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Photo of the Week - #39 6/13/22


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1690887_e70fa22919d61ec1740138a4bec8fb04.thumb.jpg.994200fd9d24804fc93f75eec1b9e111.jpg

Edited by samstevens
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"You talkin' to me?"

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Wow! I really, really like this stark silhouette a lot! For obvious reasons, it's a very iconic image. I've seen (color) photos of people carrying crosses before but this one inspired me to look up some articles on the internet about people (like this man) carrying a cross, sometimes for extremely long distances. Above all, what this symbolizes in the modern-day.

 

Just looking at the photo as an 'iconic image', I would consider 2 edits that might strengthen the power of the 'image' even more. The first is to remove (by cloning & patching) the tree branches at the top left. For me, these (which in various forms are included in numerous other compositions) slightly detract from the power of this 'stark iconic image'. The downside of removing these is of course that the image then becomes more 'abstract' with less real-life context.

 

To a much lesser extent, the same is true of the grass tops at the very bottom. Again, some minor cloning and patching would give a 'cleaner' bottom edge.

 

The grass, branches and especially the flowers on the other side of the road/track form a perfect background to the walking figure!

 

All in all, it's a very powerful image and the 'silhouette' treatment works wonderfully well. Congrats to the photographer! for depicting the walker in this way!

 

I can well imagine this image being (gratefully) used on Christian organization/church websites with appropriate New Testament references and messages applicable to modern-day life. I'm not particularly religious and I'm not a regular member of any organization or Church. I just think that this image is that good.

 

PS. I took a quick look on Shutterstock and IStockPhoto. Both have images related to 'carrying cross' ranging from reenactments & staged photos of Christ carrying His cross to paintings to highly stylized wooden/cartoon versions. I haven't looked through the other 80% but my gut feeling is that this image might well be a valuable addition to their collections. Whether you'd earn much from it is anybody's guess. But I for one would be proud to have any of my photos accepted by Shutterstock!

 

Best wishes,

 

Mike

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Because the photo is not quite a stark silhouette (which, to me, would be a silhouette without the amount of detail and texture this photo has), I’m seeing a very commonly-dressed man surrounded by branches and undergrowth in a scene that might otherwise be purely iconic. So there’s a significant play here between the iconic/symbolic and the everyday/ordinary. For me, the background, landscape and sky need *not* to be more pure or iconic.

 

I don’t see a joke here, I see irony in the combining of the particular and the universal, the archetypal filled in with the casual, very well seen, shot, and photographically represented.

"You talkin' to me?"

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Like Mike, my first response was to google “cross dragging,” and it turns out that it’s a thing. With wheels, no less.

 

I like this image a lot, on many levels.

 

The treatment as a stark silhouette with just the merest highlighting where a bit of disambiguation is useful (the belly, bicep, and top cross bar) is beautifully done and suits the subject nicely.

 

The timing of the shot is about as perfect as I could imagine: face framed by the bars of the cross, right arm at just about the only place it could be without detracting from the stark design, and all caught at the perfect point in the stride—the photographer was either shooting in burst mode, had exquisite timing, or was darned lucky.

 

The ground-level point of view is unexpected and extremely effective, both for supporting the iconic nature of the protagonist and for isolating him against a featureless background.

 

I also like the placement of the figure—a lot farther east than I’d expect, with that contentious wheel nearly touching the edge of the frame. We’re not supposed to do that. It works beautifully. Metaphorically: our cross-dragger has a long road ahead of him; design-wise: it’s wacky enough to draw attention to its intentionality and to the emptiness on the left, and this gives us an invitation to read the image as something deeper than just a strongly designed photo of someone doing something unexpected.

 

I think the vegetation at the bottom adds to the image by grounding it in reality. The veg in the upper left corner—not so much. An argument could be made that dark elements in the upper corner balance the placement of the figure, but in my opinion the figure doesn’t need that kind of balance; I think the emptiness would itself balance the figure sufficiently, both graphically and metaphorically.

 

Then there’s the narrative element of the image—what did this guy do to lead him to so publicly exhibit his devotion? But his forward gaze, strong stride, upright posture, shorts, boots, wristwatch, glasses, and that odd wheel all convey a kind of casual attitude to the undertaking. And this is the aspect of the image that I’m enjoying the most—we’re seeing the profound bumping up against the mundane, and the design of the image does a masterful job of setting up the interpretation of the profound while at the same time giving us the clues we need to undermine that sense of profundity. Really nice.

