Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This was my answer to a question on luck and photography for another photog's blog. Thought I'd share it here, too. Seemed an appropriate post for St. Patrick's Day.
There are many moments and places that I feel fortunate to have captured with my camera, but one that stands out in particular is a delicious door I encountered on a tiny island in the Bay of Kotor. Having come to Croatia for two weeks before going back to Budapest for one more, I was looking forward to doing a number of day trips from my home base in Dubrovnik. I am obsessed with Venice, one might say, and had my heart set on visiting the tiny town of Kotor, an UNESCO World Heritage site and former outpost of La Serenissima. The weather wasn't what I'd hoped for on the designated day, overcast and drizzling a fine mist, but it was my one opportunity to see this special place and so I set off for Kotor anyway on a chartered bus tour. Alone with my camera and strangers from all over Europe, I broke away from the pack of friendly Brits I'd attached myself to as everyone clamored into the pint-sized Church of Our Lady of the Rock. It was so beautiful outside and as the doors to the church closed, I found myself enveloped by a stony and almost palpable peace. While I was anxious to head inside and learn the story of this artificial island and its charming little church, I couldn't help but linger a few moments more outside to study the mystic - no, more like magical - sea green door before me. None of my fellow tourists had given it any notice, let alone the long second look it so dramatically deserved. Surrounded by weathered white to gray blocks of stone, it was mesmerizingly beautiful. Although I could have stood there studying the door indefinitely, I ultimately broke the spell by snapping two quick pics before passing inside. The church and its door remained in my mind's eye but melted or morphed into something of a surreal dream. Back in Budapest, I returned excitedly to the Castle District, where but two weeks before I'd seen some of the most stunning wooden doors anywhere. I had in mind a particular door in dark green that I couldn't wait to see again, and re-shoot. With their intricate design, larger than life size, and patina of peeling paint, the Castle District's old doors were an architectural travel photographer's dream. I'd been quite ill that first week in Budapest and had only had the energy to take a few test shots. But I wasn't to finish the job. In the city's haste to renovate and restore, I was horrified to find that all of the doors I'd fallen in love with only two weeks earlier were now freshly painted. No peeling. Still beautiful, but lacking the unique character that came with their aging and cracking coats. In frustration, I photographed my green door and its neighbors, and went home disappointed. Until, in reviewing all of my images from four weeks abroad, I rediscovered the green door from Montenegro. If I'd taken no other pictures in that entire month, the lucky find of this special door would have been more than memory and reward enough for the trip. I thank my lucky stars that I had my camera, batteries charged, to preserve that place and that moment - and above all that door - for myself, for my friends, for my family, and for you. It's a pretty wonderful door, isn't it? It looks like luck itself, perhaps.
Hope you enjoyed this peek behind The Green Door.
Signed prints available at http://risamay.etsy.com exclusively.

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