The People of Sunset Walk with the Unknown
Below is my first version of a series of 6 photographs I call The People of Sunset Walk with the Unknown.
I liked the above photo initially, but I was looking for a greater personal sense of solitude and the unknown. I decided to focus on three people, the sun and the triangle of dark beach sand. Here’s how I modified the photo:
This version above puts the viewer more directly into the scene. Now the viewer is also walking on the beach at sunset.
The feeling of solitude is primary. Even though the three figures are walking together, there’s a sense that each is on a solitary walk. That is, they appear to be alone together. That contributes to the viewer’s feel of being solitary.
The people on either end are males. I can’t tell, and I don't remember whether the person in the middle is male or female. In any case, the three aren’t visibly relating to each other.
They don’t seem to be looking at each other or talking to each other. It appears that each is comfortable in the other’s company yet perhaps not talking. They are enjoying the quiet solitude and each other’s company during the solitary-feeling walk.
I wanted to see if I could create a sense of greater solitude, so I used Photoshop to remove two figures, leaving only one:
I don’t feel the lone figure above is enjoying the solitude or the sense of the unknown. He or she looks like they’re actively walking with a purpose. I don’t feel he or she is taking any deep breaths or letting go of their purpose.
The lone figure shown above doesn’t look to be enjoying the solitude or the unknown either. He’s drinking from a bottle of water, and it looks as though he could be on his way to work. I don’t see any delight in solitude here.
The photo above is the most interesting of the “lone figure” photographs. He appears to be truly at one with solitude and meditative. However, I detect a certain anxiety or worry. Not a lot, but a measure. Is he walking or standing still? Although I know he is walking, I might believe he is standing still if I hadn't known.
I could interpret the anxiety as related to Covid. Here is a man on an isolated beach, all alone, yet he is thinking about how he will prevent catching Covid when he returns to the city. Maybe he is wondering whether Covid exists. Maybe he is certain Covid is a hoax, and he is telling himself that he must inform others. Who knows what he’s thinking?
In any case, there is a sense of anxiety in the midst of solitude and the unknown. I find it a slightly disturbing photograph, which makes it perhaps the most interesting of the five.
To create the version below, which I like the best, I reduced the contrast and made the photo hazier:
While I like this the most, it may be better to print all six photos as a collage:
And those are the people of sunset, as is anyone who walks with the unknown.