Monday, December 9, 2013

My Icon from St. John...

Caribbean Iguana
   I've been thinking about which image I would choose as my "Icon of the Experience" on St. John.  It is never easy to isolate one image and I had several possibilities.  As much as I love my St. John alphabet, I wanted to chose something much more personal.

   I began by reminding myself what I have come to understand the definition of a photographic "icon" to be.
  An image that not only characterizes
the location but mirrors your unique
response to it.  An image that if all the
 others made in that location were lost, 
this one image could stand alone.

      I considered the iguana image.  He really says "St. John" to me and my heart-felt desire for an "iguana sighting" amused my friend to no end.  I love it's beautifully textured skin and soft colors.  As fascinating as these creatures are to behold however, St. John is so much more than its flora and fauna.

   I also considered a landscape, like this view across Klein Bay from Ditleff Point.  The towering clouds and difficult to negotiate hills spotted with million dollar villas also say "St. John" but they are not reflective of my personal response to the location.

   No, in the end I settled on "Miss Olivia".  She was surely one of the highlights of my trip in so many ways.

Miss Olivia at Annaberg

   I loved her warm hearted graciousness.  I loved the way she dispelled my feelings of uneasiness in that unique place which I had taken away with me the last time I visited.  

   It reminded me a lot of my series, First Person Rural.  The real joy of any location, close to home or half way around the world, is in the people who live there.

   I've never chosen a portrait as my "icon" but this time it seemed truly fitting.  (Of course, medieval icons were always of people, saints in particular but didn't Thomas Merton recognize the "sainthood" of all creation?)

   Consider looking through photographs of your last trip and see if one image stands out.  Which would you chose to represent not only the place but your individual approach?  What would be your icon of the experience?
   Check out Kim Manley Ort's wonderful post on this subject here...

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