Traces of presence

Traces of presence

Footprints

Is it possible to have a favourite photograph? This is a question I have been pondering as I work on my personal photo book for 2014; a collection of images that hold personal memories from the year.

As is the case with my taste in music, the concept of “favourite” has a temporary nature and often depends on the mood of the moment. Choosing a favourite image from 2014 became a challenge and as I browsed through the year’s catalogue of photos I began to find it a very difficult one. There were simply too many options from family, to creative images, to places visited. I finally gave up on the idea of a favourite and settled on choosing an image that spoke to me in a meaningful way. And this is the one I chose.

I like its simplicity and the way it captures a range of colour from the warm tones of the sand to the cool blues and whites of the sea and sky. Many of my landscape images have a clear uninterrupted horizon and I think this is a reflection of the fact that my preference is for open spaces where I can simply “be” and feel a connection with creation which I find is blocked out by the busyness of modern life.

For me, however, the most striking feature of this photo are the footprints on the sand which emerge from the sea. In one moment, they evoke a sense of arrival, presence and passing. They are a reminder that we leave traces of ourselves as we journey through life and that we ought to aim to leave positive traces wherever possible. These footprints in the sand also remind me of Genesis 3: 8, 9 where it tells of God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. I know a beach is not exactly a garden, but equally the garden of Eden is a concept rather than some classically formal 17th century horticultural setting. Adam and Eve heard God walking in the cool of the day and decided to hide as they had disobeyed him. So, for me, this image carries a sense of comfort; the footprints representing God’s unseen presence with us. It also, however, serves as a reminder that we cannot hide from truth as we leave echoes of ourselves wherever we go and that’s not a bad thought for Christmas.

The photograph was taken on the Kintyre peninsula in Scotland and was shot at 1/320 sec at f18 on a focal length of 29mm.

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