Two Kings / Three Kings

Often creating a satisfactory theme or series of photographs is a long and slow process, but occasionally inspiration comes in a flood and pictures are to be found everywhere. The visit to Petra, the ancient Nabatean city in the mountains of Jordan was one of the latter. Over 800 buildings still survive from this city of 25,000 people, built between 600BC and 747AD when it was lost in an earthquake. Or rather - the access to it was lost, for the city survived - a secret of the Bedouin until it was rediscovered in 1812 by the Swiss explorer JL Burckhardt. He, and the Scottish painter David Roberts, brought the story of Petra back to the west, and sadly, more damage has since been inflicted on the place by treasure hunters and cultural pirates than the ravages of the previous millennium.

Fascinating as the ruins are, none are portrayed here. I was completely captivated by the colours and patterns of the rocks and mineral deposits that form this body of work. Nature’s hand had sculpted and painted the most beautiful abstract patterns in wonderful vivid and vibrant colours on the sandstone rocks and walls. Most of what you see here is true - if a little enhanced by the photographic and printing process. The exceptions being "Waves" and "Cruciform", both of which are complete fabrications, and "Three kings" shown above, which has only two in the negative. However, the more I explored and experimented with the hues and tones, the more often I discovered that I couldn’t improve on nature’s original.

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