Peeling under the layers

Well I'm back from India and Nepal, as of yesterday and apart from feeling the jet lag, it is now only possible for me to really understand where I have been and what I have seen. You see, I feel like a chameleon when I go traveling. Things are fresh and new.... for a while and quickly what was special becomes my new norm. My normal point of reference. Home starts to feel like a dream and I'm quickly immersed in my new surroundings so much so that I loose a sense of perspective. It is only once I am home and have adjusted to my cultural background that I am able to take stock of how culturally rich and strange the places I have been to are. _mg_5683.jpg

I met up with David DuChemin from the PixelatedImage whilst in Kathmandu. I was unfortunately fatigued and unwell, but we had a good chat about photography and it was really nice to meet him in person. I feel that David is someone we will be seeing a lot of in the future. He has drive and vision.

So I now have 99 rolls of film (I counted them this morning at 3am) to get processed. What can I tell you of the trip? Or the photos in particular? Well I think India was overwhelming in so many ways and I often felt that I needed to escape. Noise noise noise. People people people. Portraits portraits portraits. Yes, I think I'll perhaps have a new portfolio titled 'portraits of Rathjestan' but also a portfolio dedicated to the Taj Mahal.

I fell in love when I least expected to. Arriving at the Taj gates at 5am for sunrise to find I was one of a few thousand sunrise visitors, I felt that I would get nothing, and perhaps I should resign my camera to my bag. But the building was simply stunning and I'm not usually one for the normal tourist adverts. I'm unclear at this moment whether it was the Agra smog, eating away at the marble of the building and shrouding it in a ghostly fog that made it more special, or if it was simply a case of enjoying something with symmetry and order after three weeks of dust, dirt, grime, poverty you wouldn't believe and maddening chaos. Perhaps this did enhance my response to the vision of the Taj, but I went back three mornings to shoot there and now feel convinced that in those unprocessed films, I have the germs of a seperate portfolio.

I guess I love that about film. I slowly build up a mental picture, or perhaps more an emotional picture in my head of what the final results will be like. I often get a feeling when an image comes 'right' in the camera. Often at the point of tripping the shutter, and yet, nothing ever prepares me for the processed images when they land on my desk.

So what now? Well, apart from some sleep, and some decent food for a change, I need to get prepared for a workshop I am doing in Patagonia in around six weeks time. I'm also going to do the full Paine circuit while there - something I have yet to do in an attempt to get some photos from the highest pass in the park - the John Gardiner pass, which has panoramic views over the southern ice field (wish me luck).

But I also have a trip to Easter Island and this is really what the title of this post is all about. I've been to Easter Island before - around six years ago and I came home spell bound by the place. I knew then that I had only scratched the surface of the Island and I've had an itch to go back for a long time. I do feel that you often need to repeat a visit to a location. It's not always immediately 'understood' and it can take time to truly understand a landscape to get the best out of it. So I hope that this trip to Easter Island allows me to peel perhaps one or two layers away.

I'll sign off just now. Off to make a cup of tea and get those films processed. Expect to see some blog activity in the coming weeks regarding my Indian and Nepal photos.