Open-Air, Sacramentality & Echoes

Antigua - Central Square
Antigua – Central Square
Echo Chamber Entrance - Antigua Convent
Echo Chamber Entrance – Antigua Convent
Convent Wash Basins - Antigua
Convent Wash Basins – Antigua
Convent Corridors - Antigua
Convent Corridors – Antigua
Convent Atrium Arches - Antigua
Convent Atrium Arches – Antigua
Convent Architecture - Antigua
Convent Architecture – Antigua
Convent Architecture - Antigua 2
Convent Architecture – Antigua 2
Antigua Cathedral - 5
Antigua Cathedral – 5
Antigua Cathedral - 4
Antigua Cathedral – 4
Antigua Cathedral - 3
Antigua Cathedral – 3
Antigua Cathedral - 2
Antigua Cathedral – 2
Antigua Cathedral - 1
Antigua Cathedral – 1

Our group of twenty-four walked through Antigua’s open-air market in the morning of one of two market days in the week, the market an active, crowded, buzzing place in which we bumped and jostled our way forward trying not to lose sight of each other as we wound our way from the market entrance on the market’s one side to city streets of central Antigua on the other. Colour was to be taken in, dark and bright, subdued in shadows, vibrantly woven into fabrics, glowing at times when lit by sunlight streaming through breaks in the market canopy. Faces, those of adults and children moved around us and past us traveling in the opposite direction through corridors created between vendor tables. Women balanced baskets on heads, a hand lightly steadying the basket and their purchases. Stay moving, keep moving, keep up with the group.

We gathered together near a fountain in Antigua’s central square, surrounded on two sides by what appeared to be hotels, shops on another and a Cathedral on the final side. We moved in and through this Cathedral which connects to another much older one, one that had suffered the devastation of earthquakes dismantling and bringing down huge pieces of architecture. The immensity of this older Cathedral is substantial, a place commanding reverence and sacramentality in size and depths and shape and ornamentation. The Cathedral had not one, but two crypts that could be entered, places where bodies of saints had rested.

From the Cathedral we traveled three blocks further and entered what would have been a convent; here, there was more an architectural sense of context than something yielding narrative of how its inhabitants used the building. The convent held an echo chamber, a round room below ground level that in shape mirrored that of an onion. In trying out the sound qualities, there was an aspect to the room where you needed to catch the resonance of sound produced in order to contribute to it – adding one’s voice to others, here, was and would have been an extraordinary experience. And, then there were the cells of nuns – all shaped in and out of stone.

Listening to – Cat Stevens’ ‘The Wind,’ ‘Rubylove,’ ‘If I Laugh’ and ‘Changes IV.’

Quotes to Inspire – (1) “The justification is still the same, that picture-taking serves a high purpose – uncovering a hidden truth, conserving a vanishing past.” (2) “The photographer both loots and preserves, denounces and consecrates … [the camera is] a way of taking possession of the places they (tourists) visited.” (3) “Life is not about significant details, illuminated (in) a flash, fixed forever. Photographs are.” – Susan Sontag, ‘On Photography.’

10 thoughts on “Open-Air, Sacramentality & Echoes

    1. Good morning, Maureen:

      I’ve just been looking through your blog and encountered your words and photo for ‘Purity’ – liking both; also, moving to seeing the Christchurch video with Coldplay’s ‘Fix You.’

      I’m liking the moodiness of the inside window images, too.

      Thanks for looking in … take care 🙂

    1. Hello, hello, Laurie – thank you for coming on a portion of our visual trek through Antigua.

      If you’d asked me what I would have been doing in February twelve months ago I wouldn’t have been able to imagine the possibility of leaving Alberta’s snow-covered terrain and taking my daughter along with a group comprised of twenty-two other parents/students on a service learning trip to a third world country in Central America. As my administrator completed her masters’ thesis, in proofreading for her, I learned more and more about the globalization of education and service learning as the next entity or form education would take in our very near future. Our Guatemala trip was a next step to realizing and bringing these educational trends to fruition and it was something she and I and our children were able to participate in – something good.

      How about you, though? I haven’t had any time recently to sit down and investigate your blog. Am I to read about a new Harley Davidson soon? And, camera-wise have you made a decision about a DSLR or perhaps investigating all that iPhonography holds?

      Take care, 😉

    1. Hello again:

      I’m with you on the staircase and window image – that was the interior of a below ground echo chamber in the convent; where the light is and isn’t is hugely interesting, here.

      Take care … 🙂

    1. Hey there:

      With post-processing my view is that we should not only render the image as close as possible to reality and what was, but we should also always investigate the opportunities that our visual curiosity in relation to the trajectory of edit(s) provides. And, if post-processing causes the visual narrative to open-out for the viewer/observer by way of emphasis or enhancement, we’re on the right track – that would be what ‘art’ does, and, what art is.

      Take care, 😉

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