The Drama Of Silence

The Drama Of Silence V2Point Halswell Lighthouse, Wellington

The quote everyone knows about photography is 'The camera never lies!'. In one sense that is true, but in many others it rarely tells the truth. Why can both possibilities be true. The answer is because photography is an expressive art form, as all art is. What I mean by that is that the photographer can express through his or her print, both what is occurring in the physical world (the world outside the camera) and the internal world of the photographer (their emotions, thoughts, beliefs, likes and dislikes). This is why you can take a number of photographers to the same location and each produce images that are different to the others.

Some people express this idea as a conversation that happens between the outer and inner world, each transforming the image as the photographer explores the world. This conversation is dynamic and if invested in will rarely result in the same image twice. I have heard many times, explore what interests you, intrigues you, draws you in, what you love. Be open to your feelings and what is going on around you. Through these you will make deeper more interesting images. Because if it doesn't interest, intrigue or draw you in, why do you think it will do this for the people that view your image.

The art of photography is for the image to convey those things as clearly as possible. But like a great story or music composition you want to reduce or eliminate anything that distracts from that core. It may be an ill chosen word, too many instruments playing at the same time, or in the case of the image the individual waves.

So what does it have to do with the image above. As the title suggests this image is a bit of a contradiction. Where Les and I were, the wind was whipping in, stirring the waves into one to two foot waves which crashed onto, then rolled up the pathway to the lighthouse. The waves were close together as well, which made for quite a chaotic scene. But beyond the chaos, there was a peacefulness. The combination of the colours of the sky as the sunset faded, the warmth of the evening and the beautiful scene before us, that was the story I wanted to share. 

So goal, was to reduce the distractions, the chaos to leave just the tranquility and peace. The answer will come as no surprise, use a longer exposure. But the secret of this image is, that without the crashing waves, the chaos, the image wouldn't be quite as interesting, That is why I called the image 'The drama of silence'. The wetness of the path does a great job bringing out the textures and reflecting the light from the lighthouse and the colours in the sky. The white foam left by the breaking waves hints at the storminess without it dominating the image. All this adds interesting elements, notes if you like, to the final composition. 

Within ten minutes the blue tones in the sky began to fade to black, losing that dynamic with the yellows and reds. Without the colour contrast the magic left the scene as well. We took a moment to watch the Interislander sail by on it's late night crossing and then headed back to see the girls. The images safe on our memory cards.

As a side note today, while I was writing this post, I watched this video which echoed a lot of the themes I was thinking about, so I thought I would share it with you.