Monastery of Santa Catalina is a mini self-sufficient city inside Arequipa city built since 1579. Owned by a Dominican order of the Catholic Church. Part of this city now is a museum. I hope you find one of your delight ;-)
The buildings have colors so intense that the best time to visit the Monastery is when there is a blue sky. These ones were taken in 2012. As always I just walked to see and feel the game of light and shadows of the volumes. Be aware that in those years I used to saturate, not so much but my goal was to reflect what I saw, and to me with the blue of the sky and the golden light the colors simply go out of scale.
I think this is one of my favorite compositions of the work of an anonymous architect. It’s just admirable the cleanness in the design in an epoch were there was temptations to saturate with ornaments.
I did a selfie inside the kitchens, I always wanted a portrait transformed in a being of light inside a black place (of course I’m far from being a creature of light mwahahaha)
I usually look like Moe Szyslak but there I like that I look more like I see myself, not so much detailed I guess.
I found a pair of Argentinian tourists in Titicaca Lake, they asked me if I could show them the Monastery in Arequipa. Sadly that day was an overcast one and the walls, like the visitors and me, felt a bit uncomfortable because was a visit very touristic, I mean: to go and see and after that just see other place without much soul really. It was in January.
Despite its religious nature I find that this monastery for women has a haunting feminine delicacy, like the sexy kiss of a woman with intense red lips.
Thank you for your patience with the long post, as I was saying, it’s a mini city and this barely is a glimpse.
If you travel to Arequipa you’ve to have a hat. It’s the second city on the world with more solar radiation (the first is Alexandria) this because it’s a valley in broad Atacama desert. To me is hard to endure the heat there, and the buildings are made of a white volcanic stone that could be a bit strong to the eyes. Centuries ago they were painted with reds, blues and yellows, but in this age they have no paint, to my taste that’s good because they look more classical.
I don’t say that it’s terrible the weather there, only that I am not used to such sunny context, it has great spots to go and I’ve some friends that I’d like to visit, but certainly I am foreign in a city inside my country with a remarkable but so different culture.
Tonight I am writing about the garbage in landscape and my stance about it in photographs.
To me photography is something relatively new, I have taken photographs with cell phones, web cams and point and shots since four years ago, a superzoom two years ago and the last year I had the luck to find in internet a Sony R1 as an affordable way to play with quality raw files thus I can work on them to produce a photography closer to my perception.
I say closer to my perception and not closer to the reality because we are human beings, not machines. Our emotions and psyche modify what we are perceiving and at the same time we see the world we are changing it to our desires. For example the sun early in the morning to a happy man could mean just a signal or a medal of his good luck; but to another man in disgrace it can be the tenacious reminder of his penuries and torments. Could be that the reality is one (or could be not depending on our beliefs) but illusion or solid that reality is different for everyone.
However it is the garbage issue. I mean, today the technology allow us to manipulate this fiction so called photography. Etymologically we aren’t just writing with photons or light, but with pixels. It is a simple gesture modify the image of a girl to make her look like a Barbie (even with the plastic skin :S), rejuvenate actors and actresses of yore; even erase some dictator’s fallen in grace friends, and yes, cloning and healing to erase that uncomfortable garbage from our photos.
Months ago I discovered, using the trials of raw processors, to erase that bags, diapers, and tappers in the pretty landscapes. But I wondered if that wasn’t go to far in edit…
Let’s see this photograph, is a can in middle of the field. It was there recently cause its lack of oxide, it draw my attention because I didn’t remember an object reflecting the whole sky in its surface without interferences as buildings, poles, trees, people, cars, dogs, etcetera. So when I took the picture I tried to emphasize that idea (please, remember that I do this as a hobby, I am not a professional), I used a bit of fill flash to reduce the shadow intensity so it couldn’t compete with the can; I extended the zoom further so I couldn’t appear (contaminate) the blue surface in the can, with a camera with interchangeable lenses I couldn’t achieved that idea because the low flash synchronization, the shutter was set in 1/500 and with a fixed camera that’s a peace of cake, and after when I edited the raw file I tried to emphasize that idea: fine tuning contrast, highlights, saturation, etcetera, I am using photo ninja to edit my files, actually I chosen it in part because the files doesn’t look so artificial or manipulated but with a beautiful rendering that seems so natural, not film-like that also has an artificial, but different from digital, finish; and I choose it also because it has not tools to fake the reality upon is constructed the photograph.
So in my landscape photographs I decided to not erase the garbage, in part as a protest to the people who pollute just because they don’t live in the place they are making dirty. But also because I believe that the photography, although a subjective vision of our way of see the world, it has to tell anyway in base of the shared reality. And if something is erased I think it should be ethical to remark it.
This is a personal posture from the point of view of somebody who just likes to take photographs, I have no desire to be a professional photographer because if it were a work I don’t think it would be funny anymore. I don’t see nothing wrong if other people has another posture, in fact several photographs I like a lot are heavily modified (to me modified is different to just processed) But in my case I consider that erase anything, even something so disliking as garbage, in the borders of a photographs would be as lie to myself. Because I know that that wasn’t what I saw in first place.
By the way I used the healing and cloning tool of some programs. Firstly I took it with enthusiasm but after a couple of weeks I begun to feel that I had destroyed my photographs. After that I am happy with my editions, they are not far from I saw, in fact they are closer.
It’s funny/tragic how the routine can make life long or very short in a city. If it is a big one it feels short, for example, the times to travel to a point to the other, they can last hours and ages; those periods are so long in middle of the traffic that we can dream a whole life to just forgotten it when the awakening comes.
Life can be long, but just if we can avoid the routine. The routine of wake up; eat (the same I mean); go to the work/university/institute/etcetera; if in one day we can create something, go to another place, think a moment in anything new, to know new people and discover something new in the old friends.
I don’t say that it is necessarily a requisite to be happy, I guess everyone has his/her way to be it. And even the routine can produce happiness if it coincide with an activity pleasurable to the desires. But I have the impression that the routine is an aspect that abbreviates our existence. Thus we can tell our time at school/university/work in a few sentences and perhaps two or three memorable stories.
I cannot bare so well the routine: honestly I am the type of guy that let the bus in the middle just to walk another route by myself. But actually I dislike the routine because I think is is a basic and geometrical mirror that corresponds another image more complex and complicated.
That ultimate image that appears reflected in our lives could be an illusion, actually we are free and words as destiny or doom are poor intents to justify our monotony; or could be a reality, a labyrinth triggered to grow and adapt to us, the work of inscrutable gods or an evolutive machinery.
What is the answer I don’t know, sometimes life is so short to even try to solve those questions.