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Like Mike, my first response was to google “cross dragging,” and it turns out that it’s a thing. With wheels, no less.

 

I like this image a lot, on many levels.

 

The treatment as a stark silhouette with just the merest highlighting where a bit of disambiguation is useful (the belly, bicep, and top cross bar) is beautifully done and suits the subject nicely.

 

The timing of the shot is about as perfect as I could imagine: face framed by the bars of the cross, right arm at just about the only place it could be without detracting from the stark design, and all caught at the perfect point in the stride—the photographer was either shooting in burst mode, had exquisite timing, or was darned lucky.

 

The ground-level point of view is unexpected and extremely effective, both for supporting the iconic nature of the protagonist and for isolating him against a featureless background.

 

I also like the placement of the figure—a lot farther east than I’d expect, with that contentious wheel nearly touching the edge of the frame. We’re not supposed to do that. It works beautifully. Metaphorically: our cross-dragger has a long road ahead of him; design-wise: it’s wacky enough to draw attention to its intentionality and to the emptiness on the left, and this gives us an invitation to read the image as something deeper than just a strongly designed photo of someone doing something unexpected.

 

I think the vegetation at the bottom adds to the image by grounding it in reality. The veg in the upper left corner—not so much. An argument could be made that dark elements in the upper corner balance the placement of the figure, but in my opinion the figure doesn’t need that kind of balance; I think the emptiness would itself balance the figure sufficiently, both graphically and metaphorically.

 

Then there’s the narrative element of the image—what did this guy do to lead him to so publicly exhibit his devotion? But his forward gaze, strong stride, upright posture, shorts, boots, wristwatch, glasses, and that odd wheel all convey a kind of casual attitude to the undertaking. And this is the aspect of the image that I’m enjoying the most—we’re seeing the profound bumping up against the mundane, and the design of the image does a masterful job of setting up the interpretation of the profound while at the same time giving us the clues we need to undermine that sense of profundity. Really nice.

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Wow! I really, really like this stark silhouette a lot! For obvious reasons, it's a very iconic image. I've seen (color) photos of people carrying crosses before but this one inspired me to look up some articles on the internet about people (like this man) carrying a cross, sometimes for extremely long distances. Above all, what this symbolizes in the modern-day.

 

Just looking at the photo as an 'iconic image', I would consider 2 edits that might strengthen the power of the 'image' even more. The first is to remove (by cloning & patching) the tree branches at the top left. For me, these (which in various forms are included in numerous other compositions) slightly detract from the power of this 'stark iconic image'. The downside of removing these is of course that the image then becomes more 'abstract' with less real-life context.

 

To a much lesser extent, the same is true of the grass tops at the very bottom. Again, some minor cloning and patching would give a 'cleaner' bottom edge.

 

The grass, branches and especially the flowers on the other side of the road/track form a perfect background to the walking figure!

 

All in all, it's a very powerful image and the 'silhouette' treatment works wonderfully well. Congrats to the photographer! for depicting the walker in this way!

 

I can well imagine this image being (gratefully) used on Christian organization/church websites with appropriate New Testament references and messages applicable to modern-day life. I'm not particularly religious and I'm not a regular member of any organization or Church. I just think that this image is that good.

 

PS. I took a quick look on Shutterstock and IStockPhoto. Both have images related to 'carrying cross' ranging from reenactments & staged photos of Christ carrying His cross to paintings to highly stylized wooden/cartoon versions. I haven't looked through the other 80% but my gut feeling is that this image might well be a valuable addition to their collections. Whether you'd earn much from it is anybody's guess. But I for one would be proud to have any of my photos accepted by Shutterstock!

 

Best wishes,

 

Mike

 

 

Mike, your suggestion about eliminating the vegetation in the top left corner is spot on. I had the same thought, but you beat me to the punch.

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I like it because it adds a sense of spontaneity and the casualness that I think importantly offsets the iconic in the photo. I like it because it’s atypical and provokes just the questioning it’s provoked.
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"You talkin' to me?"

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I agree with all the remarks about how it was shot, composed, the timing, the angle all that so with that out of the way, I'm looking at some of the elements to piece together a "story" as it were. First I imagine this was taken around Easter? And the man is demonstrating his faith by bearing a cross. But it doesn't have the immediacy of those that reenact the passion. Instead of struggling with the weight of the cross, instead we have the weight of the cross on the wheels. Our man is wearing hiking boots, his stride looks easy and casual, not one bearing a heavy burden, so I get the sense that he is on a more long distance "pilgrimage" over distance to demonstrate his love of god or Christ. Either that, or he's a delivery man delivering a cross, who knows. I guess I'll have to wait to see what the photographer has to say if anything. For all the reasons people have discussed, I think it's a well done photograph and the style of it is effective.
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Something about this shot doesn’t sit right with me but maybe my personal sensibilities, Re: religion are clouding my perspective?

