Sometimes one picture can trigger a thousand memories--especially when the subject is a symbol for a trip filled with happy experiences.
An advertising campaign provokes your imagination as it seeks contributions: "Close your eyes and think of England." Symbols flood the brain. I cannot think of England without remembering Big Ben, Stonehenge, London theater and the very first left-hand turn I make after picking up a rental car at Heathrow. But I first remember the red telephone call boxes.
A recent trip to the Scottish Highlands began with the warnings that it might be a long way between towns and that not all towns had petrol stations. Some towns, in fact, were only a cluster of houses with a call box. And some "towns" might only be the call box itself. Armed with that warning, I set out from Mallaig on the west coast to find Bracora on Loch Morar, Scotland's deepest loch. Lo and behold, Bracora proved to be a wide spot on a single-lane road, 7 miles off a highway. Bracora counted two houses, several grazing cows, and a red telephone box that is Bracora's link with the outside world. A charming 1983 British film, "Local Hero," made good use of one small Scottish town's red-box link to America. It became the symbol for the local hero's responsibility to his boss back home and his infatuation with the town where he was working.
As photographic subjects, symbols call back many memories. Just as baguette bread loaves are a widespread symbol for France, the red phone boxes are everywhere in Britain--sometimes even in the middle of nowhere.