Monday, October 24, 2016

Balinese Art

A visual diary

During the course of my travels, I have met a few fellow tourists who did not carry a camera.  This always shocks me. "I store my mental pictures up here," they claim, tapping their foreheads.  I can understand, perhaps, not wanting to be burdened by these cumbersome contraptions, and I find myself putting my camera away at times.  But only after taking thousands of pictures.  It is the only way I can remember everything I see.

Back home in the security and comfort of familiar surroundings, I sort through the images and start to make sense of what I saw.  I see things that I missed during the excitement of the moment.  When did I take that picture?  I don't remember that.  Wow!

In Bali, especially, all my senses were bombarded on a daily basis.  Would my memories be stronger if I hadn't recorded them?  Maybe.  But it's the details that would have been missed.  It's the details that I study after arriving home.

  Art is everywhere in Bali.  Inside.  Outside.  On Hindu temples.  In gardens and rice paddies.  On the walls of buildings. But in my mind, the individual images would have melded together.  I wouldn't have lingered on a hand gesture.  I wouldn't have noticed the hidden humor inside a painting.  Or the sensuous curvature of a spine.  The rich deep color of mahogany.  The horror.  Or the sweetness.

Only the study of photographs can provide such pleasure.  Long after the trip is over.

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