If a picture…

Sometime ago my brother changed the banner picture on his Facebook page. I cannot remember what was there before, I just remember seeing the post that he had and posting a comment.

The picture itself was not overly remarkable – in that it was not taken from space, or the inside of a volcano. It was an evening view of the sea from a beach, interrupted by a solitary tree. The moon is breaking through some cloud in the sky. If nothing else, it was a great example of how the rule of thirds works in imagery – the tree was in the left hand side vertical  third of the picture and the moonlight in the top horizontal third. Sand, sea and sky dissected eachother obliquely. I posted a response commenting on the rule of thirds and how well it worked in the photo.

My brother, who specialises in cryptic responses replied to say that there was an interesting story behind the photo, ‘definitely a blog post in it.’

My imagination was immediately fired and I wondered what had prompted the shot – and his comment. The photo seemed to convey a sense of loss, of finality – perhaps of loneliness. I pictured a goodbye on a beach – perhaps an impossible love, a visa that had expired and a love torn across continents. I pictured a boat pulling into shore and someone stepping into it and sailing away without looking back – forcing themselves to be brave – and the shot having been taken as the speck that was the boat finally disappeared on the horizons.

I thought about writing a blog post on what I imagined had prompted the photo – and then worried in case my fiction was too close to reality and feelings would be hurt.

A few days ago, I asked my brother about the photo, and the story behind it.

‘Oh!’ He said. ‘Yes, there is a story.’

I settled back to learn about unrequited love and the drama of international boundaries.

‘Well it is about mushrooms’, he said.

‘Mushrooms?’

‘Yes,’ he continued, ‘I like taking photographs of mushrooms – they are amazing. I have a number of great photographs of mushrooms and I was going to make one of them the banner photo on my Facebook page.’

‘But everyone was telling me I should not do it,’ he continued, ‘they said if I posted a photo of mushrooms as my banner picture, people would think it was a reference to magic mushrooms. Employers search people’s Facebook pages and check them out, and as I was going to be looking for work next year it would be a bad idea.’

‘So I chose the most vanilla picture I had, and stuck it up, even though I prefer the mushrooms and even though I have a job now, in spite of that Facebook page picture.’

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed.

‘But I thought,’ I protested, ‘that there was going to be unrequited love and a tale of passion and loss! You said it (and I quote) that there was “a blog post in it.”

‘Well,’ he responded, ‘there is now, isn’t there?’

I guess he is right.

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