What lies beneath in the temples of Myanmar
The last time my feet were given an airing in this column was in our October 10-11 issue last year, propped up at a Miami Beach, tanning nicely.
Now they are back, in Myanmar’s history-rich Bagan, on a temple floor worn smooth by the tread of Buddhist pilgrims. I love that the tiles are mismatched, some are missing and have been replaced with blank pieces, or added to with random designs. The fact the pattern is all a bit crazy makes it all the more delightful.
Pictures of bare toes may seem boring, or even distasteful, but the world of Instagram is full of happy feet, many posted on dedicated feeds, such as @parisianfloors (one-guy one-city one-perspective). This French chap, photographer Sebastian Erras, does wear shoes, and they’re rather pricey-looking pairs; the floors he chooses are divine, all tiled and mostly mosaic, from hotels to great civic institutions. I look forward to his daily posts and imagine my own feet placed in these exotic surrounds, preferably in Bruno Magli peep-toe pumps.
I reckon such “footsies” are far more interesting than selfies, as most of us are not fabulously photogenic and who wants to follow someone who posts cheesy vanity snaps by the bucketload, unless they are your bestie friends or family members. I follow a handful of celebrities, mostly chefs and a few sports stars such as @izzyfolau. They don’t put up many pictures but just enough to make you feel connected.
Back to happy feet and judicious placement of same. They should be edging into the picture, not taking it over, and proof the photographer has been there, even if fleetingly, looking down and pausing awhile. In this there is the notion that we should appreciate more often what lies beneath. We are programmed to look out and up when travelling, which is fine. But at places of worship, footwear is often not allowed, so let’s revel in the elemental feel of flesh on cool floors. In Japan, white slip-on socks are often provided in winter at temples and shrines, but I have not encountered such a nicety elsewhere. So, “socksies”? Well, maybe.
Meantime, for those who think it riveting to travel the world taking pictures with a selfie stick, I really wish you’d just stay at home, kissing your mirror.
Follow on Instagram: @susankurosawa