Central Valley Portraits is an intimate photographic experiment currently in development. It will comprise a series of still images paired with poetic ruminations that reflect on facets of everyday life in the open fields and changing urban landscapes of Merced, California. It will open as an exhibition at the Multicultural Arts Center in Merced, CA August 4, 2021.

Yehuda Sharim explores place, community, and family. Sharim’s camera traces migratory paths of birds traveling in mass at sunrise and sunset, stumbles across abject detritus that marks a life once lived and now forgotten, and peers into quiet moments shared by strangers who become neighbors. ©2021 Sharim Studio, All Rights Reserved

The Valley of Bare Wings

I keep returning to the birds/ It may be my way of staying in flight/ Reminding myself of days without masks/ Reminding myself of my own (migratory) wings/ Matters feel incomplete right now/I am with the birds of the Valley/ The Valley of Open Eyes/ The Valley of Bare Wings/ The Valley Exhausted Life and Unexhausted Souls/ The Central Valley/ I am with the birds
The Valley of Mothers

On her 70th birthday I went to the birds/
The next day, she said no time for special occasions, she will go to work/
My mother is used to celebrating her birthday at work/
I followed the movement/
In the distance I heard gun shots –only here they call killing “recreation”/
She said she feels emotional/
The Valley of Numbness

My father’s fingers are numb/He cannot feel them or what he touches anymore/
The doctor says it is a result of hard work in the fields over so many years/ He prescribed him medication and sleeping pills and frustration pills and exploitation salty sweat pills and more pills for a numbed world – can you feel it?
The Valley of Empty Carts

I wake up to days of maybe/
The only map I follow is the map of empty carts/
With every morning sun/
People are moving, homeless, through the Valley/
Desiring sanctuary/
And, so, I always wonder:
Is blindness the only way of living here?
The Valley of Vacant Rooms

A small plant/Empty-Streets/
Wi-Fi Internet Access/
The Valley of Everything

We are talking about death/
And your friend says: they are trying to kill us/
They are waiting for us to die/ so they can write a report about us/
You try to correct/ him: they are not waiting/death is here, everything but blossom