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An Interesting New Library Entrance

Friday, October 21, 2016

Anybody notice anything strange about those doors. It's not the fact that a carving of a giant canoe paddle handle – an ao – graces the front. It's the fact that it's a library door, primarily used by children and located right next to the grade school, and there's no way for a child to reach the handles. I'm sure there's an explanation, but I'm going to have to ask around. The two totems stand closer to the street right in front.

 k to regular shooting and posting. Except for a couple of days, we've had a stretch of not so good weather. On top of that I''ve been working with a mildly upset stomach, probably fighting something off. One day we worked helping Dennis and Maruka clean up the large yard and I've spent some time Helping Helga set up to move from a PC to her Mac – always a chore but this has the added blessing of being all in Spanish. And then there's getting Petra started into Photoshop on her PC – in German. But hey, I think I've got a handle on it now.

Reflections on – The Moon has been Eaten

     I know, I know, no posting in a week. No excuses, just doing "other" stuff, putting up with sucky weather and doing some thinking – always dangerous.

     In the middle of that week there was one fairly clear, sunny day so we spent it driving around the island, visiting a number of the areas where I worked for the book – not the ones that require a lot of hiking. That's what sparked my bout of rethinking things. Wow, the difference.

     I began the Easter Island trip with a plan to expand my B&W portfolio with a comrehensive ehibit of Island work. I soon encountered Fred Picker's book of B&W images from the early 70s and decided it was time for an update. From then to 2006 the Island had changed dramitically. In fact I have come to believe that, in spite of inevitable changes, we arrived here at pretty much the pinnacle of opportunity for Island photography, at least in B&W. This trip is pretty much confirming the other end of that.

     I don't like to complain about the inevitable changes of time, what is, is. A lot of things have improved here in the last ten years, bringing along new problems of course. The population has probably doubled, mostly from Chileans visiting and staying. The number of cars has probably tripled, rough. Roads are a "little" better, accessibility to imported foods has improved greatly while prices have tripled there too – a big ouch.

     Sights that one sees in my book are definitely more accessable, the ones that are not now off limits. But that also means they are blocked off at night and more formally controlled when you can get in. Oh, it costs now – ouch again. Then there's all those things they have to do to keep the greatly enlarged influx of tourists off the monuments – signs, barriers, trail linings, etc. Doesn't do much for serious photography.

     At the same time another ten years of rain, wind and weather have had their effect. Not so much on the larger monuments as on the petroglyphs. I already had a difficult time with them a decade ago, working only with the sun at a low angle to make them stand out. I wouldn't want to be going there now.

     One thing is still the same – the weather and lighting are so problematic that it takes up to ten times longer and ten times the energy expenditure here to get good shots. Heck, you can't even place one foot in front of the other in the field without double checking for little killer rocks hidden in the grass – it takes work to find those foot-size clearings in which to walk. Ankles beware. And the maunga climbing, uh. Combine that with the fact that we are ten years older, I really wouldn't want to have to do all that over again.

     One little opportunity has come up that is interesting. There now a sort of open bus that circles the Island (sort of) every hour during the day. One ticket covers the day – get off and on one whenever and wherever you want or need. Sure solves the old problem of how to get to the beginning and home from the end of a hike around Terevaka – cool.

     Coming back from this little tour I took out Terry's copy of the book, and later opened my PDF on my iPad to review the recent additions. And came to a couple of conclusions.


     A large number of the scenic images in my book could not be duplicated today, what with access issues, weathering, changes, etc. And of course the pictures of people are moments frozen in time. In a short decade the images have become less a portrait of Easter Island as it is and more of a portrait of what it was and never will be again. A time when two planes arrived a week, instead of eight. A time when Rapanui outnumbered non-Rapanui. A time described in text that I am now so glad that I worked so hard to put into the book. It is my portrait of Rapa Nui right on the edge, the dividing line between a land existing in a half-way world between the old and the new, and the modern world that they are now part of.

     I have a new sense of the importance of the book. At the same time I still have about half of the printing and would like to get them out there – working on ideas. Not to mention the issue of how to incorporate the almost 50 images added after the first 98 – man that PDF is getting huge. And then there's the potential for an exhibit of the larger prints – out of the 150 or so images I would like to be able to include 80 to 100. Something to work on when we get back.

     Will I add to the B&W folio this trip? Probably by at least a couple. But they should be very different – my interests are more in shooting around town now, with the smaller camera and even the iPhone camera. I'll have to see how that turns out.

Two more copies of the Books on the Island:

     I've had one experience this visit involving the book. We ran into Eddie and PiaTuki, the subject of Rapanui Couple, and had a nice long, if occasionally language-problematic, chat. Fortunately the waitress spoke English so could help out some. It seems that their copy of the book had been filched. I had only brought two copies with me this trip (50 are already spread around the Island) – they are so darned heavy to include in luggage, and was a bit worried about how to decide where they should go. I immediately relieved myself of the problem. I gave one to them and the other to the waitress – problem solved. Not a good idea to bring so few.

An Idea – gotta think this one through some more:

     With the way books are printed now, to- order, it occurs to me that there might be a unique opportunity here: personalized versions. Digitally printed books, the large size of the original, are limited to 100 pages. For a "customized edition" I could let people make their own selection of 75 or so images from the PDF of all 150 – no extra work for me because I would already have made a print file containing all of the pages. Then I could even include any text on an intro page that they want – as it being a gift from one person to another, etc. Just the seed of an idea, but interesting.

     Took me some effort to convince Nan that this would actually be very little work. Simply create a print-ready PDF with all the pages in it and then select/delete form that version of the file when ordering. I'm not sure the whole idea would interest me as a purchaser, but Nan says she would love it – selecting just those images wanted. Of course there would be a number of suggestions in the selection PDF that would be posted. Hmmmm.