Behind The Lens: Deepen The Mystery
“Mirage” Giraffe reflections in watering hole at sunset, Etosha National Park, Namibia. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM @ 64mm, 1/800 second @ f/4, ISO 2500.
“The Job Of The Artist Is Always To Deepen The Mystery”– Francis Bacon
It is not the job of the photographer to make things as clear and direct as possible for the viewing audience – or to present the photograph as to be fully comprehended or understood – it’s to deepen the mystery. The photographer’s job should be creating a sense of wonder, curiosity, bewilderment, even confusion. By withholding or hiding some visual information and clues, it leaves some work for the viewer so they become transformed from passive observers to an active participants while they try to unravel he mystery.
One of the reasons the image above has been so successful is its element of mystery, particularly with regard to the blocked-up shadows where the giraffes ought to be. The temptation for many photographers would be to open up the shadows as much as possible during processing to reveal all the details. But to deepen the mystery with my audience, I’ve purposely obscured a vital part of the image (the subjects) by allowing the shadows go to black and inviting the viewer to explore and solve the visual mystery. And like a good songwriter who refuses to explain the meaning of his or her lyrics, I’ll say no more about it.
Mirage was captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR and Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens and processed in Adobe Lightroom.
Mirage can be licensed or purchased as a print here.
Wow! Mission accomplished! You’ve certainly piqued my interest, Richard. By pointing out this mystery, you’ve invited me, the viewer, to look at the picture from an entirely different perspective, subsequently scrolling through many of your other photos, each of which I began to see through new eyes. I saw beyond the image, and began to imagine your travels to each destination, your careful placement of self and camera, the patience needed to capture ‘just the right moment’; a story evolved. A ‘simple’ photo, an idea planted, and voila! Thank you, Richard…a photographer who is an artist who is a teacher!
Terrific little tutorial (for me) on the actual art of photography! Perfect post for my 69th birthday today! Thanks!