Silhouette Sampler


A silhouette is the blurred edge’s opposite: it is defined by its solidity, its opacity–by the razor’s edge of its contrast with whatever lies beyond.

Silhouettes define and anchor spaces and places.

My favorite silhouette doesn’t exist in a photograph, but I will be able to see it forever: the last time he was able to walk out of our house, my husband Jim stood and leaned on our children and friends, outlined fully within an enormous orange perigee moon that enveloped our portion of the world.

I can–and often do–aim my camera at enormous swaths of sky, but I end up with glorified color swatches: squares of swirled and striated colors without clues to attach them to the experience of being in a given place.

If, however, there’s a silhouette out front, I know exactly where I was when I took that picture.  I can call back to my senses the feeling of sub-zero fingers on my conductive camera, the frustration of buzzing mosquitos as I aimed at sunset along the shore, the smell and crackle of late autumn leaves as I traversed a path facing West.

However, although solidity is their hallmark, silhouettes often reveal something that isn’t there at all.

A puppy’s silhouette, cast by winter sunlight onto snow, can distorted and enlarge him into a King Among Beagles.  Silhouettes against spring petals can add texture and heft to open flowers.

Sometimes silhouettes transmit a mood: the peace of pastel skies beyond leaves not yet crisped, curled, and unmoored by winter; the energy of swiftly moving crowds of clouds beyond a bridge’s cables; the slightly sinister feeling engendered (at least among Hitchcock fans) by birds congregating above en masse against endless gray.

Night’s lights can imprint onto walls silhouettes of what is no longer there, like the reverse image of a film negative, or the momentarily searing after-images lit by photographic flashbulbs of yore.

Gone like the silhouette there by the bed where she undressed
Gone like the candlelight where we made love so sweet and bright
Gone like the one last turn she took before Atlanta burned
Gone like everything I’ll earn, gone, gone away

About Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She also is an adjunct professor at a law school on the banks of the Charles and loves that dirty water, as she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2020 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with Wordpress protocol and the numerous other wee buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.
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15 Responses to Silhouette Sampler

  1. My 7-yr old loves sunsets (she says that’s an actual color!) and we both think your first image is soooo pretty! Lovely collection!

  2. Amy says:

    Magnificent silhouette gallery!

  3. Denise Glennon says:

    You had me at hello on that first photo. Looks like one of your quilts. Magnificent.

    • Stephanie says:

      That’s taken at the cemetery where I found “The Best Seats in the House” (which got its own post) many sunsets ago. It puts on an amazing show most nights, and I’ve always been the only one there taking pictures, oddly enough.

      • Denise Glennon says:

        Thanks to you, I find myself staring at the sky more often than not. Looking upward rather than down is a more expansive perspective… I think of Jim and miss him too.

  4. quarksire says:

    yep that furst photo is very very kewl 🙂 … 🙂

  5. Marie says:

    Simply amazing!

  6. Stephanie says:

    Hi, Marie! You need to come for some Portsmouth sunsets—they’re a little different than the Post Road ones, which can be spectacular on their own.

  7. andy1076 says:

    Absolutely beautiful…Love how the branches stand out between the layers of the sunset clouds 🙂

  8. Veronica Roth says:

    Aren’t sunset colours amazing? Sometimes if I didn’t actually take the shot I wouldn’t even believe them. Lovely photos, and I especially love the birds on the weather vane. 😀

  9. Touch2Touch says:

    Beautiful! And I don’t even like silhouettes!
    You make me stop and think again.

  10. becca givens says:

    A wonderful set of silhouettes, but the first large one of the tree and variegated colors of sunset is my most FAV!! 😀

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