The trip to Portugal and Spain was one of abundance. Everywhere I turned was a feast for all the senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Although I no longer like this word, it was dizzying.
But the strongest feeling I got was one of connection. Of course I am at home with the horses no matter on which continent I find them, but watching a bullfight?? or visiting the village of Goléga, and Mestre Nuno Oliveira’s old manege, a Flamenco performance in the Gitane area of Jerez, the famous Bodegas of Terry and Domecq, and then the Convento dos Capuchos? Each location was filled with a familiarity or sense memory for me that was suprisingly strong and completely unexpected. My challenge during this trip was to make meaningful images AND hold as much of the experience in my heart as possible. This can be very difficult when so much is packed into such a short time. In one day we saw a performance at the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art, had lunch on one of the most beautiful windswept beaches I’ve ever seen, visited a monastery built into the rocks at the top of a mountain, traveled back in time to visit the Manege of Mestre Nuno Oliveira, and finish the night (very very late) at a Fado restaurant in the Alfama district….smack in the middle of the celebration for the Feast of St. Anthony. And on top of that, I needed to make meaningful photographs of all the participants enjoying their trip.
I always remind myself that when I am working, I am happy to get ONE picture a day that reflects what I have seen and felt. It is hard to put into words the satisfaction I feel having created an image that speaks to me. If I had to use one word I would choose affirming. A successful photograph affirms my connection with the subject and in a very real way, my connection to life. This experience of being in the flow of BE-ING is one of the most rewarding parts of photography. As my friend and mentor says so often, “photography is a great way to BE in life”. He’s right.
It’s often demanding and tiring, especially during a trip like this. Folks are snug in their beds by 2 am and I’m up downloading images and cleaning cards and gear, preparing to be ready to go again at 8 am. Looking, with intent and a desire to see deeper is tiring as well, but often rewarding.
I’m at home now, working through a mountain of files, and video too, and trying not to think (yet) about the next trip. As always, thanks very very much for checking the blog. Please do tell a friend or two about it. Wishing you an abundant feast for all your senses. ~ Keron