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Traveling Light
The Seattle Times
Traveling Light
Paris, France Provence, France Teotitlan del Valle, Mexico San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Teotitlan del Valle, Mexico

I am standing in a sunny courtyard attached to a small church. I had intended to visit the church - home to the colorful wax flower candles for which this town is known.

But here in the courtyard I find remnants of the town's recent Christmas parade. Placards with Jesus and the Virgin of Guadalupe, Coca-Cola bottles, other parade bric-a-brac, all much more interesting to me than the candles.

I pantomime to the caretaker, a young man with a poorly repaired cleft lip, that I would like to take pictures. It's hard to describe photography with this odd camera, but he nods his permission.

I spend the next hour there, with him. He helps me get more water for my baggies. He nods his approval over the Polaroids. A couple of rag-tag kids ride in on their bicycles to watch. It's so quiet because I know no Spanish, and there are no words except for the common language of the Polaroids. When I am finished, I give the young man a couple of the pictures. He smiles at me with his lopsided smile and carries them gently away.

In pinhole photography, the subjects are, by necessity, things that hold still: architecture, ruins, landscapes. During the long exposures, people passing through the scene disappear entirely, or create a ghostly effect if they stand still long enough. There is a certain Zen-like meditation involved in waiting for the exposures to complete. During that time I sometimes get an eerie sense of the past.

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All photos used in Traveling Light may not be used without
expressed written consent from Rosanne Olson

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