As humans, there are always forces that move us in our lives, whether they are tangible or intangible. These forces inspire and help us to decide directions that we take in our lives. Everyone in this life has his own direction, and one of the hidden and intangible forces that make our moves and let us feel that we are alive is “mystery”.
In my opinion, human life is equal to desires. There is no life without desires. If I have no desires that means that I am dead. As we know, desires can range from the basic needs like food and shelter or home all the way to the higher demands like self-worth, love and adding value to humanity. What I am trying to say is that behind every desire – higher desires I mean – there is mystery! Once you know your desire, a mystery journey begins, as you start asking, “How can I reach or have this in my life?” Or, on the other hand, when you see or experience a mysterious thing or event, a desire inside you will be born and the questions/actions will then take place. Life is full of mysteries, and humans are trying and working throughout their existence to solve some of its puzzles or expose some of its secrets.
Before digging deeper and seeing how mystery can force us to creativity and benefit our work and lives, we need first to stop for a moment to define mystery. I believe each one can have his or her own perspective on mystery, especially in that it is something hidden that can be felt within as an emotion, and therefore cannot always be well explained. However, we can make it as simple as “anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown,” in other words, it is “some person, thing or affair that makes curiosity and speculations rise up.”
But how mystery does move our lives? And to where it can take us? To answer this question, the great philosopher and thinker, Einstein, who is considered the symbol of genius in last century gives us a hand. He once had said that: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” As we can see, a creative person like him is expressing that mystery is the most important emotion humans can experience.
Of course, people can argue about the extent to which his quote right but from my viewpoint, I totally agree with him. I can see a common area between mystery and arts, which is creativity. If art is the way humans can express and transform their inside lives of emotions and feelings into something that can be seen, heard, or touched to inspire fellow human to be better beings and more sophisticated, then that cannot be done without curiosity and persistently asking the right questions – which is what mystery is all about.
As photography is a kind of art, mystery is playing a vital part in photographers’ works too. That could be by the emotion that ignites the spark to search, think, look for new subjects, locations or provide something new or even by being curious about how to be best version of photographer one can be. Or, on the other hand, it could be by providing works that include mysterious subjects and messages, which I like very much.
As a street photographer, one of the most interesting subjects that I like to focus on, is mysterious things or people. As in streets, we can experience hundreds of stories, human actions and expressions. It is exciting and full of enthusiasm filled moments, when you go to a new place, and start walking to experience different angles, designs, lights, faces, corners, walls, graffiti drawing arts, staircases and even smells and energies. All of these new and different sights can keep the door open to unique feelings and therefore totally new stories and shots. And that, in my opinion, makes Street the most interesting genre in Photography. Comparing to other genres, you can experience a totally different unplanned story or subject maybe at every moment, since in streets there are continuous movements and actions from people, animals, cars, winds, lights and so on. As a result, a slight feeling of mystery will move inside and urge you to be very alert to the unique moments and stories. So, in my case, this leads me to live in the moment and try to reflect this taste of mystery in my photos and/or stories if you wish.
In this article, I am sharing some photos that I can put under the genre of “Mystery” as I felt that they carry mysterious stories and hidden questions. Without a doubt, there are special places that can be considered as great sources for mysterious subjects. The old villages, vintage houses, historic areas or even some sections in national museums, can all be source for mysterious subjects to be captured in. I find these locations full of life and they always give you a sense of travelling in time.
In my photos I try to offer some subjects and ideas that keep the door open for thinking and trying to figure out what is the story behind it, or behind the man/woman in this photo. In fact, the role of arts, as a global language in general, is to inspire people and let them have a deep feeling of peace and connectedness through direct – or indirect – messages. The beauty of mysterious artistic works is that they provide indirect messages and can even have more than one meaning. In other words, it can be seen from different perspectives and still have the feeling that it’s the right message.
Finally, our mysterious journey on earth never ends. As we grow up, we keep experiencing new lives and stories so that our creativity continues.