Karl Leck  

Frightland Mud Run by Karl Leck

September 2020 - Frightland Mud Run

About the Image(s)

This month I dug into an older folder for a composite image that gets mixed reactions. There is a charity Mud Run in Delaware where participants run a long, wet, muddy obstacle course including a very slick slide downhill into ice cube laden water. That is my favorite spot on the course to photograph with the risk of being splashed with cold mud. The event is held at Frightland, a farm converted to a permanent Halloween venue. This composite assembles a manikin torso, a skeleton, and two mud run participants at the icy slide. The woman's expression is from the chill she's experiencing but it seemed emotional enough to me to go with the other elements. I'm curious to hear your reaction to this counterpoint to beauty and nicety.

6 comments posted

Sandra Irwin   Sandra Irwin
What a great shot - very unusual, amusing, and interesting. The skeleton is a nice touch, and the manikin nicely bloody. The mud looks really yucky, and I wouldn't have known the girl's expression was from the icy (rather than the yuck) if you hadn't told me. Wonderful work!   Posted: 09/18/2020 17:13:02

Marie Miller   Marie Miller
Karl, you went all out for this composite! Love the skeleton partially buried in the mud, it looked like it was on the run course already. It's great that this was an action shot with mud splashing all around and the look of joy in the lady's face. Looks like they were both having fun and I felt like I was in the scene with them. Speaking of that, where was your vantage point? I imagine you were using a long lens. I like how the mannequin's blood was seeping in the water. I'm thinking the mannequin would have been even more realistic if you use the mud as a overlay over it and modify and vary the opacity on it. I'm thinking that the mannequin should have been dirtier.
  Posted: 09/18/2020 19:52:00

Valerie Pohio   Valerie Pohio
Hi Karl.....this is a hard one to comment on. I'm not seeing the connection between the mannequin and the expression on the girl's face. To me, it's two different stories that haven't quite come together. Perhaps I'm just not "getting it". The colours too are completely different and to me (perhaps that's what Marie is getting at?), make the disconnect even stronger. I get the feeling that the girl has not even noticed the torso, she's too busy with the slide activity (which in reality would not be the case) and that makes it look as if it's just been popped into the composite for a bit of shock value for the viewer. Perhaps I'm too literal :-)   Posted: 09/19/2020 01:10:25
Karl Leck   Karl Leck
Thank you for pointing out the color tone differences between the mannequin and the people. As often happens, we see this image differently. As the maker of the composite, I see a connection between the girl and mannequin. A new viewer like yourself doesn't see it. That's why we have this dialogue find out if the communication between artist and viewer is clear. Karl   Posted: 09/19/2020 08:13:53

Judith Lesnaw   Judith Lesnaw
Oh my. I have been struggling with what to say and how for days now. My first reaction to this image was "why". Why must I view that bloody mannequin when every day I hear, see and read of violence throughout the country. The image reflects much technical mastery. So I studied it. And I realized that that mannequin just didn't belong in the image. The skeleton is subtle whereas the mannequin is vivid shock value and the colors and tones don't blend. So I imagine the image without the headless thing and I see the woman and man racing like lemmings into the muddy abyss as the skeleton dances--a metaphor for our society. So you see I do think that your image did a great job eliciting reactions and thoughts.   Posted: 09/20/2020 16:22:22
Karl Leck   Karl Leck
Thank you, Judy. I was looking for reactions. Your comments are very timely. The image was made on a lark before the current administration and polarization. I'm pleased to hear everyone's comments. Photography isn't just to make pretty, pleasing, escapist images all the time, but to show the world, real and imaginary, that exists. Karl   Posted: 09/21/2020 08:02:21


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