We had the unbelievable luck of spending the summer in the Spanish Pyrenees in the region of Aragon, and photography came flooding back into my life. I would nervously send photos to friends and family knowing that they might think I was a provocative pain in the backside for sending them a continuous stream of unbelievable views. Really (I think), I just wanted to share the absolute glory I was seeing every day.
The photo that got the most animated responses (OMG! … Wow! … Bloody Hell! – things like that) was the image above. I was cycling on dirt backroads to the town of Panticosa, seen in the valley below. I came round a corner, saw the view, and got off my bike. It took my breath away. I felt unbelievably lucky. I grabbed my phone.
Down in the village 20 minutes later, I sat at a bar terrace I like very much and had a glass of wine. The Estate Agents next door had speakers above the pictures of houses and flats in the window display, and was playing surprisingly relaxing, happy, summery music. I kept Shazaming things to add to my summer playlist. Kids ran around in the street in front of the ancient, honey-coloured stone gothic church on the other side of the street. All was right with the world.
I’ve looked often at the photo since – it has begun to fascinate me – what makes it so ‘OMG-Bloody Hell-Wow…’? The mountains are amazing, the village is perfectly nestled below, but I think it’s the lines that lead us into the picture and the stories they might tell. The road I’m on, down to the village where unknown joys await. The great mountain valley in the middle of the picture that leads the eye, and perhaps (we wish!) our feet, off to distant peaks and unknown, magical lands beyond, the grassy path that veers off to the right – actually a ski run – which takes us off into the forest, or the hidden valley on the left. And the shadow figure at the bottom, me, dreaming of which way to go.
It’s like a grand old landscape painting, full of all the possibilities of the great vistas of life. Full of what’s waiting for us, full of beyonds. I take no credit for it, it was there for the taking, so to speak. It’s what happens when you get on your bike, or take to your heels, and head off down unknown paths. Pure magical possibility awaits!
Now I’m obsessed with going into mountains and taking pictures with paths in…