Deconstrucing a photograph

Blog - Phil-osophy on Landscape Photography > Deconstrucing a photograph
22/03/2014 - 03:43





'The Fleeting and the Infinite’ - The Salty, Teign Estauary




''For the perfect idler, for the passionate observer it becomes an immense source of enjoyment to establish his dwelling in the throng, in the ebb and flow, the bustle, the fleeting and the infinite. To be away from home and yet to feel at home anywhere; to see the world, to be at the very centre of the world, and yet to be unseen of the world, such are some of the minor pleasures of those independent, intense and impartial spirits, who do not lend themselves easily to linguistic definitions. The observer is a prince enjoying his incognito wherever he goes.''



Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet





'The Fleeting and the Infinite’  is a photograph I made in 2013 that continues to fascinate me. I decided to stop and reflect upon why I think it works for me.



The vibrantly painted fishing boat ‘Dixie’, is seen glowing in the soft & transient early morning light, upon the shingle beds of the ‘The Salty’ at Shaldon. The Salty, with its plentiful collection of blue mussels (Mytilus edulis), lies very close to the rivermouth of the Teign.



Whilst the soft & transient early morning sky doesn’t bestow upon us the most remarkable light, it gives modelling of form and strong textural detail as it softly falls upon the shingle beds of the ‘The Salty’. The light, despite its softness, is subtly directional still which adds something in itself to the picture. It is a type of light that is unencumbered by harsh specular highlights on the water (as a clear blue sky would produce); there is minimal haze in the distance; the clouds have a sense of drift, away from the viewer which in itself maybe implies a change to more fortuitous weather?


The low tide has left a wonderfully sculpted pool that mirrors the orange belly of the fishing boat, shapes we wouldn’t see at a higher tide. The orange fluorescent tones are repeated in the mooring buoys receding behind the fishing boat, this connection of tones works harmoniously (yet subtly creates depth due to the juxtaposition of scale of orange objects and their recession).


These elements of the photograph seem to create a narrative that is one of invitation to ‘step inside’, to be invited into the depths, to explore our own questions. It seems to be a bottled moment, one that tells a story of time, space and place… yet leaves the ending open.





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