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Photographic reading

Earl Moore Photography

Treasures Beneath - And so it ends

“Every part of the photographic image carries some information that contributes to its total statement; the viewer’s responsibility is to see, in the most literal way, everything that is there and respond to it. To put it another way, the statement the image makes – not just what it show you, but the mood, moral evaluation and casual connections it suggest – is built up from those details. A proper ‘reading’ of a photograph sees and responds to them consciously.” – Howard S. Becker – Afterimage

For me, the deep colors, shadows and textures conveyed emotional passion within this image. The dying bloom fallen to the forest floor could easily represent a love lost, a love remembered, or perhaps a parent, child, spouse or friend fallen in battle or an everyday tragedy. The blooms lingering deep rich reddish color says strength, valor and honor while the fading light speaks of only moments left before the beauty ends. That’s my “reading” of this image…what’s yours?

15 Comments on Photographic reading

  1. That’s easily answered! I really like these dark, contrasty images that you create, they are so different to what I would have seen. I wouldn’t have “read” the image in the romantic way that you have done so, but it truly makes me marvel at the beauty of nature, at the things that are so easily passed by and at how rich our world is if only we care to slow down and look.

    • Colin, thanks. We’re each such unique individuals and view things our own lens. I like your “reading” as well and I appreciate you sharing it.

  2. I saw this posting yesterday but was not sure what comment to share. My first response to the image did not appeal to me. It felt dark, mysterious, troubling, which probably reflected my emotions at the time. My response is different this morning. Red is said to be a power color and this image speaks of that to me. Powerful images, and this is one of them, can evoke many questions, as you so aptly stated. I’m with Colin here in that romance never entered my mind. Nature sure has a unique way of speaking to each of us. Well done, Earl!

    • Monte, it’s a strong image and therefore I’m not surprised if it evokes strong reactions, either positive or negative. There is a power here and building upon the lost of a bloom that was once healthy and beautiful I funneled that power into more of a romantic channel or story — I’m a romantic at heart. ;-)

      The beauty of work as photographers is that there is no right or wrong answer and if an image provokes an emotional response, positive or negative, then I believe we as photographers and artist should see that as an achievement. :-)


  3. Earl, I get a deep, peaceful reading from this image. I imagine a cool, forest floor with light poking through the canopy here and there. As for the flower, I would imagine that it is still somewhat fragrant and soft, almost velvety to the touch.

    It is interesting what we each get out of something and I’m sure that it can vary greatly depending on the day and especially the mood with which one views the photograph.

    • Paul, it’s very interesting to learn how others are reading/reacting to the same photo. This is turning into a more meaningful experiment then I first imagined. We often assume a greater common view then actually exist. I like your peaceful vision. Thanks!

  4. I see a ray of light shining on a number of objects, flower, leaves, twigs, needles (among others), that all share a space and a common warm hue. An analogy to the human race at the later stages in life – different but all the same. It is a romantic image.

    • Ken, interestingly once someone explains what they read/see I can then somewhat see through their eyes, even if I’d never would of had that perception before hand. Thanks for participating.

  5. I’ve never agreed with the idea that a picture tells a story. Rather, a picture can suggest any number of stories, and the viewer ‘reads’ it and interprets it according to his or her own experience. The comments here seem to bear that out.

    Excellent, thought-provoking post.

    • PJ, yes, from this small sample of contributions it would seem there could be as many varied “stories” as there are viewers. However, this is a very ambiguous image, leaving itself open to liberal interpretation. Other photos could well have a more focused “meaning.”
      For me this has been an interesting experiment.

      • It is interesting. Yes, other photos may well have a more focused meaning, for example your homeless one from a few days back, but I’d still bet they’d suggest a wide range of stories in the minds of the viewers.

  6. Even in the demise of the flower and the forest debris, there is still a beauty that lingers. When it has disintegrated the essence of what we see in this image, will be the base for new life so the colors and growth will continue on in a cycle. That’s why we remember fondly those things that have moved on and attach little importance to the remains which never were the heart of the “life” we loved and revered. I think I need some more coffee! :-)

    • “That’s why we remember fondly those things that have moved on and attach little importance to the remains which never were the heart of the “life” we loved and revered.”

      Don, wonderful thoughts on this. If this thinking is the results of coffee, pour me a cup as well. :-)


  7. Interesting, reading all the comments. Even before I read your ‘reading’, my thoughts were roughly similar to yours – the death of loved ones and the passing of time. I’m not sure why – something about the colours and the association of the fallen leaves, the start of decay, perhaps?

    Fascinating exercise!

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