Thursday, November 15, 2012

Galapagos Magma

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: In my imagination, I suppose, Galapagos was always a pristine place and primordial, yet a place one could snuggle up to, a land out of H.G. Welles, foreign yet familiar, sinfully lush yet innocent and chaste. In fact, when among the animals that is the reality, but there's another reality also true.  As a photographer,  I found that other place hard to get close to. First, what's new is often rough and raw. The islands are the scabs of raw wounds still oozing and simmering in cracks and crevices. Knife-edged lava shards slice through all but lizard skin.  Approach with caution or watch from offshore. And viewed from offshore, the cratered mountains never loom. Rather, they linger, obtuse cones often shrouded in haze or crossed by clouds with patterns as wide as the circumference of sky. Amid such breadth the mountains are dimples, their truths lie hidden. And when we do get ashore from small pongas, the land recedes gradually into lagoons and up bluffs of scrub and low trees and cactus and when we find a view it is spread wide as before; the shapes shift; that other truth evades my lens

The early Spanish explorers, Darwin, Melville all found it a bare place of drab colors. None cared to go back. It is an odd landscape to photograph, and I loved it.

What is old is new and what is new is very old; that's the lesson of Galapagos.

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