May 12, 2010
It’s funny living in the Florida Keys all these years and never really seeing the place. My wife asked, why don’t you take photos here, in the Keys? Good question. She wondered why I always had to leave home to find photographs. But what would I photograph here in the Keys? Lets see… boats, palm trees, lobster traps, mangroves…is any of this decent material? Is there more than a postcard shot here? Of course this is silly thinking, but I just never really looked around my own back yard photographically speaking. Why?
I have such a fondness for the mangoves now. I have certianly been as close as one can be with them….crawling through the limbs or up to my waist in salt water…trying not to spill my camera gear, sometimes getting mauled by mosquitos. And can you believe that I can’t think of many things in my life I’ve enjoyed more than this experience? Really. I go deep into the Mangal forest, to places I know nobody else in their right mind have been to before, and I find it exhilirating, even meditative. I’ve lived here my entire life…and it was all there before me the whole time, I just couldn’t see it. The fact that most do not see or consider the Mangroves as forest…like the other obvious forests in this vast country, makes this all the more rewarding. Sometimes I feel like I’m the first to really discover them in some way. I hope I have captured some of these ideas/emotions in my photographs.
When I first decided to visit Bali, I was soothing a desire my wife had long held to visit this part of the world. We have been lucky enough to do alot of traveling, but to this point we had not included the far east in our itinerary. We chose Bali because of things we had read about the island, most especially Pico Iyer’s magical descriptions of the place. Understand, I am not a religious person…not even a little superstitious.
Recent attention to Bali, as well as idealized books/movies, made me somewhat sceptical of the place, I wondered if the island had been completely over-run by tourists? But to say I was surprized is certainly an understatement…more accurate would be to say that I was blindsided by the place.
It is magical. There, I said it. And I mean it…there is simply something about the place…it is truly hard to decscribe.
The Balinese people possess a spirituality I had not encountered before. As a person somewhat jaded by the hypocracy of some Western belief systems, I was not in the least expecting what I interpret as a deep and sincere belief in this eastern pantheon of Gods. (At least, Pantheon of Gods is how I initially interpreted Hinduism…but that discussion is for another Blog!) All around me, these warm, sincere people were constantly aware, if not praying, to their Gods; it was a such a part of their daily lives. Looking back, the place and the people really all seem like some wonderful dream now.
Dec 15th, 2011
I was not expecting to create a Photo Folio in one trip to Bali, and I’m not sure these photos are really cohesive enough to be titled Temples of Bali…the title seems way too broad for what I could expose myself to in only 3 weeks. I mean, my Mangroves of the Florida Keys project has been going on for 3 years now! But I can’t get the place out of my mind. And I think that perhaps I was able to take some photos that reflect part of what I felt while I was there, even though they certainly do not come close to doing the island justice in my opinion. On my next trip to this beautiful place I hope to make a more serious attempt.