Monday, March 10, 2014

The Ultimate Metaphor...

   I am not one to admired "staged" photographs but in the case of this series by one of my favorite photographers, Nick Brandt, I'll make an exception.  I talked about his contemplative wildlife photography in a previous post and this series is another jaw dropping visual display.

    Brandt's images were made at Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania.  The lakes extreme alkalinity calcifies any animal who is unfortunate enough to fall into it.  He gathered these remains and posed them, as they would be in life and the photographs he made are haunting and thought provoking in the extreme.

   Some people, myself included, may find it difficult to view these images but contemplation isn't simply thinking about comfortable and pretty things.  It is the long, slow and loving look at the real and these represent a very real situation and place.  It is helpful, from time to time, to ponder things that make us feel uncomfortable.

    These images also allow us to meditate on the ultimate metaphor - Death.  And like that ever present reality, there is something beautiful to contemplate in the final act of letting go.  I recently attended the funeral of a very dear friend who had accompanied me to Ireland in 2009.  The sadness of a life cut short is never easy but the beauty of her life and how she accepted her death seemed to ease some of our grief.  Many can teach us how to live and a few special people can teach us how to face our own death...with grace and dignity.

    This series also recalls the ground breaking exhibit by Gunther von Hagens, Body Worlds.  I've never seen that exhibit but it is the striking revelation of the intricacies of the human body. Somehow, the animals in Brandt's photographs, seen in their natural environment, seem to me more poignant and touching...less about science and more about contemplation.

   I'll leave it up to you to visit the following link and form your own conclusions.  I would be interested in your thoughts....


No comments: