Earth, Water, Fire and Air …

No, not the 70’s soul/funk band (!) but the four elements that are said to make up our world. I’ve been revisiting my travel photography recently, to immerse myself again in the trips I’ve taken and to rethink what I’ve captured and why. I head to South America later this year and hope to implement more of what I’ve learned on my recent trips with amazing photographers like Ewen Bell, Jamie Rose and Steve Davey.

                 fire-icon       earth-icon       water-icon       air-icon

Yesterday, a perfectly timed “Thomas Cook Explore the Elements Photoblogger Competition” dropped into my inbox; a vehicle to explore what I’ve already seen but looking for new stories in the images. Perfect!

Or so I thought … the reality of choosing from a variety of images, thinking carefully of the remit (which requires the images to  creatively illustrate the themes) and selecting my favourites is extremely difficult. My main discoveries were that almost every image captured more than one of the elements, that the four are inextricably linked and deciding which represents the element most powerfully is very difficult. Not only that, I couldn’t decide whether to be literal (my default approach unfortunately) or more oblique in my choices … representing the fluidity of water can be done is more ways than showing a fast flowing river.

My dilemma however was a pleasure. I’m looking more deeply into my images, sensing new and alternative messages in them and it is extremely rewarding. Irrespective of the competition I feel enriched. (That’s not to say that a prize wouldn’t be lovely …)

Here are the four I’ve chosen to represent each element, see what you think.

Nepal - October-November 2013.

Earth: Represents the hard, solid objects of the earth. Associated with stubbornness, collectiveness , physicality and gravity. (Or could it be Air, the freedom of movement and compassion of the prayer flags?) Muktinath, Nepal

Water: Represents the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world. Associated with emotion, defensiveness, adaptability, flexibility, suppleness, and magnetism. Children reach their six-month birthday and are initiated into the holy waters at Tirta Empul, Bali.

Water: Represents the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world. Associated with emotion, defensiveness, adaptability, flexibility, suppleness, and magnetism. When children reach their six-month birthday, they are initiated into the holy waters at the Buddhist Tirta Empul, Bali.

Fire: Represents the energetic, forceful, moving things in the world. Associated with security, motivation, desire, intention, and an outgoing spirit. Funeral Pyre at Pashupatinath Temple, Khatmandu, Nepal.

Fire: Represents the energetic, forceful, moving things in the world. Associated with security, motivation, desire, intention, and an outgoing spirit. Funeral Pyre at Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Air: Represents things that grow, expand, and enjoy freedom of movement. Associated with will, elusiveness, evasiveness, benevolence, compassion, and wisdom. (The release of tens of thousands of lanterns could just as easily represent, Earth and Air. It is an astonishing sight as wishes are tranported into the sky by the flames of the lanterns.) Yi Peng, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Air: Represents things that grow, expand, and enjoy freedom of movement. Associated with will, elusiveness, evasiveness, benevolence, compassion, and wisdom. (The release of tens of thousands of lanterns could just as easily represent, Earth and Fire. It is an astonishing sight as wishes are transported into the sky by the flames of the lanterns.) Yi Peng Festival, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The competition ends on 16th March so my fellow photobloggers have time to enter, why not have a go:

Natalie: nataliebanton.wordpress.com

Stephen: stephencotterell.com

Cat: cateasterbrook.com

Noor: touchofinsanity.wordpress.com

Steve: stevemcdonaldphotography.wordpress.com

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