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.