Travel Circles / by Bill Frakes

My life runs in circles. Books lead to planes. And then to cameras. Then back to books and found images.

Long flights the past three days. Jacksonville to San Francisco. Then San Francisco to Salt Lake City to Paris. Then Paris to Beirut. The last absorbed in Lynsey Addario's fine new work, It's What I Do.

I rolled off the plane at Charles DeGaulle Airport and was greeted with massive photographic prints by Henri Cartier-Bresson.


One of the first books I studied as a young artist was HCB's Decisive Moment, a seminal work in the annals of photojournalism. It was just reissued after decades of being virtually impossible to find -- I bought two instantly when I found out.


For many Paris is the city of love, and I certainly understand that. The art, fashion, food and history are magnificent as well. For me, it's a place to make images, to appreciate photography, and a place of writers and journalists.

I was in and out of Paris quickly, not enough coffee, not nearly enough food, no love and only a few photos. Such is life on the road sometimes. The good news is that I will return, hopefully sooner than later.

Up and out to Lebanon, another of my homes.


In Beirut, I was greeted by Joelle, Michel, Queen, and Aimine Khoury. The Khourys are family to me and with them every day is an exercise in grace.

I am well travelled to be sure but this past 12 months I've felt an extra connection to my boyhood home of Nebraska. Driving in from the airport at night Michel told me that I would have an excellent view of the city from my room, unless the windows were too dirty.

He continued that it had been raining and the day before and a dust storm had blown in from Eygypt. To a rural Midwestern kid, even though I've visited 138 countries or so, that still sounded very, ummm, out of the ordinary.


Beirut is an incredible place, to make images


Taking back to the skies shortly headed home to cover 500 miles of cars turning left at the Daytona 500.

Circle continues unbroken.