Only part of the story

My feelings are mixed on closeup and macro photography, because on one hand, it can be quite arresting, but at the same time it is often one-dimensional, taken out of context.  It only tells part of the story.

Sometimes, though, that part of the story can be the most interesting part.  Maybe what lies beyond the edges would be distracting, or change the tonal qualities of the image.  Perhaps the edges are what matters, not what lies beyond.  In an extreme case, it could be like the photo above, where the trash completely ruins the serenity of the palm fronds.  Generally, I would frame a photo without that part of the story showing, because the story I want to tell you is the one of the folds on that palm frond, not how trashy people can be.

At times, it may be that fragments can suggest more than the whole would, or that they can convey information in a more provocative way.  The fragments may have enough information for us to read into them.  Although this shows only half of the sun, half of the cloud, and a small portion of the tree, it is enough to tell you a story of a mostly sunny day.  What you read into it from there is up to you.

Other times, fragments give us details that an overall picture would not.  Textures are more distinctive in closeups, as are patterns.  These details may be the story in themselves.  Seen from afar these leaves would be a mass of color, but up close you are able to see the sawtooth edges and the canyons of the veins.  The smoothness of the flesh on the fully grown leaf contrasts with the crinkly texture of the smaller leaves.  The ferns show the geometry of their ruffles when viewed up close, and the weathered wood of a fallen tree shows the whorls of its flesh.

A dried palm frond becomes a story of folds and holes.  The starlike shape of its earlier self has been lost as its structure has disintegrated, but enough remains to show the corrugations that once held its shape.

Even the name of the trail I walked tells only part of the story, Flatwoods Conservation Area, a designated nature sanctuary.  The name and addendum to the name tell of place of calm, with a little wildness thrown in.  However, the name tells only part of the story, and it’s a somewhat misleading part.  You see, this park is just blocks from the airport, and that changes the story significantly.  Frequent small plane takeoffs and landings shattered the serenity, although they add another layer of interest to the overall story.

I do apologize for the dust in that image.  Looks like it’s time for another deep clean.


5 thoughts on “Only part of the story

  1. Interesting post. You brought a depth to your post which made me think and inspired me as well. They say that every picture tells a story, I guess it can also depend on what part of the picture tells what part of the story.

  2. You are right, close-ups really do tell a little part of the story. I take a lot of close-ups, and I like to believe it’s also a way of appreciating the little things that would otherwise go by unnoticed in the bigger picture.
    Nice photos, by the way 🙂

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