 

That said I like the flow of the scene and feel the branches etc really add something of value to the photograph. I like the spare nature of the image and feel the stride of the man adds a welcome dynamic.

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A master of personal taste, perhaps

Something about this shot doesn’t sit right with me but maybe my personal sensibilities, Re: religion are clouding my perspective?

 

That said I like the flow of the scene and feel the branches etc really add something of value to the photograph. I like the spare nature of the image and feel the stride of the man adds a welcome dynamic.

A master of personal taste, perhaps

That is exactly what it is. A touch of contrariousness is also involved.

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Something about this shot doesn’t sit right with me but maybe my personal sensibilities, Re: religion are clouding my perspective?

 

That said I like the flow of the scene and feel the branches etc really add something of value to the photograph. I like the spare nature of the image and feel the stride of the man adds a welcome dynamic.

I think the photo should make both the religious and non religious slightly uncomfortable. The branches, weeds and roller were intentionally left in the photo to prove and certify my 71 year old former Marine's rebellious nature.

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When I see this sort of the thing, as an atheist, I wonder at the foolishness of it all. The wheel to help him with his cross is perfect. "I can be a Christian, but I can make it easier for myself if I don't have to carry the full weight all day." Grandstanding. Oh well. As an image I think it is quite good and I am glad it is not a real silhouette. But my distrust of this kind of nonsense makes me shake my head. So guess that makes the image a good one for me.
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Robin Smith
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When I see this sort of the thing, as an atheist, I wonder at the foolishness of it all. The wheel to help him with his cross is perfect. "I can be a Christian, but I can make it easier for myself if I don't have to carry the full weight all day." Grandstanding. Oh well. As an image I think it is quite good and I am glad it is not a real silhouette. But my distrust of this kind of nonsense makes me shake my head. So guess that makes the image a good one for me.

A legitimate and thoughtful response. The kind of response I was looking for along with the many others that have responded so far.

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When I see this sort of the thing, as an atheist, I wonder at the foolishness of it all. The wheel to help him with his cross is perfect. "I can be a Christian, but I can make it easier for myself if I don't have to carry the full weight all day." Grandstanding. Oh well. As an image I think it is quite good and I am glad it is not a real silhouette. But my distrust of this kind of nonsense makes me shake my head. So guess that makes the image a good one for me.

 

Agreed. Pretending to “bear the cross” is a half @$$ed, half baked statement that’s actually 100% in line with what’s really happening with these so called “christians” now days, they who have politicized and weaponized their “religion” and use it as a tool against others.

 

And not to take anything away from or demean in any way those who legitimately and genuinely live, breathe, walk talk eat sleep it- like some of my Southern Baptist relatives and one or two people I’ve been friends with over the ages.

 

Funny that none of these folks I’ve known or know now, who fully live with all the love and whatever one might expect from a true hearted Christian, would ever bother to pull a stunt such as this. No need, because their every living act is in lockstep

with their faith.

 

Bt hey so ha ha anyway… @tholte - and @samstevens thanks for sharing/posting this shot, it’s provided lots of food for thought - as many of these Photos Of The Week do. :)

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Agreed. Pretending to “bear the cross” is a half @$$ed, half baked statement that’s actually 100% in line with what’s really happening with these so called “christians” now days, they who have politicized and weaponized their “religion” and use it as a tool against others.

 

And not to take anything away from or demean in any way those who legitimately and genuinely live, breathe, walk talk eat sleep it- like some of my Southern Baptist relatives and one or two people I’ve been friends with over the ages.

 

Funny that none of these folks I’ve known or know now, who fully live with all the love and whatever one might expect from a true hearted Christian, would ever bother to pull a stunt such as this. No need, because their every living act is in lockstep

with their faith.

 

Bt hey so ha ha anyway… @tholte - and @samstevens thanks for sharing/posting this shot, it’s provided lots of food for thought - as many of these Photos Of The Week do. :)

What if it’s all tongue in cheek? The beauty of photos, sometimes, is their leaving out context. It’s the viewer who will often supply that. Maybe the subject of the photo is intending satire to begin with?

 

Anyway, we all have our crosses to bear!

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