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August 15, 2019
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August 28, 2019

The Virgin of the Shepherds

Photo by Ivan Obolensky

Several years ago, Mary Jo and I visited this shrine in Colombia on the spur of the moment. A few days later I found out that my mother had died that day.

The spot I am shooting from had an electric, otherworldly feeling. The colossal weight of the inselberg above felt as if it would drop down on me at any moment.

In the photograph, the Virgin of the Shepherds wears a derby hat and holds a crook as she sits beneath a massive stone weighing many millions of tons. The rock remains suspended above her as if by a divine hand.

I underexposed to silhouette the statue and give a dark transcendental cast to the scene, an impression I distinctly felt at the time. The framing is also slightly off-center. In most photographs, I utilize the Golden Ratio or the Rule of Thirds to accent and draw the viewer’s attention to a splash of light or a dash of color. I avoided both in this case to heighten a sense of otherworldly balance.

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