Friday, December 21, 2007

a visual message for Christmas

Click to view full size. Source listed at bottom of post.

I like this image. I'm generally fond of technically well-made monochrome photos with traditional design values and this is a good example of that genre. Much more than that, like the finest short poems it's highly evocative. As you'd expect there are connections to other classic blank-and-white shots, particularly the classic Ansel Adams one of Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941. Not so obvious is its evocation of the Nativity:

This picture evokes for me the quiet, peace, and sense of security which are one aspect of the Christmas story. The absence of footprints in the snow suggests expectation. The light illuminates the scene suggesting a watchfulness. A gift to a people dependent on sight for safety, it staves off darkness and gives promise of protection against the unknown terrors of night. It is a beacon visible far and near in all directions, leading the unfortunate to a potential haven. Symbolizing the turning of the year on its longest night, it gives promise of Spring to come as hours of daylight once more begin gradually to increase. And the annual repetition of this seasonal transition is evidence of the permanence of a benign order of the universe inducing a sense of security, hope, and the promise of future rewards.

Nonetheless, the scene is wintry cold, the time is moonless midnight. The light's corona reveals not gentle snow flakes falling but wind-blown sleet. It helps us see in mind's eye the privation that winter inflicts on many. With this knowledge of undeserved want comes doubt about the turn of fate and uncertainty about what the future may bring. It also forces us to recognize the blessings of our own lives and helps convince of the need to provide for others less fortunate.

Finally, this is a landscape of man. It tells us (tell me) that we make the world we live in and are responsible for our actions, good and bad. The buildings are our making and so is the light. We have to acknowledge that we rarely have sufficient information to make essential decisions about our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of of future generations, but that is no invitation to passivity. We must not avoid our responsibility to act: to plan and execute. We can, should, must use what ability we have to find right and do it.

Source: Here's the link to the page containing the image: 겨울 123 / 1005 2007-12-11 01:43
And here's a link to the parent web site: Raysoda

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