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  • Betty Girardeau

Messages in Pictures


Two years after I accidentally captured a sunstar in one of my images, I was at the Grand Canyon and purposely trying to add one. It was an extremely cold and windy dawn. A light dusting of snow had fallen during the night that can only barely be seen in the foreground. While I don't think this is one of my best images, I think it does convey a sense of the time and the place. And, for that reason, it accomplishes one of the major things that a photographer wants to do. The sunstar is the only thing that looks warm, and, compared to the surroundings, its size is not much bigger than the group of people on the left. Even the rocks, bushes and the tree are bigger. I consider it a picture of many juxtapositions. For that reason, I think it is a picture that deserves a second look. I took a lot of pictures while at the Grand Canyon, many of them attempts to replicate the iconic look of ones others had taken. But I like this one more than most of them because it isn't typical and because, if I take the time to really look at it, it makes me think. Looking at it I can still feel the biting cold of that morning. The tiny people in it give a sense of the vastness of the the place. The tree and bushes amidst all the rocks tell a different story of the emergence of life even in the most difficult of places. And finally there is the life-giving sun reaching out its tiny fingers to sustain that life. If I hadn't added the sunstar to this composition, I don't think the image would have much merit at all. The "show" in general is basically good. But without the "star" of that show, I think picture would have been a failure.

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