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The Waste Land
1st PlaceThe Waste Land

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: The Imagery of T.S.Eliot (Extended Editing)
Collection: Portfolio
Camera: Canon EOS-1D X
Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
Date: Feb 23, 2020
Date Uploaded: Feb 23, 2020

"The Waste Land" is a famous, epic poem by T.S. Eliot, written a few years after the first World War. Reading it can be overwhelming: it is long, complex, and quite dark. After my first contact with it, I was mostly lost, but an overall feeling of despair, moisture, helplessness, sadness and dirt started growing in my mind. I knew I had to try to translate this experience into an image.
From there, I spent some time studying the poem, dissecting the sections, reading various analyzes by other readers, taking notes about the characters, the situations, locations, and descriptions. However, a direct and literal illustration of Eliot's words was not my point, the picture had to somehow embed my own feelings as well.

If I put all the details aside, my general feelings are obviously about the absurdity of war, and equality of all in front of death. Human beings often brag about how smart they are, about how society make them supposedly superior to other lifeforms. Yet after thousands of years of evolution, they keep killing each other, for reasons that, I dare to say, are futile: religion, greed, territorial expansion, fear of difference, intolerance. What's left to say after that? I can only imagine what would be my state of mind, sitting on a pile of smoking debris, having lost those I love, left with no reason to live. I know I am darn lucky: I see such people every day, on the news. I just hope I'll never have to face such situation myself.

While I can't directly prevent wars from happening, I believe each of us can work towards that goal, bit by bit. Promoting tolerance, for one (either by discussing with family, colleagues at work, with anyone). Being interested in difference, instead of fearing it. Educating our children that way. Making political choices and voting accordingly. Or even creating art to express our views. Each droplet counts.

In this image, I tried to depict some kind of queen, facing death, isolated on her psychological island. She tries to find some meaning to the situation, or some ways to forget about it, exploring various paths (hence the multiple arms and legs, the book, the flower) but despite her efforts, branches are now growing on her, and she'll soon be gone. Her crown, made out of multiple small bones, changes nothing to the result. Other persons experience similar destinies in the background. No solution emerges, everything is just covered in dirt, no hope appears whatsoever.

Special thanks to my wonderful wife, who was of a great help once again. First, we talked a lot about the composition, which proved immensely useful. Then, she accepted to pose, even though she knew it was not going to be a glamorous picture. Then she helped a lot with the props, especially with the branches, that she arranged on various dummies, in our home studio, for me to photograph. It took some significant time masking each photo and merging everything into this composite, but I am quite happy with the result: it is faithful to my feelings after Eliot's words.

Thanks a lot for the great votes and kind words, much appreciated, very glad some liked it!

Place: 1 out of 34
Avg (all users): 7.8500
Avg (participants): 7.4286
Avg (non-participants): 8.3158
Views since voting: 854
Views during voting: 131
Votes: 40
Comments: 21
Favorites: 2 (view)

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03/04/2020 05:25:34 PM
Wow, this is amazing and beautifully executed. Good timing with where the world is at right now.
Congratulations, another masterpiece.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/04/2020 11:03:12 AM
Congratulations on your win, Christophe!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/03/2020 10:44:06 PM
Thank you for taking the time to describe your methods, reasons, interpretations and philosophical purpose. It adds to the unique and personal representation of the challenge.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/03/2020 09:04:58 AM
Remarkable merge and creation. Congratulations!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/03/2020 08:13:21 AM
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/02/2020 04:10:10 PM
Outstanding!! Congratulations on the blue! You are so creative and talented.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/02/2020 11:41:03 AM
Already told you, your works are always so inspirational and I am grateful you share them with us. And this one is so outstanding.
Again, congratulations, and, please don't stop joining us, are you already thinking to something for Deface a street sign? ;-)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/02/2020 10:24:43 AM
Thanks so much for joining us for this one, Christophe. Wonderful, thought-provoking work!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/02/2020 09:15:26 AM
LOVE IT!!! every time you surprise with the outcome Christophe!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/02/2020 03:18:35 AM
you echo my own feelings about intolerance and how we think we're so smart but do things that show the opposite .. you have verbalized it perfectly ..
what an different world we'd live in if instead of fearing our differences and focusing on them .. we were able to focus on our similarities instead ..

loved reading your write-up .. it gave more depth and substance to an already powerful image .. and also .. for me .. a greater understanding of what you were trying to convey .. :)

  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/02/2020 12:30:24 AM
I know you don't care about this but someone giving this image a 2?? Under 6? Mind boggles.

Anyway, I am always amazed with your incredible talent. Congrats on the Blue.

  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/02/2020 12:06:48 AM
many congratulations .. i doubt you could create one of the amazing works of art that you do without giving away who you are .. so totally wonderful ..
also i love the write-ups you give your images .. will look forward to seeing the thoughts behind this one .
no pressure .. seriously .. just if you were going to .. :)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
03/01/2020 11:43:40 PM
Brilliant entry. 10
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/01/2020 09:49:40 PM
At first glance this feels like such a clean shot and composition. But at the same time I feel like I could stare at it for hours and not catch all the little details. Or feel differently about a detail every time I look at it. Love it. Love the mood and the lighting. One of my favorites for the challenge.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/01/2020 01:52:34 AM
INTENSE ... !! ..
this is such an fantastic and profound work of art ..
you have blown me away .. this is off the charts amazing .. i'm loving the tones .. and those fingers .. and OMG .. EVERYTHING . !! ..
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/26/2020 04:32:15 PM
When, during the voting phase, the browser load the page of this picture, I can see only the "10" button. I would like to cast a lower score, but I can't :-P
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/26/2020 03:13:38 PM
My pick for red in this challenge.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/25/2020 08:10:43 AM
Genius! There is no one like you. Canít wait to read the description.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/24/2020 10:12:56 AM
B R I L L I A N T.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/24/2020 04:02:28 AM
Welcome back. This one is truly stunning, probably one of your best creations
  Photographer found comment helpful.
02/24/2020 12:49:06 AM
Nice to see your work again, Christophe :)
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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