Two Subjects

You might look at this photograph and think, “Yes, two subjects, the darkened foreground and the colorful Argentine background.” Or perhaps you might decide that the two subjects are actually the two hikers.  I look at this photograph and see all that, and more.

In this one picture, I see many shared adventures, but also the life journey we have made as a family.  I see my husband and my daughter standing on a verge, both soon to be subject to great life changes.  His little chick is flying off into the bright colorful world stretched out before her. He is waiting for the lady with the camera to catch up, and together we will fly home, but not to our empty nest.  We also have wings with which to fly, and that wide world is also ours to explore in a new way, through new eyes.

People perceive every snapshot through their own eyes.  One single image can hold numerous meanings to the same person.  So many stories, based on the viewer’s experience, past and present, and loaded with hopes, wishes, and dreams for the future.  Some of these visions occupy the forefront of our consciousness, others live quietly in the back of our minds.

There are always only two subjects that matter when we look at a picture–the eye and the beholder.

Editing Monet’s Garden

Last May, while traveling in France, my sister and I went to Giverny to visit Monet’s Garden.  The line to enter was horrendous, and once we got past the ticket booth, we became part of the swarm of tourists overrunning his house and garden.  We must have heard a dozen different languages spoken, people from all over the globe had come to see for themselves the inspiration for Monet’s most famous paintings.

It was eye candy, a stunning profusion of color!   But instead of the rare and exotic flora I expected, all the flowers were, well, your regular garden variety.  Irises, roses, tulips, pansies, alyssum, forget-me-nots…nothing I don’t grow in my own garden.  Yet they were artfully arranged by height, texture, and color to maximize the effect.  And after all, they were in Monet’s Garden.

I wanted to capture at least the illusion of solitude and serenity, and to photograph the garden as I thought it must have been back in Monet’s day.  I waited for lulls in tourist traffic to get my shots.  But while waiting, I watched hoards of humanity shuffling by, and I caught glimpses of peoples’ lives that I found as moving as anything I saw in those historic gardens. Mothers and children, old couples holding hands, a little boy with eyes only for the baby chicks, an awkward teenaged boy who had eyes only for the teenaged chicks, and a family with four generations of women all sharing a park bench.

While we writers strive to capture a mood or feeling or effect, we should also observe the stories happening all around us.

The first  is like a very pretty still life, or a posed portrait of Mother Nature.  The other is a vibrant, sometimes messy picture of the world, brimming with humanity, and all the joy and heartbreak that life and love have to offer.

There is beauty in it all.

null

All images and words © NaomiBaltuck

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Travel Theme: Plants.

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant