Balloon and Headstones

Balloon and Headstones

This is another in my series on cemeteries.  Once again, the little balloon stands out against the solemn columns of tombstones as a single, disparate element in the regimented rows of stones.  Perhaps it is telling us we need to laugh in the face of all that is stark and routine and dull in life?  This image may say vastly different things to different people.  Some may see it as an image of loneliness, isolation, and hopelessness.  Personally, it tells me that in a regimented, brand-homogenized world, you can still be quirky if you really decide not to fit in.

As a photograph, this is a good example of what can be drawn out of a relatively mediocre image if you look hard enough.  The original image was a modestly interesting picture of rows of tombstones and a little balloon, with trees and some sky and a car in the background.   In other words, some interesting shapes and lines surrounded by lots of clutter.

One of the reasons that I like cemetery images is that they are places where you can play with brightness and contrast with a heavy and adventurous hand.  I cropped out the sky, trees and cars, cutting down the image to the contrasting elements of balloon and curving lines of stones.  I then cranked up the contrast and cut the brightness severely, making a forboding, dark image emphasizing the highlights of the arcing stones around the little round balloon on its stick.  The resulting image pulls the strong curves and the contrasting shape out of the clutter, forming an image with strong visual impact and a story to tell.

Original Image

Camera:  Ross Xpres lens on Ensign 820, Ilford XP-2 at about f/22.

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