12 x 12 Challenge 04

Having decided against doing the last 12 x 12 Challenge I was determined to do this one, but the brief threw me a bit:

Take what you believe will be the final series of photographs before you die.
— Nick Brandt

Certainly wide scope for interpretation here, from the literal to the symbolic.  Geoff’s contribution was to suggest a series of pictures showing a luscious meal slowly disappearing from the plate, followed by a picture of a hangman’s noose!

I pondered two approaches to it.  One was to ask myself what I would most like to photograph – ie, if I looked back at the end of life, what would have had great meaning for me? – and the other was to show something that symbolised life itself – brief and transient.  I asked myself what I’d want to photograph if they were the last photographs I could ever take, and the answer was the sea.  That simply wasn’t going to be practical, however, so I had to think again.

I go on photographing the skies from my window because they’re just too amazing not to.  Although it feels like doing more of the same, and what I really wanted from these challenges was to do something a little different, clouds do work well to symbolise a life – there for a short while, often glorious, sometimes ordinary, but each one different.

On a couple of occasions recently, there have been an unusual number of jet trails, and these too, could represent the journey through life.  They are what remains of a real journey and the ‘memory’ of the plane’s passing hangs in the sky for a while before fading to nothing, as people live on in the memories of others, the trail becoming fainter as the years go past.

So these are my five photos for this challenge.  I struggled a bit to find a way of making them hang together as a set.  I wanted a sequence that roughly corresponded to the fading of the light, but as they were all taken on different evenings in different conditions, I wasn’t sure how to arrange them.  Eventually I decided on this – the two ‘blue’ shots at the beginning, gold in the middle, followed by the two orange/pink/blue images.  At each end and in the middle are the images with branches, while the two inbetween are just sky, but these two have jet trails while the others don’t.  It gave the whole a satisfying symmetry.  The final image has a quietness that I rather like compared to the drama of the others and seemed to make a fitting end-piece.

Clouds over Newark

Clouds with jet trails

Sunset clouds with jet trail

Darkness falls