In looking through the archives of photos I’ve taken, I often see recurring themes develop. Often I’m conscious of these trends; I like to take photographs of certain colours, say, or of modernist architecture in unusual places. Sometimes, however, strange themes occur within my work without my having been aware. Like, for instance, these images of National Park toilets. Looking over them individually, I can recall why I took each individual photo: I liked the offbeat composition of the outhouse and boulders in Joshua Tree; I was caught by the pattern of light inside men’s room at My Son; I was amused by the way the ablutions at Great Zimbabwe were made to mirror the historic architecture of the ruins—but looked at as a recurring theme, it comes off a little strange. This isn’t exactly a regularly recurring subject of mine (there are, after all, only five such photos between a period from 2003 to 2008)—yet still frequent enough to warrant notice. The best explanation I can provide is that one of the larger themes I explore in my photography is the more mundane aspects of travel and tourism—and thus these images of themed National Park restrooms have found their way into my collection. Does that make it seem any less odd?
Pictured (from top): Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria, South Africa; Joshua Tree NP, California, US; My Son, Vietnam; Tikal, Guatemala; Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe.