Is it always the case that we find it difficult to say just what it is that we love about someone, or something?
In essence this was the question posed by the Picture the World competition, and searching for the photograph that would tell you why I love Sri Lanka set me thinking. You might remember I considered a plethora of landscapes and locations, or images of sights and scenes worthy of the most alluring tourist board blandishments. In the end, I chose the achingly simple, almost stylised image of the twin Dagabas at Mihintale, because I felt they represented a marriage of the island’s past and the future.
But that’s a simplistic response. I’d like to show you Sri Lanka as if you were reading her face with your hands, feeling its fine texture, its lines and wrinkles, the prominent features and defects of her face in repose. And so begins In Search of the Quintessential Sri Lanka, an irregular series of photographic posts exploring the mundane, everyday scenes that, together, from the intimate, untouched narratives of this place that captured my heart.
When I close my eyes and let my mind rove over Sri Lanka, the first images it keeps flicking back to are the almost Garden of Eden-like landscapes of vivid green paddy dotted by islands of coconut trees and red-roofed houses. It is a sad fact that, since British colonial times, the island’s landscape is no longer of untrammelled nature, but of land-use – generally – in tune with nature.
This week’s Near and Far photo challenge seems the perfect place to begin.