Deer - Ryan Taylor

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Jawbone of White Tailed Deer

Creekside Reserve, Beavercreek, Ohio

Austere, grim, finding animal remains early on in my traveling really put me into the frame of mind that animals can and will die. I can only wonder what was the fate of this poor mammal.

Normally I do not show blood or guts in my photography or “graphic imagery.” The subject matter just isn't what I intend to show to my audience and there are other photographers who portray it much more delicately.

However, finding the remains of a white-tailed deer jawbone with teeth that washed up to the sand of the creek had me intrigued. I photographed it in an abstract sense, using a shallow depth of field to focus mainly on the dirty teeth left in place. Desaturating the image further provides grit and contrast to the mood and tone I wanted to convey. My goal was to tell a story that had an ending but left the viewer with questions. I deliberately chose to cut off the top and bottom of the jawbone to pull you in to this claustrophobic space. Still to this day, I wondered what had happened to that poor creature.

Getting very low to the ground enabled me to use my elbows as a support while handholding the camera. Gaining enough light was tricky so I cranked up the ISO to 1250, using a wide aperture of f/7.1 to emphasize the teeth and adding some allure to the shot, and finally a shutter speed of 1/100 a second.

All the most beautiful things in life must die, then to be re-birthed again someday. This is simply the cycle of predator and prey.

© 2016 Ryan L. Taylor Photography. All Rights Reserved.

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