What things turn up most in your travel photos?
In most of my photos, there are buildings or parts of buildings because I love architecture. I have a worldwide traveller-friend whose photos almost always feature people.
And then there’s the family story of my brother-in-law who took a once-in-a-lifetime cruise with his wife to Greece and the Greek Islands and was put in charge of the camera. When they got home and had the photos printed, it turned out almost all the photos were of fruits, vegetables and their trees. There was no Parthenon or Santorini sunset, but almost 100 photos of fig trees. My sister-in-law was furious, but he defended his actions saying all those Mediterranean plants reminded him of his childhood farm in Lebanon, a place he hadn’t seen in over 50 years. No matter, my sister-in-law was still furious.
So when my husband and I travel and come across some vegetation that warrants a photo, we now traditionally announce that we are taking a “Sam Photo”. When I took several photos from underneath some olive trees just outside Assisi on a 2009 solo trip, I thought of my brother-in-law and gleefully snapped away. Later that night when I spoke to my husband via Skype, he asked if I got some good photos of Assisi, and I reported that instead of the charming town, my camera was full of Sam Photos. Olive trees and more olive trees!
My latest 2.5″ square miniature is inspired by one of my so-called Sam Photos: “Assisi Olives”. I was on a hiking vacation on the Subasio Mountain outside Assisi in late October, and walked past this olive grove every day to get into town. I had never seen olive trees weighed down with so much ripening fruit, awaiting the upcoming harvest. My inner-Sam encouraged me to jump into the fields and start taking pictures. Later in that trip, I got to visit a frantoio (olive mill) to sample the season’s first pressing of olive oil – the mill owner grilled some bread in a huge fireplace and drizzled this spicy green goodness onto the toasted bread with a sprinkle of coarse salt. I can still taste it!
After painting this piece, I now understand some of my brother-in-law’s fascination with plants and how they can encourage precious memories. Taking a bunch of Sam Photos every now and again is good for the soul!
(To purchase this new original artwork, visit my Shop)