"You're so Damned slow Ted," a friend groused yesterday. "You spent two weeks in Italy, you've been home for almost four weeks - and you're not half through the pictures you made. What's up with that?"
Uh, well I don't do my images in the camera. They aren't about some collection of significant details, caught in a click and fixed forever. Each of them teases many layers of my understanding. Go ahead, look at some of the images I've posted and you'll see that each one is a small thinking pool. And I’m not only splashing around in there, but I’m inviting every viewer to dunk in a toe, elbow, nose, or nether region.
Once upon a time there were only three reasons why college professors could win a sabbatical leave: study, writing, or travel. Travel was considered so valuable because it caused people to compare their cultural beliefs with others. And since culture is essentially the container which explains who we are as groups of people – then the experience, it was felt, automatically led to deeper understanding of our beliefs, goals, and behavior.
These images are little windows, or maybe doorways into ideas I hold, or have held. Each one deserves attention so that I can grow, and hopefully share the results of that growth with others. In fact I’m only spending a day or so with each image – hardly slow when these doorways open out into such delightful pathways, or into the things that have renovated my spirit.
If you think of these images as meditations, hey, I’m moving along pretty quickly.
SPOLETO 2: In the center of the old town there’s a stairway dating back to medieval times. It is not a dangerous area, but hundreds of years of footfalls have made it seedy. As you’ll see when I show you images from Assisi, other hill towns are shiny, painted, scrubbed clean. But they don’t feel as lived-in as Spoleto. They look like the living room where parents ban their kids from entering. Spoleto lets people in. It feels authentic. The colors are bright, but aging. The shadows eat hunks out of sunlit walls. There are dents, scrapes, and evidence that people grew up and old here. Spoleto doesn’t so much live with its history, it seems to live in it.