Does an image need to be understood to be appreciated?

In this case I just went with shapes, textures, and colors. The suggestive form had an emotional appeal to me but your reaction may be different. After looking at this for a while I feel it’s best to not try to understand what this is but just let it take you where it will.

I shot this a couple of nights ago and am really curious how this will print up.

Your thoughts and criticisms are valued.

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Igor, I am enjoying this for the reasons you stated. I think the interesting shapes, colors and textures all work really well together to create a very thought provoking scene. At first glimpse I thought this was a dried out animal skull…did this come to your mind ?
Nice work on this one!

Yes it did. (oops needs to be 20 characters).

I like this a lot, Igor. The impression I got immediately was of an elk or deer skull, and it appears to be trying to graze one last time, or died trying. For me, this one is all about life, death, rebirth, the things that are still growing, and the things that have done all they can.

As for a title? I dunno. I really suck at those! Maybe something like this: Final Pasture or Edge of Life.


I too immediately thought of an animal skull. Could be deer, elk… maybe coyote or even wolf. Then again good be a Longhorn steer… Which brings me to a title suggestion, “The Oregon Trail.” Kinda gives me visions of the skeletons left along the trail back in the old west - even perhaps crossing the Mojave desert (Grapes of Wrath… “them’s is man bones…”)

To your question, I’m not sure what’s to understand? A message trying to be conveyed? or the literal representation? Perhaps just a simple story of nature, for without a reference to a skull… I understand this to be an image capturing the cycle of life in the forest; the decaying wood (in various stages of decay) returning nutrients and providing life for the new - the grasses, small saplings, etc. This IS a great nature story.

In the end, I don’t think this particular image needs an explanation or understanding, it stands beautifully enough on it’s own. Great job in capturing the details (technicals executed beautifully) Honestly, I don’t think a title here is important - as mentioned, this image stands on it’s own. Granted, an interpretation to “see” an animal skull is bonus for the viewer, but I don’t think I title needs to direct them.


Thank you for your excellent insightful thoughts Marylynne. I really appreciate them. They are the best so far. They make me think.

And I appreciate that you didn’t treat this as a postprocessing exercise with comments about leading lines, dust spots, etc (although those too are valuable).

I love patterns and textures in pics in pictures and find this one quite fascinating. My title thought is Life Patterns. My only odd feeling I get when viewing is I want to rotate it clockwise 2-5 degrees. Nice eye seeing this image

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No it does not need to be understood. I think some of the most successful landscape images are those that deliberately remove a sense of context. Sometimes that means trying for an abstract interpretation, sometimes not. I don’t necessarily view this image as an abstract, instead to me it’s a micro landscape, that has zoomed into a tiny world. I actually don’t see a skull here, but i still like it as microcosm of the landscape.

As a photographer I appreciate it for the colors, textures and shapes and lines, that while somewhat chaotic, still work cohesively together. For all the complexity here, it is very well composed. My only suggestion would be to burn down the bright bark in the URC, and maybe clone away the partially cut off green plant in the ULC. Those are nits, though, this is one fine image…

I have to say that I was not all that impressed with the thumbnail, but when opening the large version this just sprang to life for me. My thought immediately drifted to the cycle of life because of the similarity to an animal’s skull. This is a wonderful find full of textures and details that I find very appealing.

Intriguing intimate, Igor. This one clearly tells a story of rebirth and the cycle of life to me with the flowers rising out of the deadwood. The tonality and shape of the main piece of driftwood is reminiscent of an animal skull which works beautifully. Your framing and processing look good to me. Minor but I would clone out that one tuft of green protruding in the upper left corner frame edge.

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