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Last year I created an image called "Riddles in the Dark" in which a man who appears to be in distress, head in hands, is naked in a murky swamp like setting, with keys on strings dangling all about him. It was about deliberately ignoring the answers to your problems all around you.

Being a fan of metaphors and symbolism in my images, I loved the keys, and have used them twice so far - they appear again in "a Willful Loss of Memory." For some reason I got it in my head to re-visit 'Riddles in the Dark" with this shot, and see what would happen. I used the same textures, the same setting and techniques in this one as I did in the other, modifying this one to be a bit warmer and brighter. There are half the keys in this shot as there were in "Riddles." Both show a naked man, but this one is younger and seemingly more at ease, though still oblivious or ignorant to the keys suspended around him.

I think the bridge between the two for me is the fact that these are both about a personality type - one who requires strife and chaos in their life to function. These traits are there from early on, and either are dealt with or they are not. So did their need to be a prequel to "Riddles?" No, but I wanted to do it as a bookend to the other one, to imply a history between the two, as if one is the younger version of the other, but still showing the same inability to take the keys. It was also a bit of fun...the title of "Riddles in the Dark" comes from a chapter of "the Hobbit" as does the title of this one. I am a sucker for symmetry and recurring themes!

model: Mike Ryan

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