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Polaroid Unfaded: Surrounded by Reflections

By Darren Brogan Feb 16, 2017

In 2014, my wife and I decided to take a 7 month break from work and travel the world. It's something that we'd wanted to do for a long time and it turned out to be a phenomenal experience.

My love for photography is intertwined with my love for travel and exploring new places. So the trip was a perfect opportunity to experience new places and photograph things I simply could not imagine photographing at home in Scotland.

Our trip took us from Scotland to Japan, through South East Asia to Singapore, through New Zealand and then onto South America. The range of landscapes and cultures we sampled was amazing and I came home with some special memories and some very special photographs.

Of all the photographs I took on the trip, this one was my favourite. It was taken on the vast Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia just as the sun was setting. We woke up early that morning and met with some fellow travellers before setting off onto the salt flats.

It was great getting to know the members of our group, a couple form South Korea and another couple from Japan, as we raced across the worlds largest salt flats for the best part of day.

The place is incredible to visit, the scale of it is incomprehensible and it is littered with points of interest. We paid a visit to the Train Graveyard, full of rich Bolivian mining history. Afterwards, we visited the fascinating salt pyramids and grabbed some lunch at the picturesque Isla Incahuasi on a table and chairs made entirely from salt.

The main event was our final destination, the sunset view point. We made our way to an area on the flats that was covered in a thin layer of water. The water was perfectly still and when the sun started to drop, we were treated to the most amazing spectacle we'd ever seen.

The land and sky blended together with some mesmerising reflections and silhouettes. The colourful sky was flawlessly reflected in the water below and the reflections of people walking around were just jaw-dropping.

As the sun approached the horizon, I asked my wife if she wouldn't mind taking a stroll towards the sun and it was in that moment that I captured this image. The silhouette, the colours, the reflections...just perfect. For me, the image is a perfect reminder of our adventures together and it's one that I will no doubt cherish for years to come.

Strangely enough, I seldom print photographs, but for this trip I made an exception and chose to print a small selection. This one image I considered to be my favourite above all of the others. I keep it on display at home and when I see it or pick it up, it instantly transports me back to Bolivia… reminding me of how it felt to watch the sun fade away surrounded by reflections. 

I often consider myself to be a digital photographer, I never owned a film camera of my own. So to me, simply holding a physical print in and of itself feels a little nostalgic and a throwback to years gone by. It therefore feels even more important and apt to have a printed version of this image because I enjoy the nostalgic sentiment it embodies and the memories it helps me recall.