01 Feb 2008 1,392 views
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photoblog image identities veiled

identities veiled

identities veiled in light
casting shadows
that reveal hidden lives

identities veiled

identities veiled in light
casting shadows
that reveal hidden lives

comments (36)

  • Martin
  • United States
  • 1 Feb 2008, 00:17
My first association is that these people are headed to some anonymous office early in the morning. Excellent shot! I'd like to know what you did in pp to get these silhouettes so I can 'borrow' the technique.
Kathryn: Martin, when I look at this image, it is hard for me to tell if the people are coming or going. They are coming, they were walking directly toward me. I was sitting on a little step in front of them and shot directly into the sun, which created that glow around their heads and of course the shadows. Post processing was a matter of converting it to a duo-tone, increasing the contrast and exposure (which darkened their bodies and highlighted the glow), and then a little cloning cleanup. To be sure the processing was nothing special, it is more a matter of the image shot into the sun from a low point that produced the results.
Memorable shot! It looks like the opening scene for a great dance number on stage; in just a moment, the lights will come up and there will be an amazing tap-dance!
How did you get the terrific lighting effect?
Kathryn: Patrushka, thank you for your encouraging comment. Perhaps the lights are already on and what we get is what we get smile

The lighting effect was a matter of shooting into the sun from a low angle and then increasing the contrast and lowering the exposure. I've done this before with a couple of images shot directly into the sun and produced similar results. Give it a try and let me know how it works out!
  • Ginnie
  • United States
  • 1 Feb 2008, 04:43
I'm not sure I've ever seen this done before, Kathryn...whatever the technique. This almost took my breath away. The lighting reminds me of the full moon. WOW. This one stays with me....

...and is a Likey.
Kathryn: Ginnie, thank you so much. I am delighted that the image made such an impact on you. It did me too, in part because of the visual aspect, but more so because of the symbolic aspect. And for me it was precisely what I wrote in my little poem...the self we show in the light of day and the real self cast as a shadow.

I wonder how you resonated with the image...from both aspects as well, I imagine.
Good back lighting to create delightful shadows... just enough away from full silhoutte to provide identification... lovely road textures. richard
  • Richa
  • United States
  • 1 Feb 2008, 07:13
Wow..Amazing shot Kathryn.

Is it a secret cult or something?
Kathryn: It is a secret cult---the secret cult of mankind. We are all members, just some keep it more of a secret than others smile

Thank you, Richa, for your comment.
This is such a good picture, for the many reasons that have been mentioned. LIKEY.
Kathryn: Thanks so much, Nig. Nice to know you like it that much!
  • Bill Phillips
  • Droitwich...cold and blowing a bit
  • 1 Feb 2008, 07:42
21st Century workers trudging off to the soulless offices along an 18th century road their forefathers used to walk to the dark satanic mills.
Kathryn: Bill, maybe the two of us could conspire to write a dark novel about these poor souls?
  • Sandeep
  • Bangalore
  • 1 Feb 2008, 08:30
There is something that is hauntingly likable about this image. I'm not sure what it is, but I'll make it a likey any way smile
Kathryn: Sandeep! So nice to have you back again. I check your site from time to time and miss your posts. I hope all is well with you.

Nice to know you like it.
  • Pops
  • United Kingdom
  • 1 Feb 2008, 09:09
Tremendous shot with so many possible interpretations.
If it wasn't for the shopping bags I would definately go for it being the front cover of a horror/spooky book.
Kathryn: Thanks, Pops.

If a book publisher wants to use it as a cover, I'd happily clone out those shopping bags ;-)
Excellent backlight work to obtain these semi-silhouettes. Well done Kathryn
Kathryn: Thanks so much, Richard.
  • vintage
  • Australia
  • 1 Feb 2008, 10:02
Very nice very interesting love the lighting (or lack of)
Kathryn: or both smile
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 1 Feb 2008, 11:00
Excellent. Likey. And I read your reply to Martin with great attention.

The picture could have so many interpretations - but none will include who these people are smile
Kathryn: Maybe they are us, Louis?
  • mal
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 1 Feb 2008, 12:04
zombies are coming to get you! I like it. mal
Kathryn: Night of the living dead smile
  • Aussie
  • Brisbane
  • 1 Feb 2008, 12:06
LOL Mals comment. I really like this and thank you for telling us how you achieved the final post.
Kathryn: Sure, Aussie.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 1 Feb 2008, 12:07
An impressive photo, the people seem to be standing, filled with a kind of expectation (some reminding of a painting of Max Ernst), but they are really going- where to?- this is the question- the darkness in the background evoce different thoughts and feelings- dark and open one- crowding people, but although very near to each other there is a touch of loneliness around them, I can't explain why... (maybe I'm inspired by the expressionistic poem of Alfred Wolfenstein, Städter).
Kathryn: Philine, thanks for your very thoughtful critique of this photograph. yes I see that expectation or anticipation in their stances too.

