For our fall 2007 photo contest, we asked our readers to submit photographs playing off the words "beginning," "middle," and "end." Here we present our favorites from among the nearly 100 submissions we received.
We also asked the photographers to tell us a little about their pictures, and their comments are illuminating, ranging from the technical challenges they faced to the metaphysical.
"I wanted to enter something that was familiar, but not too obvious. I used available light and a slow shutter speed to capture the motion of the balls. It took about 20 tries to get this shot."
"I remember with this particular photo I was experimenting with new macro filters, so I was in a very uncomfortable position of trying to hold my camera steady and use my other hand to push back the other ferns, while trying to get as close to the plant as I could. It's very dark and shaded where they grow ... and these particular ferns grow on the side of my house, and I'm pretty sure my neighbor thought I was nuts, crawling around in the bushes and dirt. This image seems very delicate and dark. The fern itself seems unprotected and vulnerable, being so small."
"This photo was taken of my daughter at my mother's place in northern Wisconsin. My daughter has a very considerate, kind, and compassionate way about her, and this really came across in her interactions with the kitty. The main challenge in taking this photo was not to interfere with what was naturally occurring. I managed to snap the photo without either of them noticing. I labeled it 'the beginning of a new friendship,' because since that day both are very close. My two-year-old asks about the kitty often, and whenever we visit my mom, they become each other's shadows."
"Living by the Mississippi, I love to be by the river. I thought that it would make a beautiful shot. It fits the theme of beginning, middle, and end; it's beginning, because you're stepping into a new moment or new times in life. Don't cut life short."
"The impetus for this photograph was a spring rain back in 2006. My daughter Maeve was in full puddle-stomping mode in the months before kindergarten. I grabbed my camera and had her jump in the puddles in front of my house. Repeatedly. Being told to jump in puddles by your dad has to be a dream come true for a little girl. I shot about 35 frames, and found this 'middle of a splash' buried in the middle of the shots."
"Photographs reflect the qualities found in books. Text and photographic image both validate the proverbial thought that things are clearer when reduced to black and white. Abelardo Morell captures the beauty of books in images that give a visual voice to simplicity in the everyday - teasing the mind into thinking about how writing with light doesn't have to be complicated. The midpoint of every story becomes the place where we all are at a particular moment, further than yesterday ... but before tomorrow. The beauty of it all is we can write our own endings. I am definitely a bit bookish!"
"The title of Half-Baked is kinda tongue-in-cheek. The cookie is not dough and it's not done; it's somewhere in the middle of its baking process. I liked thinking about what would fit in the 'middle' category since the subject matter seemed less obvious. I was a little nervous sticking my camera in my oven but knew I wanted to get close. I used a high ISO setting along with the macro option to get the right 'inside the oven' lighting."
"This uncropped photograph was taken on an extremely foggy morning last winter. I had already taken a slew of photos of Vander Veer Park and along Duck Creek when I took this image at Oakdale Cemetery. I overlaid another photo I had taken of a sheet of metal with scratch lines that eerily matched the direction of the trees."
the day this photo was taken, my daughter was taking such joy in
devouring her cotton candy. It was a
moment I didn't want to forget, so I started taking a few photos. This was one of the last photos in the series, which caught her just before the last bite. I'm sure my daughter would agree that the end of this cotton candy was just as sweet as the beginning."
"The photo was taken while I was vacationing in Recife, Brazil. I have always been extremely interested in photographing people in their natural environment. While walking around looking for interesting subjects, I noticed this old man who was hanging around the local park, begging for a handout. Sometime afterwards, I came upon him again while he was sleeping on this very interesting bench. I am most inspired when I can catch a subject at the right moment in an interesting pose or situation."
"I was vacationing in Maryland a couple of years ago when I came upon this little 'end' scene in the corner of a parking lot. The first thought that came to mind was, 'Oh - cell phones.' Now that most of us have been seduced away by those needy little devices, I imagine there are a lot of pay-phone graveyards out there just like this one, with clunky old soldiers hastily stacked and forgotten."