The Significance Of Sunsets
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I See Sunsets In Your Eyes

The most photographed subjects are more similar than meets the eye.

Dmitry Bayer
Dmitry Bayer

If you've ever had the opportunity to experience a sunset you know that there is a shared feeling of peace. This ball of immense heat and light, the quintessential giver of life, which beholds symbolism relating to spirituality and enlightenment, is the most ubiquitously photographed subject according to the photographer Penelope Umbrico. Since 2006 she has collected and archived thousands of publicly shared images of sunsets as an ode to the human fascination with this singular object and quotidian phenomenon.

What makes taking a photograph of the sunset so fulfilling is that while you are doing it, it's absolutely likely that an innumerable amount of people are also sharing in the same collective practice of commemorating that moment in time. This human desire goes beyond artistic drive, as there are millions of images reminiscent of the same one we took before, and millions that will be taken after.

It is the ephemerality of taking this moment and solidifying it through photography that we are transformed to a time that was in the in between, this dusk if you will, that drives people from all ages to snap a quick picture.

Penelope Umbrico

After seeing this above photograph at the Denver Art Museum, I felt a fortunate stroke of serendipity, in knowing that I too felt this way. However, my subject of choice is the human eye.

As a result of working in an ophthalmologist's office, I am allowed the opportunity to take fundus photographs of patient's eyes. Fundus photographs are ocular documentation that record the appearance of a patient's retina, macula and optic nerve, thus allowing physicians to better diagnose diseases.

Moreover, whenever I take these pictures I think back to when I was 14 and I accompanied my mother for her annual eye examination. At one particular visit, he allowed me to sit in his chair and look under a slit lamp. This device allows the doctor to shine a light while positioning magnifying lenses in order to see the different anatomical parts of the eye, such as the retina, macula and optic nerve, just like the fundus photograph.

It is this memory from my adolescence that I equate to experiencing a sunset and the innate joy which consumes us as we see the warm colors melting together in the sky as if we had never seen such an illusion before.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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