Uncluttered backgrounds and uncomplicated narratives allow us to slide easily into a picture and experience carefree moments, like this simple yet powerful picture of my youngest son curled on a warm boulder after swimming in a cold creek.
The strength of this composition with few elements are the contrasts of light and dark, size and shape, and even age—the child’s new, fragile, angular flesh juxtaposed against the rounded, hard body of the ancient boulder.
The photograph stirs memories from my youth. Sixty years earlier, I was a boy growing up on a frog farm not many miles from the spot where this picture was shot. I grew up swimming with frogs, tadpoles and mosquito fish in the long cement ponds of our frog farm. Often on summer days, I climbed up and stretched my wet body on the rounded, sun-warmed cement walls and drifted into dream-filled sleep—much as Henry is doing here.
Sometimes we work so feverishly with intricate and complicated compositions we miss the beauty and power of simple compositions that are able to communicate so much.
Some newspapers and magazines publish columns with titles such as Looking Back, From the Past or Remember When, sharing photos of times and traditions from the past.
What scenes carry you back to your childhood? Is it an old homestead, a leaning barn or a favorite tree that once held a tire swing? When you watch a mother or father walking slowly, holding a toddler’s hand, does the moment carry you back to a wonderful, fleeting time with your children or grandchildren?
Make a photograph that represents or captures a happy or meaningful time in your youth, then write a few words to accompany the photo.
Email your best image (just one, please) with caption information, including an explanation of how it affects you, to GPH@pur.coop. We may share submissions on our website and social media channels.