Sunday, 16 December 2012

A Trip to the Confessional Booth

I’m in a state of rehab, a self-certified prohibition for viewing the world through a camera’s lens, and on a diet for making to many photographs. Sent to the naughty step for a real greenhorn stupidity.

Maybe it helps that  we’ve been moving through less obviously, flat lit photogenic countryside. No stereotypical mountain ranges, no ranks of cataracts, no National Geographical peoples, these only
because I can’t take that type of shot. The story images are in small detail, the bumper sticker, the verge-side flowers, the mercado shelves. My Damian Hurst moments, that morbid fascination with festering, fly struck carcasses. Blog illustrations.

The red card grounding, is for an action that I would never have attempted, not even contemplated in the Victorian bush or the Southern States’ deserts. The Navigator is thrashing through some long grass, when she spooks and is spooked by a snake. All the specimens that we’ve seen so far have been tyre flattened or in the talons of a departing raptor. So a chance to capture one…… photographically? No, even I’m not that stupid. Only it was considerably bigger, longer than I had realised, it turned and I turned, and my one departing mental image is off a gaping mouth, lunging.  

However, today my resolve is challenged. Saladas is a town of sawmills and pallet makers, that has more to do with lumber than lettuces, so it’s little wonder that  we are riding through blocks of mature commercial timber.  Yet three images suggest world theme park rather than Argentine agro-business. Rounding a bend in the road I find a wall of dark, tall pines, breached by a silent blue pond, an isthmus of soft green reeds and margins fringed with white water lilies, two beasts are grazing, up to their oxters in the water. It’s pure Pacific north-west. It’s only when the two red animals lift their white faces that you realise that they’re Herefords and not moose. An idyllic, bucolic picture and I don’t take a photograph. Look to the other side of the road, and we’ve jumped continents and hemispheres. A Queensland wall of eucalyptus trees with  a water hole.  Another iconic-story, but still I couldn’t take a photo’. I won’t waste  pixels on Australia’s biggest, desecrating export, on a water guzzling, nutrient plundering  monster.  Only they make sound agro-business sense. Out of Oz, I don’t think I like the gums.

The third unconsummated  photo’ opportunity arrives later in the day as we re-enter the ’Zona del Palmares’. This time it’s a Bedouinic image: a clump of gently swaying palms that hem an oasis of water. The reason this time for the lack of recourse to the camera is another island of over-shadowing gums and the inevitable string of image-spoiling power lines.

Three celibate portraits, fleeting moments, lost to a camera’s sensor but valuably stored with the bias of a brain. And I kept the pledge.