Karolin Acunto Wins December 2020 Work Share “Competition” SILENCE (See Photo)

“Silent.” ©2020 by Karolin Acunto

Kudos to Karolin who submitted a very clever photo that virtually screams SILENCE. 

This photo is an example of “visual poetry.”  This term is also the title of a book by noted photographer and teacher, Chris Orwig. The book is a guide to developing and producing photos that tell your story. I think this photograph would fit right in that book as an example to follow in how to make a story-telling photograph and visual poem.

Every element in the photo does its job to tell the story.  The subject:  A deserted children’s playground.  The weather: A winter’s snowfall.  The color palette:  Muted, almost gray scale:  A rendition of a scene usually consisting of the bright cheerful colors typically used to paint playground apparatus.

The snowfall, and perhaps some intentional processing, works to give a slightly veiled and painterly look. At first glance you might think that this is a painting.

But what is really powerful is what is absent:  The children. The missing shrieks of delight and excited voices somehow still can ring in our heads:  If we imagine.  But of course the happy sounds are not really there.  The bittersweet feeling of their absence lingers.

Like a poem, the photo can spur us to make associations beyond the literal message of the scene: To another truth.

Of course this scene is silent:  It’s a winter’s snowfall.  No kids are going to be on a playground in this weather.  But how many times have we passed a playground this year in nice warm weather and heard no happy shrieks?  How many times have we missed the happy sounds made by our own children or grandchildren?  There’s been plenty of silence in this year of Covid-19.  And that feeling is not always just bittersweet.

Congratulations and thanks Karolin for making such a powerful and poetic photograph.