Sunday, December 5, 2010

Traveling in the Shadows...

For a long time I have been interested in negative space. Not what is before us, but what is not. Not the object, but the space around it. For me many journeys are like this. It is not what is in the itinerary, but what happens in between. Not what we planned for, but what we didn't anticipate. There's a quote by Henry Miller that expresses this is another way. Miller says that our lives are shaped as much by those who refuse to love us as by those who do. This is a kind of emotional negative space. Not what is, but what isn't. Not what we see, but what is implied.

On our recent trip to Morocco we hired a guide. From the minute I laid eyes on him I knew it wasn't going to be a good match. I wanted stories. All he could tell me were facts. It was obvious from his demeanor that he had told these facts over and over and they meant nothing to him. When we were near the presidential palace, he asked if I wanted to take a picture. I didn't. I'm not interested in snapshots. But out of politeness I complied. In the middle of my snapping the picture, he took the camera from me and pushed the button himself.

He wanted me to see what he saw. What he assumed every tourist wants to see. He would not have understood if I told him that what I wanted only exists in the shadows.


  1. Sonia Serrano PujalrásDecember 6, 2010 at 5:57 AM

    Love your post and the idea of negative space. It is interesting bacuase just the other day I was reading about the relations established between the traveller and the guide, how difficult they can be and how sometimes if you are lucky how very rewarding.
    Morocco is so filled up with tourists that want to see and do the same things that it is dificult to find a guide that it is nos like a robot complying to those mediocre wishes.

  2. Love this, love the way the thoughts and images intermingle !!

  3. Blown away not by the ideas, or the writing (those I expect) but by the visuals, Mare. How cum both sides of your brain work so well?

  4. First thank you all for your comments. I love hearing from you. And, Barbara, thank you so much. At one point I thought about being a photographer, but then I kept losing cameras and exposing my film. Anyway I still do it. And it's all one brain, for better or worse. xoM