TRAVEL PURSUITS—Winning pix from Colombia, winter 2015

We are pleased to announce the winner of our trip, Colombia: A paradise where reality and magic blur. Our judge this time was Alex Fiscalini, painter, photographer, graphic artist, and art director.

Alex was drawn right away to this photo by Christine Croucher of Forest, Ontario. Christine has been toting a camera for a while now. Visit her recently launched a website to view more of her wonderful photographs.

Street scene in Medillen
Street scene in Medellin


CHRISTINE: The picture was taken in Medellin, the morning we were walking around the shopping district.  As we crossed the intersection to walk down the street with the row of shops (or money laundering sites, if our guide was correct) I saw this man sitting there and felt compelled to capture him.  There were several things that drew me to the scene:  (1) The fact that the cart was empty.  Was he waiting for a load of something to be delivered, had it just been taken, what was it?  (2) The cart itself: homemade, sturdy, made of found materials, looked like it could carry a load, multipurpose; indicative to me of the industriousness and versatility of the Colombian people.  (3) His physicality:  He looked in shape, somewhat muscular, with a face that looked as though it had seen a lot, yet his pose was calm and purposeful; a worker, not a vagrant.  (4) The background:  the blue colour caught my eye, and it toned with the colour of his jeans.  The graffiti was simply a part of Colombia, being everywhere.

ALEX: Right away, the composition of: blue wall, man, and trolley, captured my attention. Further in detail, the story between these three elements grabbed my curiosity. Inevitably, the expression and posture of the man drew me into this photo. His intent glance at what he must be observing, where he came from, and where he’ll go opens an entire story beyond this single moment the photographer was able to take. The fluidity of this process has me fixated amongst the many beautiful photos taken for this contest.
And because there were a couple others that bedazzled Alex, here are his runners up. The Bogotá rooftops photo is also by Christine Croucher. The photo of perennial flirt Paul Ortega of San Mateo, California, was submitted by Judy Franklin of Toronto.

Cathedral rooftop in Bogota
Cathedral rooftop in Bogota


CHRISTINE: The cathedral rooftop in Bogotá was taken from the window of my hotel.   It was the beauty of the architecture that got me on that one, combined with the lovely colour of the building in the perfect late afternoon light. The dark brooding clouds in the background seemed an ideal backdrop for the complexity and darkness of Colombia and for me added a lot to the scene.

ALEX:  The depth and detail of this photo stopped me in my tracks to take in the grandeur of this church, with its graceful architecture and weighty presence. You can almost feel the sun hitting your back and wind carrying the storm away.

Paul Ortega and magic realism
Paul Ortega and magic realism


JUDY: While we were exploring the streets of Cartagena, I saw this charming painted wooden mermaid—easily a universal symbol of love and beauty—on the wall. Cartagena is a Caribbean resort town with its walled old town and its flashy Miami-ish shoreline, and a mermaid belongs there! Paul was walking behind me and when I saw him I asked him to pose with the mermaid.  He’s so funny and up for anything. When he walked up to her it didn’t take him a second to instinctively place his hand on her boob. I submitted this picture as it shows this raunchy senior having a laugh, reflecting our group’s spirited camaraderie. I won’t tell you what Paul said in the process.

ALEX: The sunny pastel colour combination and casual hilarity of the scene cause giggles to bubble up and the wish to have been there.

Congratulations to Christine and Judy! And thanks to Judge Alex. Stay tuned for the winning photo from our Flannery O’Connor trip to Savannah and Milledgeville.

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