Camila Massu’s Plunge
London-based designer and photographer Camila Massu evokes a sense of pure adventurism with this candid shot of her sister in a storm. It comes as no surprise that this photo gained her the “Merit Winner” award in the 2012 National Geographic photo contest. The appeal of this image comes from the subject’s radiance in contrast to her surroundings. With the gray mist and the turbulence of the raindrops hitting the steely waters, it would be easy to call this scene bleak and dreary, but the staunchly sanguine attitude of Massu’s sister is a pleasant surprise. For the traveler, explorer, and thrill-seeker, this is an affirmation of the joy of life even in the midst of obstacles. For timid viewers, this piece provides a way to experience a vicarious sort of courage. We are reminded to grab life by the horns and seek meaning and joy for ourselves, rather than wait passively for them to find us. For a generation often criticized for being tech-crazed, antisocial, and unhappy, this image is incredibly refreshing.
The photograph was taken near Massu’s lake house in her country of birth: Chile. I love the color contrast between the dark blue water and the girl’s radiant skin. Her closed eyes seem indicative of the meditative zen of simple, unadulterated happiness. Underneath the rippling surface of the lake, her body becomes a hazy blur – as if she’s dissolving into its depths and becoming one with its waters. By embracing the outdoors, she becomes a part of it. Although an ominous black object floats in the distance – perhaps a buoy or even a shark – the girl does not look back, instead tilting her head upwards to receive the rain. The photograph transmits an incredible optimism, suggesting that happiness and fulfillment are out there for the taking if you are willing to take the plunge and dive outside of your comfort zone.
What does this image make you feel?