Clean Culture

 

There was music, there was laughter and fun, there was heat and there was a buzz; an energy that you feel when you are one of many who collect for a purpose, with excitement and anticipation.  It was a festival celebrating  culture, but it felt very out of place. It was my culture, but it felt so very socially sanitized – cleaned up in some way.  There was a crowd but the streets were all wrong; paved and structured.  There were king coconuts but they had been cleaned, stamped and sealed.  There was sugar cane but there were no trees.  There was food but in those recycled, biodegradable take-away containers.   Every aspect of it was close, but not quite the same as the original.

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A Lesson

 

So, you have a camera, a can-do attitude and the confidence that when you get out there, at least one of your pictures turns out right.  The only guarantee you have is the time it will take for you to get that one picture.  Hours; to capture an image that at its fastest can take 1/4000th of a second.  Can your mind conceive that?  You may ask what the trade-off is; a picture for a moment that goes by so quickly that blinking doesn’t even compare.  Is it worth it?

I think it is about the journey, not the time.  In all honesty, on this coast, with these views, there was a lot to see.  So much so that I don’t think I could have taken enough to do it justice; I had no specific picture that I wanted to take, I just wanted to take it all.  The funniest thing happened though, while I was trying to capture it all, I felt totally immersed in what I was seeing that I forgot myself.  On a normal day, it is the hardest thing to forget the chatter in your brain.  The thing that tells you that you have fears and you shouldn’t climb onto that rock ledge, holding a bulky camera, with a poor choice of camera bags – that constantly needs adjusting – slung over your shoulder, while taking those unsteady steps on those jagged rocks, in a pair of flip flops, not knowing how you are getting down.  Climbing higher and higher, but realising less and less where I am or where I am going.  Just completely enraptured by the vista of the ocean and the sound of the breaking waves.  This, I think, is the trade-off of photography; time, for those moments where you can cease to be, and comprehend what life is.

Worth it.

 

Unexpected

Plants

It is certainly interesting; walking around a place which you think is barren and sparse and so devoid of anything natural except for the dirt under your feet.  In general, a place that feels disconnected from the natural world.  Teeming with skyscrapers; a synthetic world.  Thinking about it, I suppose they are symbolic, always drawing your attention to the sky and all of the hope and pre-destiny that it holds.  I do not look skyward too often.  So, head down and walking through this place, I feel too separate from that which I long for; the mountains, the trees, water…the inimitable sound, vision and movement of nature that usually captivates my senses, holds me hostage and yet leaves me at total peace.  The sights and sounds that calms my mind and inspires me to capture and keep a piece of it with me, so that I may hold on to the memory of that stillness.  So that I can be transported to each place, one by one, and experience it all over again.  To be separated from that…well it stalls the imagination.  Today was different.  Head still down, I spotted some greenery, albeit weeds, breaking through the beige, along the cracks in the hardened sand.  It was unexpected; to find a little forest amongst the sand, and to find myself in awe of nature all over again. Unexpected, and inspiring.

Freedom

Boat

What are the things that make you feel free?  The things that make you feel exhilarated and calm at the same time.  The need to speed up and slow down because you want all of it now but also want to savour the journey.  Something that makes you feel such a contradiction of emotions that are separated by such fine lines that you cannot discern them individually, but experience them in such a way that all you feel is an unparalleled thrill of excitement and anticipation of endless possibilities.  The unadulterated feeling of liberty.  For me, it is open water and anything that can guide me through it.

Seeing this catamaran on a beach that led into the Indian Ocean on one of the calmest days (for me) of 2015, I felt all of it:  The feel of floating on the ocean (and potentially in it), the wind and spray on my skin, the sound of the sail crackling, the smell of the salt in the air, leaving everything behind me to wander, to roam.  The potential adventure it promised just captivated me.  It was promise of the freedom to be free.

Hidden in Plain Sight

It’s amazing how much you miss when you walk down the same streets, the same paths, over and over again.  If you’re lucky enough, you’ll look up from the middle of the crowd and actually see your surroundings.  To step away from the ordinary and the mundane, and to see something different that is camouflaged in the backdrop of your life; that is truly special.

Ayubowan

Every journey to Sri Lanka feels the same, yet it somehow also feels different.  Each visit, each experience, unique in some way.  It seems strange to derive some feeling of home or comfort from a place that initially overwhelms the senses.  The abundance of people, animals, colours and smells added to the humid weather, the traffic, the sounds and the buildings juxtaposed with the surrounding flora (which is everywhere); it is a place where you can feel lost, and at the same time a part of the world.  I love all of it (and I haven’t even touched on the delicious food).   Maybe it is because I didn’t grow up there and only visit once a year (more infrequently now), that I am able to see it with fresh eyes each time; I am not yet used to it.  I am convinced that, that is a good thing.

These are a few of the photos I have taken over the years of going back there.  It sums up each visit.  The beach, the trees, the people, the transport, the waterfalls, the landscapes, the hazards and the fireworks.