A World of Pure Imagination

Come with me and you’ll be in a world of Pure Imagination.  What you’ll see will defy explanation.  If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it.  Anything you want to, do it.  Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it….Willy Wonka

I woke up this morning to the sad news that the comic genius Gene Wilder had passed away.  He had a huge back catalogue of brilliant acting and comedic roles, yet to a vast majority of the world, he was simply Willy Wonka, the man who piqued the imagination of childhood.

I was 10 when the movie was made, but I didn’t see it until I was an adult.  I didn’t really ever go to the cinema as a child, so it just never crossed my path.  When I had children of my own and wanted them to be inspired by books, the way I was, I discovered the bizarre world of Roald Dahl which led to finally watching the classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with them.

From the moment I walked with the other kids into that room,  filled with chocolate rivers, edible flowers and lickable wallpaper, I fell in love.  Not only with Willy Wonka himself and his lonely soul but with the world of Pure Imagination he introduced us to.  He was good and evil all rolled into one character.  He wasn’t the sweet charming heroes we had been fed all our lives.  He was a delightful blend of light and shadow, of nice and nasty, of sweetness and scariness.

While I watched it, my imagination came back to life.  It had lay dormant for many years at that time, but suddenly, it woke up and demanded attention again.  I don’t know about you, but when he took the winners and their families on that boat ride, I was terrified.  He became completely insane at that moment and I was as scared as the kids. When he yelled at Charlie and told him he wasn’t getting the factory because he’d disobeyed the rules, I was angry at him.  But when he shared his vision of the factory with the visitors, I shared his joy and his passion.

The movie brought imagination to life in such a powerful way that today the world is mourning, not just Gene Wilder but Willy Wonka  himself.  (sorry, Johnny Depp just didn’t cut it).  Listening to the words of Pure Imagination, it’s so appropriate for today.  The world is paradise if we just look for it.  And we can change the world if we want to.  Gene Wilder did just that.  Rest in Peace with your beloved Gilda, Gene..  Vale Willy Wonka.  You will be alive in the hearts and imaginations of not just those already enamoured with your portrayal of Willy Wonka, but many generations yet to be enthralled.

 

 

I can see clearly now

Sometimes you need to step away from your work to be able to see it clearly upon return…. Livonne

Have you ever looked back on something you’ve done and thought, wow, I wish I’d done that differently?  I’m going through that now.  Revisiting my portfolio for an application I’ve just submitted, I finally recognised a genuine personality to my work.  Reasonably new to conceptual and composite photography, I’ve played with lots of different ideas to find what my style actually is.  I put together a slideshow portfolio for this application and suddenly it all seemed to fall into place. The recognition that is, the style has been there for a while.  I was just looking too closely at it to be able to see it…

Trying all different styles is part of growing as an artist.  Having inspiration to create comes easily.  My mind never really stops imagining so I’m always having ideas and concepts popping up.  However, once I’ve done them, I’m not the sort of person who really wants to go back and recreate them.  I know a lot of people do this, but it’s not the way I think.  I imagine it, I shoot it, I edit it, I walk away from it.

After I had that light bulb moment of recognising my unique style, I started to look back over some of the work I’ve already completed.  I’m not interested in recreating the whole thing as to be honest, I was reasonably happy with most of what I’d done.  I guess some people would find it easier just to scrap it and start again, but being a bit of a recycler, I’ve taken on the challenge of reworking the few images I was never quite happy with.  It wasn’t the model or the pose or even the photos themselves.   It really was all in the editing. So, I’m just revisiting the editing process.

Having stepped away from these photos for a while, I’ve seen them again through fresh eyes and was able to see where changes should be made.  Some are major changes, some are quite minor.  It might just be too much texture or not enough.  It could be that the colours looked a little bit muddy and needed a bit of a tweak.  Whatever it was, I’m now feeling happier with my back catalogue.

This is one of the images I’ve reworked.  It’s called Upon a Faerie Tide. Stepping away from your work really does make a huge difference to seeing things clearly.

On a faerie tide

 

 

 

Cry of the Banshee

She desperately covers her eyes, not wanting to see what surrounds her, but she cannot avoid it. Her eyes burn throughher hands. She has no choice.  From deep within, she wails the unearthly cry of grief warning those around that another soul prepares to take flight……Livonne

You must all be thinking that I’m going through a really dark patch right about now.  My photos lately have been a lot different than usual.  While I always try to portray hope in my photos, I am doing a series of photos of some of the folk tales I grew up hearing about.

Having had an Irish grandmother, I listened to her stories through the day and at night would hide my head under the covers, not wanting to hear the cry of the banshee which might signal her passing.  I listened when she told me about the Selkies, Leprechaun and a myriad of other creatures from the motherland. Of course, there were also fairies, angels and lots of sweet creatures to lighten my heart as well and they will all be featuring in this series.

I always felt that the banshee got a bit of a bad rap.  No one wanted to hear her as her cry brought the knowledge that death was nearby.  But she wasn’t the angel of death, merely a wailing woman who could see him as he came to take another soul home and her earth shattering wail was full of angst and grief as she warned of his coming.

I think I might balance her out with some fairies next.  A little fairy dust always helps to lighten the mood.

Cry of the Banshee

Time Out

Even warriors become weary.  Taking time out to recuperate is a great strength, never a weakness. When you feel strong again, brush off those wings and fly higher than ever before….Livonne 

time-out

The Embrace

The strength of a man isn’t seen in the power of his arms.  It’s seen in the love with which he embraces you… Steve Maraboli

One of the best assets a  photographer can have is friends who are happy to pose for the camera.  This is even more important for a fine art photographer who is looking for the unusual.  I’m so blessed to have friends who put their hands up to be my characters in my photos.  No matter how weird the scenario, they trust me and happily comply with my requests.  Sometimes, they come up with brilliant ideas that help the shoot even more.

I had planned this angel shoot with Dean as my angel a while ago.  My fellow photographer Kirsty helped me build the nest in the backyard and yesterday, it all came into being. Dean is an amazingly talented air brush artist, so understood the concept I had in mind and was happy to help out. (Have a look at his work HERE.  It’s brilliant) His lovely other half, Jenny, brought clothes as she thought it would be great to get a fun photo taken of the two of them while I was in the mode.  It turned out that her outfit was perfect for a pose I had in mind and this particular photo was the result.

I’m also very blessed to live in a very arty community.  They understand the weird requests from an artist.  I put a request on Facebook in a community group to see if anyone had some black wings I could borrow for the shoot.  I got offered two lots by complete strangers.  Props like this aren’t cheap so for people to be so kind and trusting is not just an absolute Godsend but also shows me how much kindness there is in this world.

Whether they appear as friends who support us or as strangers who show us a kindness, angels really do walk amongst us.

The Embrace2