Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ode to a Chair (And Some Windows)

(Please click on the photos to make them bigger.)

When I travel, I seem to be drawn to photographing windows and doors.  And chairs.

The windows and doors intrigue me, I guess, because they hint at the mysteries that lie within.  I always want to open the door or peer in the window, but I never do.  I just take a photograph.

I even made a series of notecards featuring Greek windows.  Here (above and below) are eight of the shots.

Chairs, especially the caned taverna chairs that you see all over Greece, often painted blue, seem poignant to me, as if they’ve been abandoned or are waiting in vain for the old Greek men who used to sit in them, drinking ouzo or coffee and playing tavli, all the while clicking their worry beads in one hand.

Just now, when I traveled to Nicaragua, I was fascinated by the beautiful chairs I saw everywhere there—which were mostly rocking chairs—wicker or bentwood, Thonet style.  They were so graceful and elegant, with their S curves and lacey designs. (The wicker ones piled together  below are in a colonial mansion in Granada which is being restored.)

La Gran Francia, our hotel in Granada, even had some chairs attached to the wall as decoration.
In Granada, every small shop seemed to have a rocking chair inside or outside the front door, where the proprietor could sit and watch the world go by.  Many small homes had the same thing.

In wealthier homes, the rocking chairs were on the inside—usually near the central courtyard, positioned to take advantage of the garden views and the cool breezes that would flow through the house because the huge doors were left open, protected by wrought iron gates.

When we traveled to the island of Ometepe, created by two linked volcanoes in Lake Nicaragua, every little casita had its rocking chairs on the veranda, so you could sit and admire the view of the lake below, seen through the tropical trees, with background music from the monkeys and exotic birds.
Life in Nicaragua seemed so much slower and more contemplative, and everything was designed to make the most of the view. 
And when we traveled to Playa del Coco, staying in one of several villas looking out at the waves of the Pacific Ocean, there were plenty of rocking chairs or Adirondack chairs placed for the enjoyment of the surf and the sunset, which was different every night but never failed to provide lights and colors better than any Fourth of July fireworks display.

One of the lessons learned in Nicaragua was to just sit and rock and really take the time to appreciate the view/ sunset/ breeze or passing street scene.  I think that’s part of what Dominique Browning was talking about when she entitled her blog Slow Love Life. 

1 comment:

Mariana said...

Hi, Joan. Gretings from Brazil! Beautiful photos. I googled `Greek windows` and was happy to find your blog. I was wondering if you could send me a copy of the window/alcove picture in the first picture series that depicts a mermaid and some ships. I want to use that as inspiration for a painting. Thank you, Mariana.