Visualizing Dreams can Inspire Others to Create Their Own Stories
The artistic vision of Felix Hernandez triggers my search for a story that speaks to me through his work.
Felix Hernandez’s image “The Dove” stopped me in my tracks when I first saw it in a Peta Pixel article alongside some “behind the scenes” shots showing how he creates his fascinating photographs. I was blown away by his technique and extraordinary attention to detail. He uses small, immaculately conceived models and plays marvellous mind tricks with scale. It’s incredible work and has garnered him widescale attention including from Audi who on seeing the images he shot using a model R8 asked him if they could feature them on their social media.
Although not created for advertising purposes, “The Dove” displays the highest quality production skills which has resulted in this magical photograph in illustrative style, evoking the essence of an old master painting. The image tells the story of a small boy in a rowing boat run aground on a rock surrounded by a tumultuous ocean and most importantly, the boy’s connection with a dove hovering in front of him. My take from this picture is a feeling of hope. This is no doubt because cultural influences from my childhood bring to mind the Biblical story of Noah’s ark, where a dove brought an olive branch onboard to signal that the flood was abating. The dove brought hope. For me personally this interpretation of hope outweighs other possible symbolic dove meanings, like peace, courage or the Spirit of Christ, because of the boat, a vessel on water which reflects the ark in my analysis. It doesn’t take too much imagination to see how these other symbolic interpretations could be used to describe the image too.
Let’s take a look more closely and see how Hernandez supports story using artistic devices in his work. Looking at the big picture, we see the elements of this image are unified. There is nothing in the image that doesn’t contribute, every pixel is a block building up to a cohesive, focused piece of visual storytelling. The connection between animal and human is the key, everything else points to that bond between bird and beast weighted at the center of the screen. The roiling waters suck us, the viewers, forward before lurching us via a frothy wave bubbling up the sides of the vessel, onto the boat to witness the pivotal moment. Reading the picture from left to right we see that the long tiller, the lever that directs the movement of the rudder, firmly points in the direction of the boy. And so our eyes move along the wooden device until we settle on the human face. The boy’s direction of interest leads us up to the dove, whose gaze then ping-pongs us back down to the lad and so on back and forth between them. We are encouraged to focus on the connection between these two creatures.
Colour, or mostly the lack of it, is harmonious throughout. The monochromatic background where sea and sky blend into one beautifully textured thick jumble of surf and sky that culminate in a bright white area of space behind the protagonists, creates a neutral and attention-grabbing central stage on which the action can take place. The limited natural colour palette of warm browns surrounding the central elements further convey a sense of unification and quietness, that helps emphasize the importance of this moment stopped in time, the importance of the connection, the transfer of hope.
See more of Felix Hernandez’s work here:
*Please note: interpretations are my own and do not necessarily represent the meaning intended by the artist.