Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Behind These Doors

As you travel to new places, do you ever see an unusual door and wonder what is on the other side? I do, especially when my eye is caught by a door's unusual color, shape, or condition. Think of the stories that could be written if you had the talent and the inclination! Each of the doors in this post have, for some reason or other, made me wonder about the people and events that were going on behind it at the particular moment that I suddenly stumbled upon it. I'll never know, but have enjoyed the moment of stretching my imagination in considering the possibilities. Feel free to do the same. (BTW-can you identify the general location where any of the doors was found by something in the nature of its design?)

I hope that you have enjoyed your visit and will come again. In the meantime, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Graffiti: Variations in Intent

The first time I ever thought about graffiti was when listening to Simon and Garfunkel's musical album ""Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme". One of the songs is a short bit, " Poem on an Underground Wall" that describes a lone person nervously waiting until no one is around to scrawl an obscene word on a subway wall. Yes, there is that kind of graffiti, as well as the almost universal plague of street gang symbols that can be found in almost any town or city in the world. Still, there is more to graffiti than that as I have briefly commented in a couple other posts.

In the past I've written about graffiti as street art through which an unknown person can share his or her visions with a public. While its impact is not as lasting as art carefully hanging in a museum or gallery, at least for a brief time it is seen and maybe even admired. I have previously mentioned that I am often compelled to photograph graffiti in order to preserve it from the ravages of the elements or the city clean-up crew.

There are also a variety of other reasons for producing graffiti. The riverfront wall of Seville "Creatures from the Deep" seems to tell a saga in cartoon form. The monument in Southern Spain with the word "Revolution" slashed across it in black is a political statement. The riverside image of Michael Jackson's head that appeared in Sheboygan, WI right after his death is a kind of "in memorium" statement. The "Hummingbirds" found on a New Mexican wall and the "Fire Breathing Dragon" found on the entry to a Welsh castle and cultural statements.

One more thing that intrigues me about graffiti-the situation in which the piece is produced. It is not usually evident if the graffiti is done with the blessing of the community or in the dark of night with others acting as lookouts for authority figures who will capture the artist and force an end to the art in progress. Sometimes because of the location and the message, it is very obvious that the work is not expected to be appreciated or the message condoned. At other times, the graffiti is a celebration of colorful beautification of what is a city part that has seen better days. Regardless of the intent, graffiti is one of those universal traits of all cultures and all times. Is there a reader who thinks otherwise? What about the strict laws of Singapore??

Thank you for visiting, please stop by again. Until then, may your travels be interesting and enjoyable.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Splendors of Cordoba

Let me begin by saying that there is no way I can do justice in terms of capturing the total splendor of this building that evolved over the centuries from the Roman years to the age of Spanish Islam to the its later Christian influence. A person could spend years exploring it in its totality and never become bored. Given that, I thought that I'd share glimpses of the building's interior. Perhaps you'll be inspired to make a visit and experience the beauty for yourself.

The immensity of the structure and the uncountable detail was overwhelming to me. More recently I have become aware of the "slow photography movement" in which the photographer holds a reflective lens and considers carefully before taking a photo. To be very honest, there was so much I didn't want to miss and I had such a limited time to visit, I took non-stop photos with the idea of sorting them out later. In retrospect, I think that by taking this photographical route prevented me from savoring the moment and appreciating the artistry. The trade-off was that I came away with many photos that encompassed many aspects of my visit.

The photos in this post have three purposes. Obviously the first is to show you aspects of Cordoba's beauty. The second is to show the blend of Muslim geometric images and those of 16th Century Christianity. The last is an attempt to convey its vastness.

I hope that you have enjoyed your visit. Perhaps Cordoba has been added to your list of places yet to visit. In any case, may your travels be both interesting and enjoyable.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Living Spaces (Western European Style)

Where and how people live is an interesting aspect of travel. In part, the where and how is determined by the nature of the land. Climate, available resources, length of settlement of a location, cultural preferences, and economic circumstances are just some of the determining factors. While there are some settings that I wouldn't want to permanently contend with, it is cool to explore new settings for a period of time.

I will be the first to admit that there are many, many places I have yet to experience. I have never been to Asia, most of Africa, Central or South America (though I do hope to explore part of Central America in the near future), or Eastern Europe. Yet. Until then, I will have to share images of Parisian apartments; the upper story of a house in Carmona, Spain; the row houses originally provided by a company to the miners of Wales; an isolated Isle of Wight farm complex; and house boats on the Avon River in Bath, England.

My own personal preference for a home is a place in a small city with a temperate climate located near a large body of water, one that has the option of visiting a metropolitan area without much travel or effort. I wonder what preferences you, the visiting reader, have. If you care to share, please leave a comment before you go.

Thank you for visiting, please feel free to stop by again. May your travels be interesting and enjoyable.