Yesterday’s post was about storytelling in a sequence of images. Today’s is about a one-image story. I call this picture ‘Escape’. To the viewer, it tells of a whale that escapes the whaler’s harpoon. It suggests a backstory, the hunt that has failed, and a future story: where is the whaler going, will it be back, and will the whale escape next time?
The original exposure is below. It tells its own tale to me, of a whale watching trip out of Monterey in summer 2008. It was hardy whale watching. By the time the whales appeared, I was one of only a few left on deck. The heavy grey mist never lifted but, when a tall ship ghosted past in the distance, I had my shot. However, it needed some work back at home to ‘age’ the shot in keeping with the historical fiction I wanted to tell. First, I moved the ship further along the horizon to make a more balanced composition and to make it clearer that the ship was disappearing into the distance. I converted the image to black and white and added a sepia tint. Then I added a texture and, finally, did some selective dodging and burning. The original was an unremarkable shot but a little editing turned it into an storytelling image worth keeping.
Editing in Photoshop CS4. Texture courtesy of skeletalmess.