Imaginary Creatures

Through the lens of a camera, a photographer can choose to capture a likeness of what he or she sees, or something else entirely. A composition that speaks only to them, or a hint of something they would like to share with others. A shadow or an angle of light can change the shape of things and certain objects, out of context, simply appear as something else. With a little imagination, visions of the real world can easily become glimpses of an imaginary one.

I’ve posted photographs that tweak my imagination before. This collection is a little different. In each of the pictures below, I saw a creature—one not of this world. In one instance, the photographer did too.

We’ll start with that one. It’s called Ice Beast~2 and even before I discovered the name of the photograph, I saw great, shaggy legs. According to the gallery notes of the photographer, Charles Anderson, he spent hours in the cold waiting to capture this image. That’s dedication.

Ice Beast~2 by Charles Anderson

(clicking any of these photographs will take you to the photographer’s gallery/website)

Next up, dragon eggs. Given my predisposition toward all things alien, I first imagined the glowing stones in the foreground were alien seeds. Then I looked up and saw the castle and immediately decided they were dragon eggs. Scott Wilson is a Scottish photographer and many of his pieces have fantastically moody lighting.

DUNSTANBURGH – Moon Rising by Scott Wilson

In the next photo, Street of Jerez, I saw more legs. Long, spindly ones that dangled from green bushy bodies. The framework overhead could almost be arms—if you let your eye shift a bit and look for the extraordinary. Street of Jerez, by Elaine Schwartz, was a Smithsonian.com Editor’s Pick.

Street of Jerez, Spain (Jerez, Spain) by Photograph by Elaine Schwartz

Monkey Orchids! Who doesn’t see the little guys in this picture? This one is not so much about the composition as the flowers, themselves. I do love the up close and personal angle of the photograph, too.

Monkey Orchids by Chaz Jackson

Last up, more trees. The Dark Hedges are one of Northern Ireland’s most recognisable landmarks. I see pictures of them all the time. When I look at this photo by John Barclay, I see woody and sinuous creatures reaching for each other and I think they’re trying to bridge the gap between them. Stay connected despite the road. It’s an oddly sympathetic view of inanimate objects, but that’s often the purpose of photography, or any art, isn’t it? To share a feeling as much as a picture.

The Dark Hedges by John Barclay

I have more of these sorts of pictures saved in a folder. Other wonderful and fantastic photography, too. For the time being, I encourage you to click each of these images to browse the photographers’ other work. Maybe they’ll inspire your imagination as well!

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