Culture Magazine

Indirection, Reflection, and Inbetween

By Bbenzon @bbenzon
When I was a kid I was attracted to those puzzles where you were presented with an odd photo or three and asked to identify it. The photo was generally some familiar object photographed in extreme close-up or perhaps from an odd angle. Some of my photos are a bit like that.
Just what IS this?
Obviously that's a banister cutting through the image on left, but what's the rest of the image? Walls, obviously, but what's the layout?
But here there's no mystery, is there?
That's a man, a book, and a dog. The identity of the man is obscure and that might matter if he were some famous person – guess the identity of this well-known person as photographed from this odd angle. But that's not a famous person; it's a friend whom I have known since college. That explains how I got access, but is that so important? The dog is his pet. Actually, its his daughter's pet. She's off at college at the moment. The book? If you must know, it's James Michners' The Source.
Then there's this:
Again, no mystery. A wall, a fence, a tree, some ivy – that's all obvious. As is the shadow cast on the well. As an exercise, match up the features of the tree with the features of the shadow. I suppose this one's all about composition.
But isn't every photo about composition? Well, not about composition, but composition is the life's blood of the image, no? Or is it color?
Do you know why I like this one?
No? Well, neither do I. But I like it. Now I suppose that this IS something of a mystery image. The origami cranes are obvious enough. But where are they? What of the quality of the light?
Let's close on something obvious:

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