I was immediately taken in by this wonderful image of a person looking through a rain covered window. When we think of rainy days, we think of gray, sad, depressing. The tone of this image perfectly matched those feelings. Yet in contrast to the negativity and the gray tones, the persons face is uplifted in a thoughtful manner, yet through the rain soaked window we cannot perfectly identify what emotion that person is feeling. There is a soft brightness to the face which counterbalances the darker feelings and tones the image brings forth. But what struck me on the much deeper level where the hands reaching out as if to touch and invisible and in-penetrable dimension. To heighten that feeling and mood, as if someone was trying to reach out and feel the love of a lost relative, separated from the person’s face is a ghostly apparition of another face looking down, and in essence, cradling and comfort the person who has been left behind.
No matter how many times I went through reviewing all the entries, I kept coming back to this image. While it was certainly not as graphic, colorful, or instantly compelling as other entries, it was the soft ethereal feeling which Lingering, and eventually overpowered with its pure and simplistic staying power. In terms of subject matter, this is a great blend of mystical and moody. And when we add in the archetypes of religion, heaven and earth, and the realms between them, I think this image succeeds brilliantly. A fog which covers the lower half of the image gives a perfect ethereal balance when taken in spiritual terms, representing the barrier between heaven and earth, life and death, and the power of religions or spiritual outing to transcend the mortal or temporal realms below. Rising up out of that barrier into the realms of clarity, we see the strength of this strong Gothic church tower. The clarity and the strong stone structure rising up out of the clouds seems to affirm the power of faith, religion, or spirituality to give us hope that there is life after death. And right in the midst of that scene, we have a solitary bird flying through the sky, as if it had just left the church tower; a spirit which has followed its religion, and has now been set free into the boundless, limitless beyond.
One of the things you hear every so often in life, especially when discussing politics or social issues is, “it’s either black and white,” or “it isn’t just all black or white.” Well here we have a very simple scene of a woman walking through doorway, from a light area into a dark area, with a single lit window whose position clearly illuminates the fact that there is a wall they are hiding deep in shadow. Upon reflecting about this image, one of the more enjoyable factors for me was the nebulous sense of whether this person was passing from the outside into a darkened room, or conversely going from a late interior room to the complete darkness outdoors at night. In either regard, what stands as the misty or moody archetype is that of transitions, and the uncertainty in front of us as we pass from what is known, into the unknown. The deep dark blackness that surrounds the person can almost be felt, as if it could suddenly reveal itself in an instant with the proverbial flick of a switch, a few more steps forward, or by simply letting our eyes adjust to a new environment and new perceptions. The light in the window and doorway, lit from behind, perfectly weight the world of the known which is being left behind against the void of the blackness and the unknown. Yet it is also the simplicity of the composition which elevates the image from a simple momentary street-scene type of photograph, and turns it into something which speaks to the deeper human psyche.
The Tangled Path by Andrew Scharlott
Heavy Rain by Christian Stangl
RUNNER UPS: Slideshow of the 20 runner ups
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