This Gulf Coast setting was beautiful before I photographed it. The small tree at the horizon drew me to this point of view - not standing at the beach but back far enough to include more.
The original photograph is not the actual sunset, of course. The camera is a filter that offers a representation of what I saw.
Adding fire, hawk, stained glass & misplaced waves creates a different experience. Every element & the image as a whole has the meaning we choose for it.
Stained glass symbolizes sacredness. We can worship here as deeply as in a formal church.
Symbology impacts caregiving. Pictures of loving caregivers lining a hospital's halls support both compassionate cultures & the confidence of patients. A cross, Star of David or the non-denominational symbols of Radical Loving Care reinforce loving missions.
Joseph Campbell defined a symbol as "an energy evoking and directing agent." Hospitals & hospices signal anxiety. The right symbols help Compassion defeat Fear opening the door to healing.
Composite photograph, "Surreal sunset" - copyright erie chapman 2017
[This column originally appeared here in April, 2017]