Fate – Судьба

“Это твоя судьба.” It is your fate.

This sentence was said to me by the father of the groom whose wedding I was shooting when my camera broke. One week into my stay in Russia and my camera broke. It was an upsetting event all around. I had travelled all this way to photograph life in Kazan and I had no camera. What does a photographer do without a camera? How would I get it fixed in the middle of Russia? How do I tell this family how sorry I am that they won’t have any photos of the wedding party? The family took it quite well and was more concerned about my unhappiness than the prospect of an incomplete photo album. It is my fate. These words were actually quite comforting in the moment. Religious or not, fate is a belief held by many Russians I have met. I, unfortunately, do not have such a strong belief. For me, profound worry and stress would follow but in that moment nothing could have comforted me more. If I am to be cynical, I could think that a belief in fate is a way to accept injustices and mediocrity in life. I could see it a way to be complacent. But the beauty of believing in fate is that it actually frees you from worry. It frees you from feeling that you have to figure everything out on your own. I truly want to believe that everything happens for a reason and perhaps Russia is the perfect place to start doing just that.

P.S. Apparently what happened to my camera, the mirror fell out, is a known issue in the Canon 5D (the old one). So my camera is being fixed for free. And I now have a rental.


  1. Amalia Rehman says

    Well, I am sure you realize that this comment was irresistible to me.I have to comment. Love the idea of the belief in fate freeing one from worry. Personally, it hasn’t worked for me. I have a strong belief that life is already planned out to the smallest detail, I am sure God knows what I am going to do. But what is fated for me still scares me to death. Simply, because I have no idea what it is going to be. If anything, it sometimes irritates me that I have to live through all of it. Since it is already destined, what’s the point. Just get me passed all the hard stuff and directly to heaven (hopefully). But I guess that wouldn’t be fair. How many of us would accept not going to heaven if we did not live through every minute of it ourselves. If anything, we know God is just.I was attending an Islamic lecture where a man asked the scholar, ‘… but I can change the future through prayer. Right?” And the scholar remarked, ‘Do you think God doesn’t know how much you are going to pray?’

    So I guess there is free will, because I don’t know what I am going to do and I don’t know all the consequences. Right? : ) (This is the only kind of smiley face thing I know to do.)

    PS. I am so excited about this project! Congratulations! How long do you plan on being there? Love you.

  2. alisonshuman says

    Thanks for your comment Amalia! I am reminded of all the conversations we used to have in Austin. It is by no means easy to accept one’s fate but for me, I do find genuine comfort in it. Not having a camera has forced me into just “being” in Russia and not necessarily “doing.” This is not easy for me. I have moments of acceptance and moments of angst or worse yet, despair. At worst it’s my own fatalistic Russian tragedy but at best it’s my own personal Zen Buddhist koan. So much to learn from it!I thought you might be interested in the project 😉 I hope to be here 6 months or even a year if I can manage.

    Lots of love to you and the Rehman clan!

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