Antarctica XI, 2005

Sometimes those little extra touches make all the difference in the world.

On my first voyage to Antarctica, I was thunderstruck by its immensity. The vast untouched silent spaces were overwhelming. It was a supreme challenge to suggest this sense of scale in the comparatively small images I was producing. This was even more challenging in an environment without human figures or man-made objects.

One of the ways I approached this challenge was to make images filled mostly with space and populated by tiny objects. You can create a powerful sense of scale if you can present large things as being tiny without creating a sense of distortion at the same time.

Some objects bring magic with them. Include the sun, moon, or evening star and you’ve added a magic moment. The bigger you make them, the stronger the magic moment becomes, but no matter how small it’s always magic. Did you ever notice how when a tiny figure is included in an immense landscape picture that the images becomes about the person? I’m always amazed at how something that occupies 1% of the total image’s area can make such a difference.

I marvel at how we overlook the dramatic distortions inherent in making small images of very large things, like mountains. On the one hand, this strikes me as funny, in both senses of the word – comical and strange. On the other hand, this is magical; you can hold the earth in your hands. Suspension of disbelief is responsible for much of the magic of looking at realistic images.

Initially, this image was made without the moon, which was added later. The moon makes this image stronger in many ways, taking it up a notch. The moon also changes the nature of this photography. Without the moon, this image can be seen as a literal, historical document. With the moon, this image becomes an aesthetic object with a heightened emotional emphasis; a poem rather than a piece of non-fiction. While both versions hold up, I prefer the version with the moon. I choose which version to show based on what’s appropriate for a given use. For instance, I show the version without the moon in my editorial body of work Antarctica. The same means are not appropriate for all situations.

Questions

What small things could you include to make a big difference?

Which small things make the biggest difference?

Does how you include them increase or decrease the contributions they make?

Is their inclusion appropriate for what you are trying to accomplish?

Find out more about this image here.

View more related images here.

Read more The Stories Behind The Images here.

Enjoy the text from my book Reflection.
.
Reflection
.
Cloudwatching

What child hasn’t spent scattered minutes, accumulated into hours or even days, watching slowly unfolding clouds and the changing sky? Wondering what they were, are, and will be. Imagining bodies (either whole or in pieces, especially faces), animals (whether commonplace, exotic, or mythical), plants, landscapes, and even mechanical devices. Who doesn’t pause at the sight of the blazing colors of the morning and evening sky? How few pause long enough to see the stars begin to appear? How strange to think that the same sky is blue by day and black by night, studded with twinkling stars. Are we like this too? Why do so many adults cease to probe these mysteries as consistently and frequently and with as much curiosity as a child does? What do we lose when we lose the search? Read more

“Reflection presents selections drawn from a powerful series of works, remarkable for their tranquility, clarity, and depth. Images of bodies of water and the skies reflected in them become metaphors for changing states of mind. Together, they chart a progression of consciousness moving from calming, to clearing, and finally to illumination. Throughout this progression a growing intensity builds as the gaze is focused more directly and deeply into the source of illumination. The images become mirrors for continued reflection, invitations to look, and look again, and to look at looking.”

45 images
Inspiring text
Find more books here.

Subscribe

Get the RSS Feed  

Subscribe by Email