Friday, March 25, 2016

UP CLOSE AND FAR AWAY – The Soul of Vacation Photography

When one is on vacation, as Sally and I are for a month here in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico, one tends to appreciate sweeping new vistas. A tropical climate, with its exotic flora and fauna, cuts in on what was proving a long, grudging dance with a northern winter. A whole people with faces, words and customs perhaps different from our own.

We want to paint it all with a broad brush, taking long shots of the sea, the beach...maybe the bar.  Look, Facebook friends, I am here!—we want them to see as much as possible in one or two photos. About as close to details we come is when we take pictures of the people we're sharing that experience with. And too many of those are taken quite spontaneously, with no regard for a background that might impart even the slightest notion of specifically where we are.
I've finally come to realize...why the question, "Want to see our vacation photos?" elicits more lame excuses than "Can you help us move?"

Believe me, I've taken hundreds of exactly that kind of photo. But I've finally come to realize—most often weeks later when I show them to someone else—why the question, "Want to see our vacation photos?" elicits more lame excuses than "Want to help me move?" The reason? Most of those images have no soul.

So in recent years, though I still shoot the occasional "look where I am and who's with me here" landscape and portrait, I've found myself drawn to more subjects I hope will capture a deeper sense of place and culture.

Here are some of those soul shots I've taken this month in and around Zihuatanejo. Images capturing very specific places—some of them no bigger than a square foot; the colors, shapes and patterns of a natural environment and a culture. And people—most often not posing, but captured at play or on the job, perhaps in a happy or pensive or poignant moment.

If you're still with me to this point, I think you can tell that, every year, I leave more here in this lovely town than a chunk of dinero; I also leave a piece of my heart.

The Holy Week crowd of Mexican tourists begins on Playa La Ropa

Yeah! Maybe that older guy with the limp and the camera!

Up and away!

Primordial patterns

The breezy colors of la Calle Adelita

Sign-painting crew about to add sponsors' logos to firemen tribute

To every season...even if it's only two

Still life with fertility goddess & re-bar

Proud mamá and her beautiful little girl

, I am zi one zat inspired Godzilla

She's kept an eye out for fashion trends along Juan Alvarez for nearly a decade.

Entrance to the Vega household

One of Zihuatanejo's excellent strolling minstrels - a dying breed

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

Who is this young man whose passport photo settled into this crude stairway?

Fish guts - one of Zihuatanejo's many stunning murals

Banded Peacock - Anartia fatima


jean said...

So lovely! Thanks for sharing!

Jeffrey Willius said...

Thanks, Jean. I always appreciate your comments!

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