Some photos have no contextual content. They represent an emotion or a state of mind just by their visual characteristics, independently of the reality they actually capture. When I took this I didn’t think much about it. The first time I really looked at it I recalled Roger Fenton’s Valley of the Shadow of Death, more by visual association than anything else. Now I just see a barren path.

Fenton’s picture has a lot of contextual content, it is a most poignant photographic commentary of war. The emotions it generates in us are mediated by a second step beyond the visual recognition of what it represents. My shot has none of that. It is unapologetic in being a straight photograph of not much at all. And that is ok.

Most images people make are captures of meaningful occurrences. We photograph a child’s birthday because we want to remember it later, as an event. Photographs like Fenton’s are editorials, with a topic and often a message. But this image has no purpose. If it represents something to you it is a photograph, if not it is irrelevant. And that is ok.

See this photo (and more) in my flickr stream