it looked like outside The Besty. I was particularly impressed by the ominous looking waves. 

 

 

A few days later I was able to come back home, and the devastation broke my heart. The landscape in some areas of town was changed. Trees that have been way longer than I have were toppled, many roads were impassable, and some homes suffered damage.  

 

 

My mini herb garden, however, survived the storm. The cilantro and mint did well, but the basil never recovered after not being watered for several days.

The Late Galaxy S7

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I am walking up the stairs towards my apartment entrance. Being the typical Hispanic man that I am, I carried ALL eight grocery bags in one trip upstairs. Why make two trips when I can fit it into one? Well, while walking upstairs my Galaxy S7 decides to escape my back pocket.

 

I hear the sound of the phone hitting the floor, and suddenly, what I saw, appeared as if I was in a slow-motion film. The phone falls, an entire corner of the glass comes off and continues down one step, and another, and another.... In what seemed like an eternity, it bounced off several steps before crashing into the bottom floor and with each bounce, glass flying nearby.

 

I stare down, sigh, take the keys out of my mouth, open my door, and begin unpacking and placing the groceries where they belong. 

 

Once done, I get my car keys, walk downstairs, pick up the now dead phone, and make my way towards the nearest T-Mobile store. I am due for an upgrade I suppose. 

 

"Which iPhone would you like?"

 

"Hmm. I'd like the fastest one with the best camera possible."

 

"iPhone 8 Plus."

 

"I'll take it."

 

 

 

Distractions

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She sits here and whispers things to me. 
My eyes are dilating as the world becomes primal. 
Soft warm and wet kisses on my shoulder, and my conscience burning. 

 

Purple stained lips and fingernails sink into skin,
My eyes remain open as I taste her tongue.
I'm a coward, the wretched things I'm about to do.

 

I'm going to taste her skin
I'm going to hold her back
I'm going to spread her out

 

Under sheets on the bedroom floor,
with silver eyes and a fragmented heart,
I lead her to my empty dream.

 

Morning rays, soft breaths, and a golden necklace.
My clenching jaw, the headache pill, and my brown boots.
Disgrace and Hypocrisy greeting me at the exit door... with crooked smiles.

 

-RS

 

 

Berserk

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Stories come in many forms. It could be a movie, a novel, a comic, a poem, or even a song. This one story, however, actually made an impact on me, especially because when I was exposed to this story, I was filing for divorce... a difficult time for me. This story casts a lens on the nature of people. The world of Berserk is a dark and cruel one and one densely layered with all manner of broken people who are struggling to find their own place within it.

 

The protagonist, Guts, is incredibly sympathetically written. Everything bad that could happen to a person has happened to Guts. An orphan of war, Guts was raised by a ruthless mercenary and suffered physical and emotional abuse. And unfortunately... much much worse. The experience left Guts emotionally damaged, and the only way he knew how to express himself was through battle, and hence he became very good at it. Seeing him trying to overcome his demons and learn to accept people again is rewarding, and makes some of the later occurrences very tragic. While the story of Guts is rich on its own, the world of Beserk has many people on their own paths that blend well with Gut's journey. Even minor characters have the same amount of thought put into who they are as people and their shifting place in the story as things progress. All these aspects make the world feel Beserk alive and dense.

 

A lot of times, many stories out there feel like the world is reforming around the main character's journey. But in Beserk, there is a real sense that the world at large is something that Guts and his companions must push through, not something that will adjust to their whims. It's cold, and it's unforgiving, and it carries on regardless of their actions and at the worst of times can feel incredibly nihilistic. Guts may save the woman he loves from a fire, but all the while the world still burns. This is the kind of writing that I crave and thirst for. Berserk, the most impressive storyline I have ever experienced, and one that I highly recommend.