The Moai, those weird statues only found on Easter Island, must have been photographed a zillion times. Standing in front of them is like standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, and asking yourself: how can I shed a new light on the subject?
One of the strategies I normally follow is to include people in my shots, since they often add to originality, liveliness and a sense of context. But with the Ahu Tongariki, the largest Easter Island monument, another approach was needed.
The Ahu Tongariki, with 15 statues, is the largest collection of Moai statues in the world. The statues all stand in a neat row facing inland, in a deserted part of the island. They have such a mysterious vibe that by adding people you would totally lose the magic.
At some point while exploring the site, something dawned on me: the Moai were all in a state of trance, looking at an imaginary spectacle in the far distance. To catch this zombie-like quality of the scene, I had to create distance between myself and the statues and use the longest lens I was carrying, which was 400mm.
I walked for half a mile until the entire group fitted in one frame. In my opinion it still is the best photo, closest to the nature of the Moai, that I have seen to this day.