Reflecting on the Absent

Channel Island, California
I speculate that the moral police will have some problems with this image. It is what it is. Two men holding hands along the Pacific Ocean. Friends? I would say hardly. I think they are more than friends. I'm not going to be judgmental. The reality is this is the world we live in. People do the things they do for whatever rationale they have. Beyond that, I see emptiness. Not because of their sexuality. This would have been true regardless.

I've mentioned to a good friend that in my art I try to convey the darkness and the light -- the curse and the redemption. That is not easy. On this one, it is ambivalent. It's hard to see redemption in this picture. The subjects are reflecting on something -- whatever that may be. But it's all senseless to the viewer unless one fills in the blanks. Hence, the title "Reflecting on the Absent". There really isn't anything out there. Is there redemption in this scene? Hardly at face value. Yet I would hope there is. Again, one has to fill in the blanks to get to that conclusion.

Like I said, it is what it is.

Addendum (Updated September 21,2011): Shot taken at Channel Island the day before the 10th year of 9/11. I used my Point and Shoot on this one. This was actually one of the many test shots, which I used as basis for composing and setting up my old Mamiya 6 medium format film camera. Out of 24 shots there were only a few that came out okay. This beach scene wasn’t one of them. Good thing I still had my faithful P&S.

Featured Comments:

sista' moonshine: Did you shoot this in black and white or converted it after? What time of the day was it shot? It’s a very intimate photo. The beach looks entirely empty except for their set up at the far end. I like the use of rules of third in this photo. I sort of wish that boat in the distance wasn’t in the photo. Is that a boat or a bird or a plane? Even though it’s small, it sort of disturbs the intimate moment. Beautiful. I love black and white.

Juzno: This was shot original in RAW and converted to BW in post processing. It was late in the afternoon when I shot this image. The clouds were originally not that dark but I burned some parts using curve layer technique in PS. There was a bird on the sky that I removed. The boat is really an ant that crept into my lens :-) No, I think it is a boat. I may try to remove it now that you pointed that out. Good idea. Cheers.

sista' moonshine:  You named it “reflecting on the absent”.  What does that mean?

Juzno: It could mean anything.  Maybe remembering a loved one lost in 911.  Personally, I would like to think they are reflecting on what is not there -- whatever or whoever that may be.  But I think that may not be the case for the two people.

sista' moonshine:  That's a good meaning -- you can read a lot into your photo; especially with the title. There are two people looking out into the distance...there is nothing there that we see. (well except for that boat) -- but we can understand that they too maybe remember what is lost; what is gone; what was once there and is not there. And yes it could connect to the anniversary of 9/11.

Two people alone having their time remembering what once was there or what they once had before 9/11.

Excellent Rob! Feel free to copy and paste our comments to your web page. I think your responses about your photo are very insightful.

Rachel:  Your photos always convey a sense of humanness or earthliness that is conveyed through your art. I always welcome the shots.

A great shot. I like the dark shadowing of the sky. It really gives a lot of depth to the sky, which could be overpowered by the emotion of the people.

Rachael:  Beautiful!   Makes me want to touch the sand.  If I didn't know if was just before the celebration of 9/11, it wouldn't make me feel so sad.


The redemption come from God and his working in the world. Yes there may be an issue with the perversion of love, but it is juxtaposed with the serenity of a beautiful beach. What isn't there is the proper form of human love, but God's love is everywhere. :)
Rob Castro said…
Cheers, TI... thanks for noticing and for the comment. Yes yes there is a sliver of hope in the redemption, which I long for. But amidst it all, I can still appreciate the worldly beauty. For I know that God is still in control of this messed up world we live in.

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