I feel very privileged to have been able to travel and see some of the world. How else would it be possible to know - to really know - that old folk sit and talk, comfortable with friends in their own town; comfortable also with the lives they’ve led and - despite or maybe because of all that has occurred, and all that has been gained, or lost - where life has led them.
And that children the world over dance and sing and play and feel unbounded happiness in the pursuit of common goals with friends.
It is possible of course to sense these things in one’s own back yard because these things are universal. But do any of us really believe the things we see in our own back yard to be true of the entire world? The thing that always struck me when I’ve been fortunate enough to travel is how things in the places I’ve lived have a fundamental resonance with places everywhere.
So with photography. It is possible to take these pictures, or pictures that at least approximate them in terms of form and content, just about anywhere if you look hard enough and see clearly enough. But when you are somewhere different such quotidian sights strike such a strongly visceral chord that you feel especially privileged to witness them, and especially so if it is a matter of taking a photograph of them.
And with these particular tableaux, there is the added reflection that these activities occurred twenty eight years ago. Where does that therefore place them in terms of the lives we live today? Undoubtedly the old folk have passed on by now, taking their thoughts and memories with them; and the dancing girls are approaching middle age and will have experienced all sorts of life’s vicissitudes - things that would have been beyond their imagining as they danced away that hot afternoon in Andalucia.
So I find these negatives - pieces of the films that were actually in my camera on the days I took these pictures, now stored in their old files - a source of some enchantment.
Some cultures had (and I believe that some still have) the belief that the camera is able to steal a person’s soul.
Maybe. But even if it can’t steal the soul of the person photographed, it can certainly help you to see into your own.
And you know what? Travel isn’t about buildings and monuments and theme parks. It’s about people. And it’s not about how different other folks are from us. It’s about how we’re all alike, really.