nuances of individuality:

A Commentary on Friendship, Travel and Photography

hayley adam

This past July myself and two of my closest friends, Maddie and NataIia, travelled from Paris to Athens and then to the Greek Islands of Naxos and Tinos. Thinking back to this time I recall mornings spent at cafés in Paris; always outside at the round tables, espressos for Maddie and Natalia, an allongé for me. I think of the first night in Tinos; dinner under grape vines, empty bottles of wine, the evening ending in dancing on the countertop of a bar alongside strangers. I think about our last day; Maddie and I floating far out in the ocean, the bus ride back to town, speeding past Greek valleys and fields of tomatoes drying out in the setting sun. A sweet sigh for times past.

Of course, it was not all idyllicy. There were the realities of travelling that go unrecalled in recollections, as well. Moments that I feel are important to recount in a retrospective for fear of over-   romanticizing. Sour moods, times in which you feel one way but know you should feel another, irritability, homesickness. Yet I find recounting these travels interesting due to exactly such. For what do I remember, what do I choose to forget and what is it that Maddie and Natalia think back to when they recount our time abroad themselves? How different do we all recall the same moments?

Travelling with two women, two close friends brought with it this natural commentary on the inherent nuances of individuality and perception. We are always viewing the world around us differently; it’s perception unique to each individual. In what we notice, resonate with, care about. Yet to me, it’s through travelling that this individual essence is most prominent. For with travel comes a heightened sense of awareness, a regard for moments that may otherwise have gone unnoticed. I believe it’s here that the medium for our differing perceptions lies as well; in photographs. In the images that the three of us took throughout the span of our travels.

An image is a moment of resonation paired with the urge to document it, to be granted a ‘click’ and a permanent place on a strip of film. They are the physical artefacts of one’s glance of perception. So accordingly, throughout our travels, Maddie and Natalia’s images differed from my own. The colour of a bed sheet drying on a line catches one woman's eye. The harmony of a street scene; two old men sat at a café sipping espresso as a scooter zooms by, is noticed by another. While the way that the setting sun imprints shadows of passers-by’s onto a white washed wall, is admired by the last. How odd is it, I kept thinking, that three individuals can move throughout the same space, travelling side by side, and see, somehow, such different worlds.

These images are the glimpses that I caught of moments fleeting past. They are my portion of our travels story. They are my friends and their world that I will attempt, endlessly, to tenderly understand. They are my perceptions of destinations that I now decipher as memories of a summer past.

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