Lexi – Dove in the Rafters


This image came from a shoot conceptualized largely by Lexi, a young lady I’ve been photographing and mentoring for three years now. The idea was hers and the image above is, I feel, the best expression of my interpretation of her idea. Since this image isn’t the usual fare, i.e. not just family photos or portraits, I thought it would be interesting to share Lexi’s and my discussion after the fact.

My questions are in bold.
You can see some of the other photos here: Public Galleries

When you were telling me about the idea for this shoot you used a phrase like “Dove in the rafters.” What inspired this phrase or what was the idea behind the shoot?

The phrase came from the thought that it is kind of rare to see a pure white dove in the rusty rafters and I thought it was a good way to describe kind of how we are all our own dove in our own rafters, each of us with a different story and each one is beautiful in their own way.

Did you get the idea when you saw the location, or did you look for a location based on the idea?

Actually they came at the same time. I had been wanting to do a shoot similar to what I described but I didn’t have any idea as to where to do it so I texted my friend and he told me about the spot. So the idea came first, but the location came shortly after.

Do you normally find yourself drawn to locations that are run down or abandoned?

Yes. I love the vintage feel and the chance to feel the history that is embedded inside the walls of run down places. I love wondering what kind of stories took place in those types of places.

I ask because a lot of photographers seem to have a strong attraction to such locations.
Do you feel the images were able to capture your initial idea?

Yes! It was exactly what I wanted them to be.

As I was editing I was trying to create a real sense of isolation, to create the impression that the only source of light seemed to be the figure and the surroundings were lifeless. I got the sense that the figure was the only being around. Beyond the structure we don’t see much else, evoking the idea that whatever else is out there is unknown, and the figure looks ready to leap into it despite not knowing what’s out there. Part of the message to me is that even if the familiar is run down and lifeless it’s still known, and it takes bravery to leap into the unseen.

I like that.

Did you choose the dove because it’s white, or was there another significance as well?

I also chose the dove because doves have a tendency to signify good things. Doves are sometimes released at a big event or a wedding to signify a new beginning. The dove for me signifies the chance to try again and do life better than I ever have before.

There’s also the symbolism of the dove for the Holy Spirit. Did that factor in at all?

A little bit yes, just the chance for redemption and hope for a new beginning.

When you say redemption are you talking generally spiritually the idea that we all need that, or was it for something specific?

No, it was more for the fact that there is always a chance for redemption, whether it be spiritual or literal. There is always hope.

Do you remember what thoughts were going through your mind or what you were trying to convey when you were posing?

I was thinking about how I wanted to look calm even though I was kinda terrified because the tower kept creaking. I was also thinking about my siblings and making sure that they were playing nice. But as far as what I was thinking in the calmer moments, I was just placing myself in a dove’s position. The strive for freedom when they fly, the way they carry themselves. I was trying to convince myself, even if for a moment, that I could fly.