a road somewhere

A road in the late afternoon some 60 kilometers North of Alor Star on the way to Padang Besar, Malaysia's border town with Thailand.

The lure of a road and its promise of a journey to somewhere else.

The narrative of this road is simple enough to read, heading with reasonable assurance across flat rice fields towards a distant horizon, shepherding the irrigation canal beside it. A ribbon of pink dust accompanying a similarly linear companion of glassy blue sky. But gaze intently at the point on the horizon at which it vanishes and imagine. Feel the road's power as you explore its possibilities with your mind. Surrender to the overwhelming urge to seek out its truth. Be fearless. Travel.
The road's simple narrative unfolds...



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From this page you can begin several journeys as told through photography.
But what makes a good photograph?

A fluke of light? an unusual combination of colours? a landscape which seems to have composed itself specifically to please our eye? an interesting coalescence of elements? a moment either poignant or mundane within the realm of human experience with which we can identify?

Given that composition, balance, the way light and shade renders form, all have a role to play, beyond these it must be the subject which will most likely engage us with an image.

In a dynamic constantly fluid world, the frozen instant in time that is photography, success has more to do with luck, at the end of the day, than anything else. No more than being at the right place at the right time with a camera in hand.

Sometimes this 'right time' is just a fleeting moment, before the wondrous conjunction of events dissipates and the picture is lost to all but time travelers. At other times, it only arrives after waiting patiently for hours on the gut-instinct that something will eventually reveal itself.

As for these pictures of a road somewhere in Northern Malaysia, I just happened to be passing at a particular time of day when nature worked her special magic upon the land, painting it with this incredible combination of rich colours. "Click.." Yes!



the road's simple narrative unfolds...



All is serene. Suddenly, two women on bicycles sweep into the picture chatting light-heartedly as they ride past. They are beautifully dressed in traditional Malay kebaya.

The delicate sound of their tyres crunching upon the pink dirt road and the friendly inoffensive rattle of tin mudguards on their old Chinese-made bicycles accompanies their unhurried journey. The road gives up one of its secrets. Its leads to a village somewhere out of sight. Perhaps the road sweeps round towards the left and their homes are picturesquely tucked up against that spectacular limestone cliff.

As the pair trundle into the distance the shadow of a cloud engulfs the foreground and overtakes them. Pink dirt gracefully ages to magenta. Bright sunlight breaks out upon the distant limestone hill as if to keep the world of light and shade in harmonious balance.

    I will return one day.

or continue the journey?
  © datkinson@rmit.edu.au