Dead Dolly

While I was brought up a Christian I have an interest in all of the worlds great religions. This interest goes back to childhood, but has been stimulated through my travels and living in Melbourne, a very multicultural city.

Christmas day I spent with my younger sister’s (Gabrielle) family (husband Ross and kids Daniel, Anna and Jessica) at their home in Sale, around 2¾ hours drive from my place in Melbourne. My mum and brother, Brian, who had made the long trip from Hamilton the day before were also present. Wonderful food and great company made for a great day. We were joined on Boxing day my Maree and Trevor, who’d driven up for the day, and my oldest brother Michael and his youngest daughter, Ali. With my mum and all my siblings present it was a wonderful day. Thanks to all her made the big trip, especially my momma, who’s 82 years of age, and to my sisters Eddie (Maree) and Gabs (Gabrielle) for all their hard work.

The following day when all the guests, bar me, had departed proved to be a lovely, warm day that just called out for a day trip. So I accompanied Gabs, Ross and family to Seaspray, a nearby seaside village where I was to photograph an up and coming young band, Saida, the results of which will feature in tomorrow’s post. The beach there is just beautiful and the waves were rolling in from Bass Strait. It can be quite a wild beach, but the day blessed us with very pleasant conditions.

While the above image contrasts somewhat with the majority of this posts text I wanted to use the pic, made while exploring an abandoned house in Seaspray, to comment on our consumer society. The doll depicted looked very old indeed yet, with this years Christmas memories still fresh in our minds, we all know that by now thousands of such toys, games and the like have been broken and thrown away, just a few days after being purchased. Many of these items don’t work well, some are unsafe for little children and others are just unwanted.  So much of what we buy today is not made to last. And yet they remain in rubbish tips, fields, streams and oceans for many years to come. We all bare responsibility for this outrage!

I made the original pic much the way I always do. I work intuitively employing light, color and design elements to explore the inherent nature of the scene or subject depicted.  I was drawn to photograph the doll, lying in a stagnant pool of vivid green slime. I simply knew that a creative treatment was required to connect that half submerged piece of plastic with larger issues. So, the image is not just about a broken discarded doll, but also about all the similarly broken, discarded dolls and the society that creates and discards such things. The power is not in the individual doll, but in the metaphor the image explores.

Of course, just like beauty, meaning is also in the eyes of the beholder. When it comes to beauty I hope you’ll all find this a beautiful image of an ugly reality. I very much like the duality (juxtaposition of opposites) such images evoke. Of course the doll can also be a metaphor for human kind and the way we treat each other and our own bodies in this busy, consumer-driven society. We seem to spend most of our time treading water when, in the end, we’re bound to be swallowed by the mire.

The thing is there is a way out. The wise aren’t concerned with how strong a swimmer they are, or will be tomorrow. Some are brave enough to get out of the pool, while the really smart ones never actually got in in the first place. I guess they swim in the ocean, just off the beach at Seaspray.

While its fine to wonder about why one is draw to particular subject matter, you don’t want to do so during the process of actually making the picture. Such considerations, which are an important part of the editing process, are best left to later. Throw out poor quality and boring images, spend time looking at what you do well and you’ll be sure to do more of the same into the future.

The original color pic was processed and rendered into a warm toned black-and-white in Adobe Lightroom 2, prior to employing Adobe Photoshop CS4 to enhance image depth and detail.

Travel Photography Guru

Glenn Guy