Ashes by Edvard Munch is a captivating painting of a couple who appear to be at the end of their relationship. A beautiful woman with long, red hair is quite frustrated, ready to give up as her man looks away. The names ashes refers to what’s left over after the burning desire of a relationship has come to an end. We all turn to ashes at some point in our lives. Everything does. Some things remain ashes while others, like the sunset and its afterglow or relationships that work through the hard times, are rekindled and continue to burn with desire. One aspect of photographing sunsets that I find so intriguing is how nature will do everything it can to let that desire burn. For example, in this photo, as the sun is setting, the clouds above me change colors and the tide pool at my feet can’t let go of the beauty and perfectly reflects the entire scene. The color red symbolizes the extremes of our universe, from seduction to adventure. I am taken by this color that sometimes reveals itself in a sunset. Whether it’s the irresistible red of the girl in Munch’s Ashes painting or the red that kisses the sky as the sun sets, it’s a reminder that we are slaves to our own desires and we continue to be beautiful even as we find ourselves as ashes looking for a new desire to be burned by.
This was one of my first attempts at capturing lightning. It is a single time exposure. The moon will soon set over the Gulf but not before a thunderstorm drops a few bolts below. This photo has always been very symbolic of the dual nature we see so much in the universe. On the right, the stillness of the Gulf is seen as the moonlight shimmers across the water, the light stopping at the base of the sand. On the left is a storm dangerous to anyone caught underneath its fury. The towering clouds are lit up both by the setting moon and the lightning, revealing the complex structure of a Florida summer storm. Above it all, the stars blanket the sky; the ultimate appearance of calmness, an ending to a captivating poem. The stars watch over us day and night, on happy mornings and stormy nights, they are ever present. Another inspiration behind this photo is a quote by the father of modern painting, Paul Cézanne, “Art is a harmony running parallel to nature.” He boldly expresses that the purpose of art isn’t always to imitate nature, but to dwell in its own eternal beauty alongside nature. I picture art and nature being two butterflies flying across a meadow, each butterfly on its own destiny, each with a different yet stunning array of colors, but both possessing priceless value.