Peter Hudson Charon

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Your most challenging shot of 2011?

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Daily Photo: Peter Hudson Charon

This was one of my most difficult photos of 2011.

This amazing sculpture from Burning Man is the brilliant work of Peter Hudson. You may remember this scene from your mythology, where Charon rows the dead across the river Styx.

The sculpture requires at least six spectators to pull a series of ropes in a certain manner. Once the wheel starts spinning fast enough, strobes start flashing, animating the skeletons. Each of them was animated by a Pixar artist and there was a magical effect. Capturing the motion and the strobe all at once was extremely difficult. I thought about it for four days before finally taking the shot. I’m sure my Burning-Man-Buds Tom Anderson and Cliff Baise tired of me speculating about the shot!

Charon crosses the river Styx, ferrying a lost soul into the beyond, forever.  This is where the souls go that have no hope, the endless void.  Travelers come and pull and twist and spin and see the strobes alight upon the skeleton bones.  The neck tilts and the head bows in a deathly pose, a skinless grimace pulls back a macabre grin of hate; the hate of a man who dies alone, between worlds of understanding.

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