Mystery by the sea…

Every month Kat Sloma of Kat Eye Studio asks us to pick an image from the month that we are most drawn to…one that calls to us and captivates us.

Here is my January image for her Photo Heart Connection. I love it because it tells a story — but what story?  It suggests bigger themes, but the meaning is left to the viewer to discern.

The young woman is all alone on the craggy coral overlooking a wild and windy ocean and she is looking at her cell phone. Is she checking her messages? Is she thinking about calling someone? Is she trying to capture the beauty in front of her?


I was standing quite far away from her and shooting images in the opposite direction. I remembered my father’s photographic advice (he was a pretty good amateur photographer so I grew up going on photo shoots with him and whatever little camera I was using at the time). He used to say: “Don’t forget to turn around and look behind you;  sometimes there’s something more interesting there…” So I did.

I immediately noticed her standing there on the cliffs. And I liked her solitary stance overlooking the ocean. I could see she had something in her hand, but I couldn’t see what. I clicked a few images. I was using my long lens (70 to 200 mm) so it was only later when I downloaded the images I could see she was holding a cell phone.

But that should not come as any surprise.

These days we mediate so much of our direct experience through communications technology. We document so much of our lives and then share it in a multitude of ways. I’m no exception, obviously.

A bigger philosophical question is why… I think that it has something to do with a yearning for connection. We are social beings and we want to make meaning of our experiences and share them with others. We want to feel that we are not totally alone in this huge, sometimes scary, world of ours.

We seek communion in a sharing of the mysteries of living — the awe-inspiring mysteries of the wild places that turn our thoughts heavenward, and the not-so-awe-inspiring mysteries of the earthly life we all live every day.

I will never know what this young woman was doing, but she wasn’t alone.

11 thoughts on “Mystery by the sea…

  1. From your beautiful photo and the great texture work to the incredibly interesting story behind the photo, this is sheer reading pleasure. Loved reading about your father and your closing comments on communications. I can tell you’d be so interesting to visit with in person.

  2. I still am amazed at how we can all connect together whether in the same street or across the world. A fantastic shot and I wouldn’t give up my tech so I can connect with my friends across the world..

  3. I just love the story-telling that this lovely image expresses, Sherry. Whatever we may think about the exact nature of this young woman’s occupation, it would only be speculation! She does seem to be gazing at the sea and enjoying that moment of connection with her environment.
    Yes, we are social beings that seek connection. I also very much like your dad’s advice: “Don’t forget to turn around and look behind you…” Excellent!

  4. Definitely a story here, Sherry. Was she photographing, completely in the here and now… or were her thoughts partly elsewhere? Interesting to wonder as we look at this composition, feeling those craggy rocks at our feet and the breeze in our hair.

  5. Lovely image and post, Sherry. We do have a strong desire for connection. That’s what drives a lot of our behaviors, good or bad. I like to think she is taking a photo and celebrating being in the moment, rather than checking Facebook. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this in the Photo-Heart Connection.

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