Inspired by her recent Truth & Cake post entitled ‘Every Picture Tells A Story‘ (coming from HostelBookers #7SuperShots challenge) I am taking part in the HostelBookers 7 Super Shots and sharing 7 of my photographs and the mini-stories behind them. A lot of them regular readers will have seen on my blog before, but hopefully I’ve added a new dimension to them here. In answer to the question Rian posed at the end of her post (what catches your eye in photography), I think I’m most clearly attracted to landscapes, although colour is enticing, too.
1. Takes my breath away.
Going away for several years taught me to appreciate where I came from. Those rugged, fierce Scottish Highlands: how beautiful you are. In June 2012 I headed up to the remoteness North-West corner of the Highlands, Torridon, to help supervise a several teams of schoolchildren on a multi-day backpacking expedition. The supervision usually entails sitting around at a check-point for several hours at a time waiting for the pupils to turn up, so a group of us took up the nearest mountain(s) to kill time and get a bit of exercise in. This was the second peak of the day – with a tough patch of The quote that immediately sprung to mind when I took this shot was: “And if I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
2. Makes me smile.
I’m an unapologetic caffeine fiend. Looking at this picture makes me smile because it’s a damn fine cup of coffee I’m about to guzzle. Black Medicine Coffee Company is an Edinburgh institution: during my time as an undergraduate in that stellar city I lived for a total of two years (i) across the street (ii) round the corner down a side-road and across the street from the cafe, which turned it into my regular coffee haunt. The memories of my time as a student in Edinburgh come up to the surface when I look at this – hence the smiles. Although, I admit the thought of that coffee makes me smile too. Their mocha is particularly good: it doesn’t fall into the trap of being too sweet, nor does it skimp on the coffee kick. They don’t faff about with their whipped cream, either.
3. Makes me dream.
My love affair with Philadelphia is fairly unsubtle. Everybody knows I got enchanted with the place back in 2009 and have had to keep returning. The Swann Memorial Fountain (located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway) acts as a loci for all the yearning, love and good memories associated with the city. It’s a symbol. When I think about Philadelphia I immediately get a flashback to those last few months when I went out dancing every Friday night in the Old Town before cycling home. It was August and the air still had its thick humidity at 10.30pm. I would pedal past the illuminated Fountain on every trip and just feel this rush of happiness and gratitude for being there and…being alive, I guess.
4. Makes me think.
I’ve come back to this little line many, many times since I first caught sight of it on the Berlin Wall. I can’t really say anything about this picture, it says all it needs to itself.
5. Makes my mouth water.
On my last day of work in Basel, Switzerland I clocked out and handed back my ID badge at about 10.30am so that my work colleagues wouldn’t see me burst into tears. I got off the site successfully with approximately 20 seconds to spare. In the evening-dusk I went out with one of my friends up to one of the many ruined fortifications in the hills surrounding Basel-land. These forts all come equipped with barbecue pits. We drank Rivella, grilled colourful vegetables, blackened veggie bratwurst sausages, joked as I took the pictures about my foray into “food blogging”…and then ate through the whole damn lot. Didn’t regret a thing.
6. Tells a story.
Back in Spring 2013 I was busy getting rejected from PhD programs in the USA and Europe. It wasn’t a good time to be me, though when I think back upon that time I’m mainly relieved that I gave up my goal for entry onto Fall 2012 programs when I did. I was burned out. A particularly bad interview and summary rejection finally finished me off – I decided that I *had* to stop applying to PhD programs. That was on the Friday. Early on Sunday morning I wandered out onto the balcony of my apartment with a steaming cup of coffee and took this photo. Sunlight, warmth and colour was returning to my world.
7. Makes me proud (as in, proud of the photograph as an artistic piece, not as a record of a something I achieved).
I’m surprised the modelling agencies haven’t beaten a path to my front door yet. Come on, could the earthy hues (brown, green, blue) be any better balanced? Aren’t the angles of my body and the mountainside in sublime harmony? What? Oh, never mind, then. This picture was achieved on a gorgeous summer day in Edinburgh armed with little more than a self-timer and a deep-seated love of Holyrood Park & Arthur’s Seat. For me that’s pretty good going.