29 Sep 2013

Digital skies: watercolors in Isan

When people think of Thailand, what usually comes to mind is the inclined roof of a golden temple, the expansive curve of a white beach, the majesty of an Asian elephant, the skyline of a chaotic metropolis or the smile of a beautiful woman. No question you will find them all, North or South; actually, it will be quite difficult for you to avoid any of them as you travel around the country. However, for me, and as iconic as those landmarks might be, there is another image that takes center stage and automatically appears in my imagination whenever I ask myself what is the strongest, most vivid idea I have formed of this beautiful country over these 3 years, and the answer is clear. 

Serenity, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Stillness, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm 
Pride, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
October in Isan: endless rice fields brimming with life, softly caressed by the breeze; lush greens expanding to the horizon, free of tethers; profoundly blue skies with shreds of stray, white clouds dancing their way throughout. Maybe melancholy plays a big part here (but obviously it does!) as the first time I visited Isan it was in October, 2 years ago, and ever since then the images of its landscapes have stayed with me, firmly rooted in my mind.

The scar, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Intrusion, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Witnesses, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
I have returned a few times since my first visit, but at different times of the year, when the rice fields are dry or barely grown, and it was not until this weekend that I have had the chance to go back at this same time of the year again. I was really excited to let my eyes sink into the beauty of the views, once again.

Silent grit, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Stirred grit, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm 
Rumor, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
The water path & the dragonfly, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
There is nothing much I can add in written form here, words prove unnecessary when the colors and emotions are so transparent and expressive on their own. I will just let them speak for themselves.

Horizons, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Bogged down cloud, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Observer, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Romance between a barn & a pond, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Embrace, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Farewell, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
As much as I love the scapes and colors of these lands, there is more to Isan than purely ground and sky, and the third element to form the essential triangle is, of course, people. People from Isan is humble and hard-working, friendly and welcoming; I knew that before, and this weekend I had the chance to reconfirm that impression: the ochre ground is to the people as the crib to the baby: a place you cannot (or don't want) to escape from, yet the place where you feel most at home. For all of them, my most sincere gratitude.

Family motion, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Assistance, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Ahead, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Reassurance, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm 
The lookout in the watchtower I, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm 
The lookout in the watchtower II, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm

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