Like last week’s photo, this is a contemplation on the separation of photo-perception from real situation.
Here we have a somewhat spooky image. I could have made it much spookier: as a black and white interpretation, with her shadow much stronger, and as a square crop. But I prefer the tension between the natural and the mysterious in this interpretation.
So often in a photo, just as so often in life, we don’t really know what’s going on. As in life, we are quick to snap to a judgement or a sense of “knowing.”
Here we have a figure, apparently a woman, in a rather severe gray raincoat, on a sunny day. The shadow, the mystery of the walkie talkie and paper; it’s a bit strange. Is she a spy? A military figure? She is alone in space with her dark shadow.
It turns out, she’s helping out at a horse show. I myself know nothing about her, but the odds are good that the reality is the opposite of what we impute from the photo. In fact, it’s a big and fun event. She is helpful, perhaps kind.
It’s amazing that a photo can reveal so much about a person or a landscape, an environment, an energetic situation, sometimes. But it’s just as amazing that the perception is just as often about our own reaction. It’s a reaction that can be played upon by the composition, the tones in the photograph, the small selection of subject we are allowed to see through this window. We are that way in life, too. The world is infinitely complex; seemingly solid situations shift like dry fallen leaves in the wind. Before we can really understand a situation, it has morphed, we ourselves have changed, the gestalt has reconfigured — and yet we always see it as solid, we think we know what is going on.