I’ve always found interesting how different people see different things in a photo. Some look at the photo above and see a man walking out of a forest, some see the man entering the forest, a person with imagination could say that this is an apparition of a ghost in a surreal forest. A sad person could say that the man in the picture is walking sadly at sunset. An insecure person could say that it’s a photo of a man lost in the woods. A single image can be interpreted differently by different people.
The way we perceive reality differs, so our interpretation of art differs too. I think art is the interpretation of reality through the mind of the artist. But the result is also subject to interpretation. So everybody takes from art what they need at a certain moment in time and space.
There are a lot of hidden valleys that are still unexplored near the place that I live. I often go trough these wild valleys in search of natural wonders and inspiration, and there isn’t a single time I come back without finding something really interesting and worth photographing. You can’t access these places with any kind of transportation, there isn’t any cell phone signal and even GPS signal because of the huge steep cliffs that border the various valleys, so these places feel really remote and wild. Because of this isolation, they have managed to remain pretty much uncharted. It is always a relief to explore such places.
This is a photo take on the same tour as the macro shot here. The river that shaped these rocks and formed beautiful steep gorges still flows today and has a permanent stream of water, so advancing is really difficult. There are also fallen trees and branches that are obstructing the way, not to mention the narrow path that someone exploring this place has to follow. I remember that the first time I was there I really wanted to go further and see new wonders awaiting me around the corner, but the water was just too high so I had to call it a day. I returned many times and every time I managed to go a bit further than the last time, finding some of the most giant caves and some of the most beautiful gorges I have ever seen. Sometimes it’s difficult to come back in one piece, and I have found myself stranded on narrow steep pieces of land because of the rain, but nothing beats the feeling of discovering new things even after years of exploration.
The photo above was taken on an autumn day, the leaves not quite fallen from the trees. The human figure you see is my brother, with whom I was in quite a few risky situations due to our desire to uncover the secrets of this valley. I needed a human silhouette so the viewer would get a feeling of the size of the cliffs, so I told him to go forward and used an ultra-wide angle lens to capture this shot. I used a f 11 aperture to have everything in focus, and the shortest shutter speed that the light and my lens allowed. This kind of photos are usually used for environmental campaigns and also – like many of my photos – for horror movies posters. I think it has something to do with the unknown, the mystery of such photos, because they give a sense that you don’t know what may come after the next corner. I really like this feeling too, so I will be taking and posting more images from this place in the future. The “hidden valley” series is always expanding.
Taking a look trough my portfolio, I notice that a lot of the photos that are best sellers have just a glimpse of the human form. People are rarely present in my photos, and when they are they are just small silhouettes part of a much bigger picture of a bigger landscape. I think I do this to give a sense of size in my photos, but also to put the human form in contrast with the vastness of nature, the grandeur of it all.
Take for example the photo above. The silhouette of the man is much further from the tree, so I played a bit with proportions, but this helps give a sense of how big the forest really is. Plus it is a nice subject, visible but with no details, and left for the imagination to think about what it really is. Being just a lonely silhouette it makes the photo more powerful and one can almost feel the cold of the night approaching in late autumn. The mysterious atmosphere that the fog gives certainly helps a lot, and it seems like the character is walking in a fantasy enchanted forest. The day I took this photo was really cold and it was drizzling. I didn’t have a lot of time because everything was getting wet and the light was falling fast, but I used my trusty wide angle lens and a tripod and told my brother to go in the distance so I have a silhouette in the frame. I don’t usually like staged shots, and this is about as far as I go with them, but I think here it was important to have the small silhouette in the frame. The contrasting fallen leaves give a nice touch to a late autumn photo. Looking at the final result, I really think I managed to capture the atmosphere and coldness of that evening, and people who have not been there and see the photos tell me the same, so I have achieved what I wanted.