There are times when you need to reset the way you are doing things, both in art and in life. Case in point - this image. It started with an idea for an environment - a chess board, something I've used a few times before, but this time I wanted a desolate, forgotten landscape, so the game board is now decaying, and merging with the limitless water or lake beyond. An old game, perhaps, like life. After this was created, I wanted to add a human element to it, to give it a context or a story element.

And so I found a shot I liked, and added it in. And then…

Well, recently I have been stepping up the complexity in my imagery, particularly in working with textures to the human form, using the skin as a canvas. It's something I find metaphorically interesting, and a technical challenge as well. So, naturally, I wanted to go bigger and better with this one too. But after a few attempts at adding things on the game board, as well as skin overlays like maps, metallics, anything I could think of, I pulled them all back one by one, and nothing seemed to want to stay. And in the end, I decided this was what needed to be - a simpler image, with nothing distracting from the intended emotions trying to be conveyed.

It's a little bit of art imitating life, I suppose, in that I am losing my job in a few days. It is a job I do for money, and it's not one I like, or have any interest in, so I am not too devastated at losing it, but that is nothing new - most of us do things for work in order to make money, to live. it is an old game, a game of life I suppose, and i have reached an impasse with it, and rather than continue on, into the dark waters with no end in sight, I am laying down and not playing for a little while. I want a break from the game, the other players, all of it. It's not something I can do indefinitely, and there is a fear in being left behind, but it is what needs to be for now.

I think this image, fairly simplistic compared to my recent work, speaks to this feeling, and captures the mood I am in pretty well without the flash, without the multi-layered trickery I employ in some of my elaborate pieces. For now, I am not playing the game, even though it goes on an on, and I am taking time out to contemplate my stratagem, my next move, and though exposed, naked in a way, I don't really care what the other pawns are doing, what they are planning, and who gets the queen. I am out of the game, I am tired, and conventional wisdom and logic be damned.

My title is derived from chess terminology, the Pawn Structure or Pawn Skeleton, which refers to the configuration of pawns on the chessboard. Pawns are the most static or weaker pieces of the game.

model: Mike Ryan

Discover more inspiring photos like this one.

Download the FREE 500px app Open in app