I had not read Wolfenstein's Städter before, but found it online and was able to translate it quite well. Powerfully written and yes this image does being it to mind, I agree. Wow what a way with words he has smile

Thanks for mentioning it. You are such a great resource for literature and art references.
  • Astrid
  • the Netherlands
  • 1 Feb 2008, 12:31
Kathryn I have been reading the comments and the responses, this is more than just a picture to me, it is like we some times are, hiding in our own identity, afraid of showing who we really are, afraid of not being liked, I can speak for myself if I say, I only show my real identitiy to people who will not miss-use it, there are only few.
This is a very well taken picture, love the sun/shadow in it.
Kathryn: Astrid, thank you for your words and thoughts. I agree that we hide our selves for a variety of reasons. But I also wonder if there are times that the shadows we cast in an effort to hide our "real identities," reveal more about us, than if we were standing in plain view.
  • tim
  • United Kindom
  • 1 Feb 2008, 13:52
wow, quite extraordinary Kathryn, hard to believe it wasn't all set up the way they run diagonally across the scene, stunning shotsmile
Kathryn: Tim, you are on to me smile This is actually a photograph from a theater production Ray ( and I have co-authored that stars office workers dressed in sensible pumps and loafers tip-tapping and pirouetting their way through the day.
  • ray
  • Thailand
  • 1 Feb 2008, 14:10
Oh! Startling!
Anonymous chorus-line...dancing the ballet of the Office Workers...think I can hear the clacketty-clack of office shoes on the pavement.
Kathryn: Oh this has made my day..I am laughing myself silly thinking of a theater presentation in which office workers ballet and tap their way through the day. Women wearing those sensible office pumps and men in black leather loafers clacketty-clacking down the hall as they joyfully smile and put on a happy face for the audience.
  • Jewlya
  • United States
  • 1 Feb 2008, 14:52
Hot damn, Kathryn, this is exquisite. It's creative, symbolic, technically very interesting, and a little haunting.
Kathryn: Hot damn, thank You, Jewyla!
  • SheepLover
  • Pembrokeshire SW Wales
  • 1 Feb 2008, 15:04
What a great shot. I'd assumed that they were walking towards the camera, but after reading the above, if I actually tried to work it out, I don't know that I could. Technique added to the "try" list.
Which one is Mr. Pink?
Kathryn: Thanks so much. Once you try it, let me know because I want to see yours!
  • blackdog
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 1 Feb 2008, 15:17
Moths to a flame!

(I can see some are coming towards us - but hey, poetic licence)

The expanse of space in the foreground adds to the impression that they have suddenly had their calling towards the light. A fine thoughful photograph that has more to it than your title suggests. I can see I am going to have to "up my game" to try and keep pace with this originality ;o) wish I had taken it - what more can I say!
Kathryn: Oh yes, moths to a flame too along with so many other interpretations as you noted.
Aww shucks, Mike, you are generous with your words today. Your game is already up and you are of one the bar setters.
  • Dave Wilkins
  • Recovering from surgery in Ireland
  • 1 Feb 2008, 15:41
It's almost sppoky...
Kathryn: Umm what would it take to push it over the spooky line?
  • VZ
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • 1 Feb 2008, 16:29
To the shadow-reader:
…they drown in sameness
they have no names
thank God they cast shadows
for you to play games
of reading the shadows…
Kathryn: To the author:
They are all named Peggy Sue and Bill Jones.
They all dress the same because
they all shop at the same shops.
They all say the same things over coffee.
They all live in houses ordered neatly in rows.
They all have 2 kids--1 boy and 1 girl.
Thank God they cast shadows
that give them dimension
that allow the shadow-reader
to read between the lines.
This is absolutely wonderful Kathryn: the way the light works here is terrific
Kathryn: Thanks so much, Chris.
The ground strikes me each time I look at this - have more than once today. It is almost as if the ground were moving, undulating beneath the feet of those moving forward. Hard to achieve.

I love your words.
Kathryn: Mary, I have to tell you of all the comments here, yours is the most surprising. This is not the typical nature shot that generally attracts you.

I love your words.
  • anniedog
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 1 Feb 2008, 23:35
Really like the anonymity of these people, with their glowing heads and shoulders. Nice work.
Kathryn: Thanks, Ingrid.
  • Helen
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
  • 2 Feb 2008, 02:27
This is a very powerful image.
Kathryn: Then a powerful thank to you.
  • Catalpa
  • Newcastle
  • 2 Feb 2008, 09:16
Little Boxes
by Malvina Reynolds

Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes made of tickytacky
Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same
There's a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses all went to the university
Where they were put in boxes and they came out all the same,
And there's doctors and there's lawyers, and business executives
And they're all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course and drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children and the children go to school
And the children go to summer camp and then to the university
Where they are put in boxes and they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business and marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky and they all look just the same
Kathryn: ian, I can recall my father singing this song and had forgotten it until you posted it. How apropos!
So mysterious... like shadows, quite threatening... no ? It's a very good shot Kathryn !
Kathryn: Thank you so much. Nice to know you like it.
  • chad
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 2 Feb 2008, 15:46
Seriously interesting image here. I like it a lot.
Kathryn: Thanks much. Nice to know you like it.
  • Aksel
  • Norway
  • 2 Feb 2008, 15:47
beautiful light, like the diagonal line and the fact that I have to use my imagination to "see" who these people are...I almost forgot to mention the shadows, I love shadows
Kathryn: Aksel, the light at that time of day is so beautiful, isn't it? Use your imagination all you like because I love imaginative people!
  • Chris
  • Isle of Wight (UK)
  • 2 Feb 2008, 20:31
Very mysterious Kathryn
Kathryn: Thanks, Chris.
  • Ellie
  • United Kingdom
  • 2 Feb 2008, 23:29
Wow Kathryn, this is a really powerful picture. It doesn't matter which way they're walking - that's in the eye of the viewer.

I've never really thought of taking people pictures into the sun, must try it some time.
Kathryn: Thanks, Ellie. I have posted a few pictures taken into the sun and Blackdog just did a great series of them. Take a look if you have time and I will look forward to yours up and coming!
This is what I mean when I talk about photography! A masterpiece!
Kathryn: Erik, don't make an old woman blush talking like this smile

Nice to know you appreciate it. Not sure about a masterpiece, but it certainly is photography!
Genial! I love this! Nothing to say!
  • Thomas
  • India
  • 11 Mar 2008, 15:15
Fabulous shot. Just love it
Kathryn: Thank you so much, Thomas. One of my favorites...

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