Doesn’t this image just make you want to sink back in your chair and daydream? I love the soft collection of blues, like a stylist set it out ‘just so’ for a magazine shoot. I love the delicious textures of the thatched roof houses, like nature, both unique and uniform. I love the way the ocean quickly softens in the background while the focus is only where you want to look. I love the three small children who spend all their days in a small canoe treating the vast blue ocean as their play-thing. I don’t consider it vain to enjoy my own image. I didn’t make this scene, I merely noticed it.
In July I was on my way back to the capital after spending a few days on the island of Malaita collecting stories on an ethnoarts workshop. I was half asleep when the small river-cat arrived in this small harbour after a tumultuous four hour journey a few days before, so I had my camera ready for our departure. Wielding a massive Canon 70-200 f/2.8 II with hood attached I decided to conduct an experiment.
To someone living in the small English town of Bath this would surely be the most ordinary scene. Even tourists visiting this fascinating historical place don’t come to photograph these very ordinary houses. But I love this image. It is all the simple and wondrous things about my mother land. Despite visiting in the cold grey drizzle of late October last year, I was enchanted by England. The ever-present bicycles, the small houses built together like co-joined twins, the colourful doors and the chimney stacks. Almost every time I saw those pretty little stacks all sitting in a row I would stop and take a photograph and thoughts of Mary Poppins filled my mind. During my 6 days in England I never stopped marvelling that all the cliques about England were real. People really live in these tiny houses with a fireplace in each room, drink tea constantly and pay taxes to the Queen.
To me, England is all the stories I ever heard as a child. Fairytales and Christmas stockings and where people lived before they were sent to Australia for stealing bread. It’s where Robin Hood lived, biscuits were invented and not to mention the language that I love to use – English. Australia is a young nation, and we don’t have a strong sense of national identity. We don’t really have our own traditions yet, no fables or children’s stories, and we celebrate Christmas right in the middle of summer with a seafood barbeque. Visiting England was like peeking behind the curtain of our disjointed culture and seeing where all those stories and traditions made sense. I never stopped being enchanted by the sight of all those cute little chimney stacks.
Wandered down to the beach this morning before sunrise. Kicked off my shoes and rolled up the bottom of my cotton pyjama pants. The puffy clouds reflected in the glassy mirror of the dark freshwater river that lives in the sand dunes. The ocean was soft, gentle and made me catch my breath. I sat in the cold grainy sand, watched and waited. The clouds changed colour first, from grey to hot pink, then everything came to life. There was no one else on the beach. Just me and a big pink star that rose up out of a clear green ocean.
I always find religious statues a bit creepy and this one is certainly no exception. A colossal 40 metre high concrete depiction of a man who lived during the Roman Empire, died, came back to life and now many people worship as God should be creepy, I guess. What should be human emotional eyes are giant concrete balls several metres away from a ridiculously pointy chin. He isn’t human or God… he’s completely inert. I’m in awe of the architectural feat, but also unsettled by the crowds of people mimicking it in trashy summer outfits and taking endless photos on their smart phones. While I enjoy the colourful complexity of this image and the memory of myself posed like that camera man in order to take it,