“Lone Pine” the Theory of Contrast

June 06, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

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A small pine tree in a forest of aspens.

Contrast seems to be a recurring theme in my photography. I think it’s a theme in the rest of my life as well. The friends I choose, the music I listen to, the books I read and the clothes I wear exhibit a wide variety of colors, textures, personalities, flavors, sounds and emotions. Each image an artist creates is a product of everything in his or her life that has come before. Everything we do, see, hear, taste, smell etc. will influence the the remainder of our lives and the art we create.

The single pine tree in the forest of aspens offers lots of contrasting elements. The shape of the tree, colors, textures, size and species all stand in sharp contradiction to the surrounding forest. Artists frequently use this technique to draw attention to the subject. If you have a field of ten thousand yellow poppies and a single red one, the contrasting flower is where your gaze will land. The technique is not subtle or secretive it’s obvious and demanding. This isn’t the only valid technique though. Subtle, intricate, delicate and refined compositions can work too. I think it depends on the scene and what the artist is attempting to say.

The reason people tend to respond positively to this image is more psychological than visual though. Whether the emotional response is that of being alone, outcast, surrounded, small, colored, short or a different species, the visual contrast evokes certain feelings. The response could be positive as well. The pine seems to be thriving despite its surroundings. It could be a conqueror or the first sign of change in the evolution of the forest. Each one of us will respond to the photograph individually based on everything that has happened to us leading up to this moment or event. Just like the artist. The response you have today may be entirely different than a year from now. “Lone Pine” has generated many different emotional responses from me but it always has something to say. What does it say to you? I would love to know. As always, you can click on the photo for a larger view. You can also use the link below to share on Facebook, email or your favorite media.

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Crested Butte, Colorado photographer, Dusty Demerson creates fine art photography displayed as prints and canvases and provides private photo tours in and around western Colorado.

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