Sunday, May 24

Eko on Guitar

I know I am prone to declaring whatever photograph I post on this blog as one of my favorites. More often than not though, I find that time tends to cool these feelings. A little distance and a few more opportunities to see other photographs and I no longer hold my shot in the same regard. I may still like it, but I cannot see what once made it so special.

Not so with this picture. I shot it nearly a year ago, and it still ranks high among my favorites.

It is a simple picture with a single subject and little to distract from it in the background, but forgive me for saying so about my own work, I think the composition is brilliant. The lines of his legs and arms and the neck of the guitar are powerful. The negative space in the lower-right quadrant offers a strong balance. The tonal range is complete. More important than these formal elements, though, is the sense of peace that pervades the entire photograph through Eko's easy posture and closed eyes. The soft focus, an accident in this picture as I normally opt for sharpness in the subject, also draws out this feeling of quiet.

Very much worth noting, Eko is a cool guy. Born into one of Jakarta's slums, he raised the money for bus fare to travel to classes by rooting through landfills and selling plastic bags he found there. Last summer he was still attending the International Humanity Foundation's education center but as a math teacher. With any luck he's studying mathematics at university now. Eko might be playing Green Day's "Basketcase" in the picture. It's one of his favorites. If you would like to learn more about him, his story and that of his sister can be found about halfway down the page.

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