… or, more accurately, after, and then before.
These are from a trip to Japan, specifically Kyoto, that produced something of a profound effect.
On me, and on my photography.
I’d always wanted to go to Japan, and when the opportunity presented itself, I leapt.
Having by this time developed into a rather raving photo hound, I even decided that the time was ripe to step up in gear, as well… and purchased my first full-frame camera.
But that’s merely the tool employed.
The trip itself was a revelation.
I had never before spent much time in a foreign land where no one could speak my language.
Of course, I got the tapes and the books, and tried to learn as much as I could before I went.
I tried to learn how to say please and thank you and donde esta el otearai.
And now here I was, all on my lonesome, trying to survive.
And mostly trying not to insult or distress, or become too needy.
After all, I was a guest in their ‘home’.
This is a photo from what turned out to be my favorite spot in the entire country.
The Silver Pavilion, in Kyoto.
The ‘before version’ doesn’t do the site justice.
It’s absolutely possible that the ‘after version’ fails in that respect, as well.
Have you ever seen a place, or a locale, that affected you deeply, for no readily apparent reason?
This forest was like that for me.
I saw the forest, and I immediately and desperately wanted to wander in and amongst the trees.
To lose myself in that field of arboreal mystery; perhaps to never be seen again.
To travel along that path into the land of Fairy, no matter the consequences…
Needless to say, the way was barred.
By a fence, set by the monks who ran the pavilion.
I cannot say who’s the more guilty in this instance…
The monks, for fencing that wooded wonderland away from the rest of humanity.
Me, for thinking, for wishing and wanting to go where they would not have me go.
Or again me, for not answering the call of that far away land… for allowing the fence to do the job for which it was designed.
Or possibly just plain ol’ me…
For allowing a unadulterated romanticism to have its way with me.
Unbridled, free-range and temperamental to a fault.
So much guilt to go around…
Most of it mine…
Which is, quite possibly, the only way to visit a foreign land…
To acknowledge their customs and habits.
To push your own wishes and likes way, way down… that you might sample of their kindness and generosity… that you might not spoil it for the rest of humanity…
That you might become a guest which they might, possibly, like to have in their home again…