Fork in the road
In this short review, I am looking at a photo called “Fork in the road.” I want to discuss why I placed Ophelia at the point she stood, and the process of visualisation I used to get the shot.
When we are out taking photos, we see a lot of opportunities that we know will make the perfect shot. Sometimes we can get the image in that instance, and sometimes we need to revisit the place a few times to get the shot spot on.
So, the Fork in the Road image was one I had visualised with or without the willing model
standing there. The main part of the image was that of the fork in the road. This is where I
have to have the dreaded Artist Statement
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When visualising the scene before me, I was drawn to writings of Søren Kierkegaard, and how we have life choices as if we were wandering through a metaphysical forest. Ophelia, being young and free of life’s constraints is able to stand in the sun with a certainty of where she wants to go.
Looking at the junction, the choices are to carry on along the road or to head to the right. As the sunlight is entering from the left, it is as if it wants to direct the decision to go to the right. We may conjecture that you would be walking towards the darkness, and this is a trap about to be sprung.
Life presents us with complex choices, which at first glance seem to be simple, but as we make these choices we soon learn that our journey is one were turning around to go in the opposite direction is not a straightforward path back to a better place.
As a side point to all of this, I was listening to the Negative Positives Podcast #233, where Mike Gutterman and his guests poo, poo’d the concept of Artist Statements. This I will suggest is a bit like saying “All dogs have four legs. My cat has four legs so therefore it is a dog.”
While I agree there are a lot of artistic statements go well beyond the drabness of the image in at attempt to promote its pedigree. Those examples should not be the excuse for us mere motals to hold back on expressing the emotions and feelings you had when creating the image. Remember, it is a case that if they don’t understand your genuine statement, they are looking at things in a very superficial way.
Ok, artist statement over, but by facing Ophelia towards the sun, I have not answered the question. I want the viewer to consider which way she should be going. There is, of course, the option to walk back the way she has come, but the scene really does not lend itself to that outcome, visually.
The other point about the shot is that Ophelia takes up such a small amount of the image, but she is the subject. This is achieved by both the placement into the late afternoon sun, and the stance she makes. It allows us to see her first, and then to follow first the shadow to the right and through the rest of the scene. It allows us to live within the split second on the image with less consciousness that we’re looking a frozen moment in time.
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