Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Molokai = Tranquility

Each Hawaiian island indelibly leaves a unique imprint on a photographer's mind/I/soul. For example - for me - Oahu , while indisputably lovely and a photographer's paradise, is somewhat of a tropical version of a fast-paced (at least by "island" standards, as all the Hawaiian islands are decidedly "slow" by mainland standards!) mainland resort, and leaves me both relaxed and a bit anxious to go somewhere "quieter" after a brief stay. To be sure, much of Oahu's "fast pace" is arguably confined to Waikiki, Honolulu and their neighboring areas, and much of the rest of Oahu (particularly its eastern and northern shore regions) induces a feeling much closer to what I associate with Kauai (see below) than to how I have characterized it here. Nonetheless, since my experience of this island has always been anchored to Waikiki (and Honolulu), Oahu unfortunately remains in the category of "extraordinary place to visit for a few days, but..."

The Big Island is full of nervous energy and mystery, as though it is still unsure what to make of itself or where it wants to go. It feels unsettled. While this unfocused energy undoubtedly provides a creative spark, it makes it hard to completely still my inner world; which is something I must therefore always consciously devote some of my own energies to do whenever I am on the Big Island. I therefore typically leave the Big Island feeling both exhilarated (for having seen so many wonderful sights) and exhausted (for having to counter the Big Island's yin with a bit of yang).

Maui contains many scenic wonders (Haleakala, Hana, and the Sacred Pools, to mention but a few), but is - for my tastes - too commercialized. The seemingly endless parade of pristine new golf courses, while clearly a welcome sight for some, takes much away from a "pure" experience of the natural Hawaiian splendor. Maui thus always leaves me longing for a simpler, less glitzy, Hawaii; somewhere where the gentle whisper of the land and trade winds can still be heard above the modern din. I am sad for Maui, as its heritage and true self seems to be slowly, but inexorably, eroding.

Kauai holds the dearest spot in my heart, as it is a perfect blend of old and new, and displays some of the most awe-inspiring natural beauty on earth. If there were one place on earth I could choose to live, it would be Kauai. I equate Kauai with rejuvenation; physical, spiritual, and artistic.

Thus, finally, we get to Molokai: a simple, quiet, tranquil oasis of the deepest, most ineffable calm that I have ever experienced!

I am convinced that time comes slowly to a stop (and if not a full stop, certainly to no more than a crawl;-) halfway between wherever it is you start your journey to Molokai and your first step onto this special place.

You become oblivious to everything - every time - except for the eternal now.

For me, Molokai is tranquility, for that is the state of mind I am always in whenever I am lucky enough to visit. Just "being in Molokai" is akin to performing effortless meditation.

The hard part - speaking now as a photographer - is to find ways of expressing how I feel about Molokai in my images. Unfortunately, I've yet to hit my mark! I guess I'll just have to go back for another tranquil, timeless, effortless meditation ;-)


Gary Nylander said...

Hi Andrew,

Nice to see some fine new work !, I love the black and white images, and agree with the Waimea Canyon in Color image, some images just don' work that well in black and white , oh well at least you can admire nature's beauty with your mind's eye!

Anonymous said...

Your images of Moloka`i are beautiful. I am lucky enough to have met and married a man from Moloka`i and now call it home. But, food for thought, the tranquility you have experienced here is no accident; rather, it is the result of concerted efforts of many residents to stay the hand of overdevelopment and commercialization. Hopefully generations to come will be able to experience this island the way you have and others will come to realize what a treasure it is...