The Great One by Mehmet Ozgur
From Visionscapes by Mehmet Ozgur
From LensWork and LensWork Extended #78
© 2008 Mehmet Ozgur. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the photographer.
Every once and a while listening to music, we experience what I call a "perfect chord" — the perfect combination of notes, placed in the composition at the perfect place, held for the perfect length of time. It resonates with our heart. It pulls us into the music and sweeps us away from everyday existence. Well, the same thing can happen with a combination of tones in a photograph. For me, the whites and grays in that glorious mountain are like a perfect chord.
The other day, I was proofing some prints from Ozgur's LensWork Folio before shipping it off to a waiting customer. It had been a while since I'd seen this image and it struck me like a thunderbolt. The tones in this print (unfortunately not perfectly reproducible in this screen version) simply took my breath away. I paused; I looked; I breathed in the image — and then continued my work. What a marvelous gift this print presented — in fact, that good artwork presents in general. In my way of thinking, this is one of art's highest callings — to interrupt our life for a moment and remind us of the grander scheme of things beyond our mundane daily existence.
I've been a constant advocate of content in art as the touchstone of quality. I still am. But it cannot be denied that in photography — black-and-white photography in particular — there is a place for the simple joy of exquisite tonality. This was one of the first things that brought me to photography as a youngster. Now 50 years later, I still find exhilaration in the magical chord of the perfect tones.
There is another small component of this photograph that I'd like to call to your attention. Notice the light patch of sun on the left side, just below middle center, that is illuminating the knoll in the foreground. That patch of dappled sun is incredibly important to this image. It provides a sense of three-dimensional depth and scale. Now admittedly, this image — in fact, Ozgur's entire project — is recombinant images, so he had the luxury of selecting any foreground to use with this mountain. Having chosen one with the perfect dappled light, however, is a testament to his compositional sensitivity.
And don't miss the faint line of the trail through the grass in that dappled light. All these details are overshadowed by the imposition of the towering mountain, but they all have a contribution to make to the image. Layer upon layer, our eye is led in to a crescendo of whites. Sorry for all the musical language, but with an image like this one, I can't help it. It just fits.
The portfolio can be seen in its entirety in our back issues — print (while still available) and our PDFs for computer, iPad, Android, and other devices. Plus, bonus audio commentary about this image is available to members of LensWork Online.
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