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When All Other Lights Go Out

By MichaelBilottaPhotography    
One of the struggles in accepting something on faith is its inherent intangibility, the fact that it is not something, by definition, you can behold or see with your eyes, and therefore experience in any real way.

This pose, improvised without a concept in mind, spoke to me about a lot of things, and while I see them in this finished piece as present and accounted for, it's possible you the viewer may not. This is perfectly fine by me, in that I always strive to walk a line between a definitive image and one that is open and receptive to many interpretations.

Of course the pose lends itself to religious concepts, particularly Christianity, and being raised in that faith, I am prone to focus on it when creating any image that attempts to examine spiritual beliefs and concepts. A few weeks ago I created a surreal portrait called "God is Dead," and in it we see a man, or an approximation of a man, who appears dead or at least blinded, a telescope nearby, and his skin is textured with a chessboard pattern. Three wires connect from his spine or neck and extend past the frame. This was my way of giving "god" an out - a possibility that he himself is a puppet on someone else's strings, and the chessboard pattern on his skin meant to imply that he is the game master, his very nature is a strategist observing the moving pieces he set in motion on the board of life on Earth. I was toying with a sequel to it with this one, or perhaps a better depiction of the concept, but once I changed the chessboard pattern to be the killing floor rather than his skin, it seemed this was one of the victims of the game, a pawn in the chess match between Good and Evil.

The fact that most of the pose recalls Jesus' position when nailed to the cross seemed to suggest a possible story of stigmata, the wound he holds in his right hand approximately where the spear pierced Jesus' side.

All of that went into this, until it evolved out of it, into a rumination of death and the role that faith plays in it. Our victim is dying - the wound is fatal, and the strings extending out and up imply the connection to Heaven above. We see wisps of smoke or vapor leaving his mind, and the seems to be no peace in this transition on his face. He holds a light in his hand - what is it? Is it the spark of life escaping? Is it the God particle? Is it his soul escaping its corporeal bonds?

I tend to regard it as a concept - a point of light, like an idea, a concentration of one life's information, focused to a brilliant light and ready to travel and continue once this man passes into oblivion. Perhaps it is the illusion of faith, perhaps it is a spark of creativity, the sum of this man's experiences, an energy that cannot be extinguished.

Regarding my title, I chose this line from Galadriel's wonderful speech to Frodo from Lord of the Rings, when he was given the Star of Earendril. "May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out." Much like the effects of faith to those that choose to believe.

Model: Mike Ryan

Tags: Specialist and abstract Digitally manipulated Digital art Portraits and people Flash and lighting

Voters: User_Removed, dudler, Tosh4photos and 11 more


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Comments


dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1868 England
1 Jun 2013 2:04PM
Hmmm...

A lot to load into a single image: it feels like there are two processes working in parallel. One is the creation of a picture, and the other is a philosophical exploration. Maybe the one assists the other.
bluesandtwos 11 522 1 England
10 Jun 2013 9:13AM
As dudler says above, two processes working in parallel. For me, both the text and the image could stand alone but combined they become more than the sum of the two parts.

Dave

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