The Human Element

September 29, 2018

BW photograph of an overpass wall and rail.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Most of the time, I work hard to exclude humans from my photographs.  The photograph above is a basic “here to there” shot that works quite well in BW.  The early morning sun produces a hard, directional light that is illuminating the concrete.  This, in turn, provides contrast to the darker rail, sky, and trees.  The image also softens a bit from left to right, which suggests some distance.

BW photograph of a car's shadow on an overpass wall.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

However, it is, on occasion, necessary to introduce the human element in order to make a stronger composition.  In this case, the car’s shadow adds a more precise subject to the image.  (As an aside, this was a single image captured with proper timing-not continuous exposure-or the “spray and pray” method.  I had set the composition, pre-determined the exposure, pre-focused, and then awaited the car.)

BW photograph of a used insole laying in a flower bed.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

What is essential, though, to the majority of my work is to demonstrate the human presence and impact on our world.  The photograph above is a shoe’s well-used insole that was laying in a flower bed.  (The white rectangle just below the heel is a cigarette butt.) Its mate was nowhere to be seen.  How it arrived there is a mystery, but someone must have left it.  The very nature of the insole’s shape provides a metaphor for a footprint left on the environ.

BW photograph of a shredded plastic cup laying in grassy weeds.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a Styrofoam cup and plastic lid and straw on some steps.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a crushed plastic water bottle laying in the street.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This is also the reason for trash and waste dominating my imagery.  Photographer James Balog explains in Chasing Ice that documenting the disappearance of glaciers and ice sheets was his means of calling attention to climate change.  For me, the detritus left behind, especially when it is plastic and/or Styrofoam, demonstrates the casual, if not deliberate, disregard many have for the environ.  These materials are made, used (mostly) once, then discarded by people and will out-last generations.  That is the human element.

Take care.

 

 

One Response to “The Human Element”

  1. Mz&Cho Says:

    Great photos and love your post. It is so so hard to get the message across although we hear day in day out the damage is being caused by these materials. It’s sad.


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