Bold and creative uses of color never fail to inspire me, and my wanderlust most strongly draws me to places with vivid landscapes and colorful traditions. So when I was nominated by Ashley of No Onions Extra Pickles (and renominated by Lauren of Ephemerratic) to participate in the Capture the Colour contest, I knew I could have fun with the concept of capturing five colors with five travel pictures.
When I put together collections of photos on this site, I like thinking of individual pictures as puzzle pieces that give a larger sense of place when combined. I decided to base my submission on one destination of many colors that I’ve gotten to know well — Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico. For each photo, I took into consideration ideas behind the colors and how the way the red, yellow, green, blue, and white are depicted capture a bit of the essence of Oaxaca:
RED: Mexico is a place of celebration, and Oaxaca takes on this characteristic with vigor. It is known for its lighthearted festivals such as its annual July celebration of indigenous culture as well as its skull and altar filled Day of the Dead festivities. On this day, a banner of red and white pendant flags that was put up for a celebration was blowing in the breeze and creating vibrant shadows on the street below.
YELLOW: Weddings at the Santo Domingo church are often lively affairs that include music and dance performances in Santo Domingo square and processions through the streets of Oaxaca’s Centro. On the day I arrived in the city for the first time, I came across one of these celebrations and it was an excellent introduction to the spirit of Oaxaca. These ladies who were part of the wedding procession were glowing from the inside out in these cheerful outfits.
GREEN: In contrast to the buildings of Oaxaca’s city center which are painted in the brightest shades of the rainbow, the natural landscape of Oaxaca state is ruggedly earthy and grounding. This is reflected in the abundance of hardy cactus and agave plants that thrive in the dusty soil there. I found this glorious giant agave in the Oaxaca Ethnobotanical garden where the presentation of plants is a creatively arranged microcosm of the state’s landscape.
BLUE: In various ways, Oaxaca is filled with quiet and steadfast refusal to give in. Oaxaca state has one of the largest indigenous populations in Mexico and many have been able to hold on to their cultures far beyond colonialism. In Oaxaca city, a burgeoning street art scene tells of opinions on social issues that are churning beneath the seemingly reserved surface. I was intrigued when I saw this bright blue paint — likely from some unsanctioned art piece — that had streamed down the bricks and escaped being painted over.
WHITE: It rains often summertime Oaxaca, but when it’s dry, clouds artfully fill the sky and add so much to the scenery. I often found myself looking up at the ever evolving canvas above as much as I observed the scenes around me.