Photo and prayer 2015 by Danny N. Schweers

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Some Comments from Subscribers and the Author's Response

Elaine wrote:
You have so beautifully put into picture and words my life metaphor - the leaf.

Larry wrote:
Total winner, both photo and prayer. Did you suspend the leaf somehow by its stem? Wondering,

Craig wrote:
Love the soft gray background. Was this just a depth of field thing, or perhaps something else???? Some kind of, I dunno, photo secret…….

Kathy wrote:
Ah, Danny: That's lovely. Yeah, it's amazing, isn't it, what causes us to stop and look?!


I did suspend the leaf by its stem, then set a light bulb very near it. The light grazed the surface of the leaf, making the texture stand out. Behind the leaf I placed a mat board to make the background simple and uncluttered. I used a macro lens, which has a very shallow depth of field, so the mat board is out of focus besides having very little texture to begin with. Such are my photo secrets!

Why not the real thing? That question is central to any image maker. That is, if the real thing is available, why settle for a representation of it? A friend of mine says he saw a man walk up to the edge of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, take a photo, and turn back to his car. He told his family not to bother looking because he already had the photograph! This extreme example gets to the point, that it is easy for the imitation to compete with the real, the photo of the leaf with the real leaf. Famously, René Magritte painted a pipe and included the words “This is not a pipe.” (Actually, he wrote in French.)

Here I’ve photographed a tattered leaf, lit it with grazing light, with no distracting background. Is this image better than the real thing? If you saw the original, you might think so. The leaf is drab and beat up, trashy. If I succeed as an artist, it is in showing you that there’s something beautiful there.

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