In all the time I’ve been really serious about photography, I’ve always preferred black and white. I began as a teenager, developing my own film and images in a darkroom. For me, it’s easier and seems more truthful. Yet, I challenge myself to shoot mainly in color now because there’s a trick to it I’ve not yet mastered and a way in which it is done best that isn’t always easy. My favorite living photographer to master color is Steve McCurry. Shooting with Kodachrome, he has amassed a body of work that seems to show our world at its most lively and colorful even when he is showing scenes filled with sorrow or pain. I retreat to black and white photography on the days I know there is simply no competing with photographers like McCurry. Still, I worship color for the way it makes me feel in a part of my soul I can’t even name.
So the Capture the Colour contest excited me immediately. Yet isn’t easy to pick out just one image to represent each of these five colors: green, blue, red, white and yellow. I would have loved to enter several for each category…
I settled for these, each with an accompanying story:
Blue – [photo seen above] This color was simple, when I stopped over-thinking it. Blue is the color of home. Usually, when I see the color blue in all its unobstructed glory it is through the window of a plane as I make my way from one place to another; a journey that will either take me to someplace new or bring me back to a place I love enough to return to. I may live in New York between trips but it’s the journey that is really my home; the one I take to learn more about the world, myself and my place in it. This particular photograph was taken as I made my way from South Africa to Spain just after exploring Mauritius (where an artist completed the henna you see on my hand). I have never learnt as much about myself and the world in such a short time and during that plane ride my head was a complicated space more like a minefield as I pondered all that had just occured. But when I looked out the window, peace always filled me from head to toe.
Green – I traversed a river that forms the border of two countries, Panama and Costa Rica, in one of the two canoes shown in this photograph. Their green color is unaltered from real life. The trip I took was truly a TRIP. I wrote one of the longest travel stories I’ve ever penned about that experience and to this day the color green still brings back all the perplexities of that day to a place where it is all very fresh in my memory.
Yellow – It required two planes and two buses to reach Burhaniye. When I eventually arrived, overwhelmed and sleep-deprived, and Pete handed me an Effes Limon beer I was finally able to exhale. From my first sip, I knew immediately I had to carve a place in my heart for a beer other than Guinness. It tasted like bottled sunshine, friendship, summer, hope and citrus-tinged refreshment. My 10 day trip progressed at a rate that was alarming and so much happened I could write a book about the journey. But before I knew it, it was already time to leave. So just before I winged my way to yet another new country — Pete, Dalene and I shared a few hours relaxing at the beach in Ören. This is us that day with our Effes Limon. Now, the color yellow reminds me of a day where the bittersweetness of an ending was matched only by the gratefulness I felt at having experienced a country unlike any other: Turkey.
White – I dreamt of Paris for decades before finally visiting. For two weeks I roamed the city avoiding many of the largest tourist attractions, choosing instead to blaze my own trail through the cafes and side streets that I had longed after for so many years. Yet Sacré-Cœur from its post high above the city kept calling my name. The day I finally took le metro, climbed all the steep streets and steps of Montmartre and emerged on top of the hill staring up at the silhouetted spires and statues, I was nearly blinded by how very white the Basilica was. This perspective of the cliché landmark is how I will always remember it; floating in an azure sky punctuated with black, spring branches not yet sprouting the new, green life of summer.
Red – As long as I can remember I have wanted to own an old truck, rusty with a big bed where I could sit in the back piled with blankets and pillow watching movies at a drive-in theater. Living in New York City when I am not traveling, means this entire dream is a little irrelevant. When I saw this truck sitting on a side street in Brooklyn, I immediately smiled. Perhaps one day I will still have reason to own such a vehicle and there will still be a drive-in somewhere on this planet where I can fulfill the last part of that girlhood wish.
I nominate Hecktic Travels, TrekWorld, No Vacation Required, The Traveling Philosopher and Isabelle’s Travel to participate next.