The Collection

DECODE: Do Not Go Gentle

Like last week's Wayfarer Traveler, this photograph, too, is the result of spontaneity. Spontaneity in the sense that you walk outside everyday to check the mail and one day its raining; meaning it was bound to happen. What I mean is, is that the shoot was spontaneous but not necessarily the photograph. A few friends (the three characters in the photograph) and I were on a road-trip to Ohio and this shot came about while we were exploring the city at night. 

While we were out I knew immediately this was the shot I wanted to make, and I even knew what I would call it - all before pressing the shutter release. I wanted a shot that captured the essence of the city and I wanted to include the human element somehow. While my friends walked about I dropped back a little and began composing them in shots along with the city lights. When I was composing the shot I chose a shallow depth of field because I wanted the destination of the subjects to be a mystery. The same goes with the silhouetting of the subjects. I wanted to strip them of any identity, make them only the shapes of people, to create a great sense of mystery. In the same way that I stripped the subjects of any identity making this photo black and white stripped it of the distractions color can sometimes bring. What eventually resulted was the shot you see above: Do Not Go Gentle.

'Do Not Go Gentle,' alludes to one of my favorite poems. The poem is called 'Do not go gentle into that good night' by Dylan Thomas. I always wanted to create a photograph titled after the poem and with this one I finally got the chance. As far the the photograph is concerned the title refers to making the most out of the present; or any opportunities if you really wanted to stretch the analogy. Sometimes I feel as if we're all a little too guarded or uptight. Freeing ourselves and really living in the moment can be much needed and even healthy at times. 

The theme of the poem is far cry from the theme of the photograph, yet some similarities can be drawn. In Dylan Thomas' poem the speaker warns against giving in to death too early and begs that one "rage, rage against the dying of the light." 

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
- Dylan Thomas 

Thank you for reading. Stay tuned for Part VIII, find the previous here. Share this post! Join Through the Lens on Facebook.

James Elliott

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