About Livonne

If a picture paints a thousand words, it stands to reason that a thousand words should be able to paint a picture. I can't decide whether I prefer the picture or the words... so I'll do both

Every Leaf

Autumn is a second Spring, when every leaf is a flower……Albert Camus

Autumn in the Blue Mountains of Australia is one of the most beautiful times of the year.  The trees are ablaze with the most magnificent colours and the streets are carpeted with the falling leaves.  It looks, smells and sounds wonderful.  As you walk through the leaves you can hear them crunching underfoot.  It truly is a feast for the senses.

I love Autumn.  So of course, this time of year brings out the need to do lots of photoshoots.  In a previous post,  I had my beautiful model in a bath full of Autumn Leaves.  Loving those colours so much, I ventured a little further afield to Mount Wilson.

Mount Wilson is a delightful surprise.  The drive out there is a bit scrubbier than most of our local landscape and suddenly it starts to turn into a bit of a rainforest type of environment.  Just when you think that’s what you should be expecting, a quaint little English style village emerges out of nowhere, a little like Brigadoon.  It is always beautiful but in Autumn, it looks like a painting you would find on the lid of a chocolate box.  Don’t expect to be able to buy a lot out there.  There’s a little cafe but I think that’s about it.  Who cares?  You go there to soak in the beauty.

I had an idea which needed lots of autumn leaves, so I ordered some silk ones in from China.  Very cheap but very effective. I thought 400 would be heaps but when I started pinning them to the dress I chose there were nowhere near as many as I thought there’d be but I didn’t want to cover the dress, so it was enough.  I packed my lovely model Kirsty in the car and off we went.

Unfortunately I didn’t check the calendar to see what would be happening out there and it was open garden day on a public holiday, so it was packed and trying to get a clear spot to do a photo was almost impossible.  We didn’t let it stop us, we found a few spots that were almost clear and we did our stuff.

I was working on another image last night and had extended the canvas from 9 photos, recoloured, made adjustments and was just ready to add textures when Photoshop crashed.  Silly me hadn’t saved it as a PSD before I started, so I lost the lot..  Ahh well.  Lesson learned. Back to the drawing board.

These are a few of the (saved) images  we created.

The First Leaves of Autumn

We shared the brief but magic sun.  By the first leaves of autumn you were gone… Not until the rain has touched my face. Not until the first leaves fell from space.  Not until that moment did I see.  I never realised what you meant to me…..The Fureys

I’ve had a plan for a while now that I wanted to do the four seasons in a series of images.  I’d already done a spring setting which showed the lovely Kirsty sitting in a bath full of spring flowers with a corrugated iron backdrop called Wash Away the Day.  Where I live in the Blue Mountains, the trees are starting to produce the most magnificent colours with the beginning of Autumn so I was inspired to do the next image in the series which is Autumn.

So on Tuesday, I went out to the beautiful Collit’s Inn with my gorgeous model Rachael and my assistant extraordinaire, Kirsty.  The back of my little car was filled with camera equipment, candles, candle holders, ivy vines which had been painted gold and a myriad of other Autumn foliage.  We stopped at Blackheath on the way and gathered a few garbage bags full of fallen autumn leaves along the side of the road.  As I mentioned, the Blue Mountains is turning the most amazing colours at the moment.  The trees are a kaleidoscope of colour and the paths are carpeted in fallen leaves, so it was easy to pick up huge amounts of leaves without even being able to see where they were taken from.

Arriving at Collit’s Inn, we set about using the beautiful rustic bathtub that sits in their garden as a bench.  With Rachael sitting in the bath, we proceeded to cover her in the leaves and other foliage.  My mystical creative muse must also have been happy with the process as in the midst of a miserable day, the sun came out just as we started to set up which meant my lovely model wasn’t a mass of goosebumps from the cold.

After taking the necessary photos, everyone was still happy to keep going so I handed Rachael a red lace dress that I had put in the car, just in case.  I mean, why just do one theme when you have a model there and ready to go?  The red dress fitted beautifully so we went out in search of the local cemetery.

There was someone there when we arrived, so instead of disturbing someone visiting their loved ones, we moved on to another nearby cemetery.  I have the utmost respect for cemeteries and understand what special places they are, not just to the family and friends of those who had passed but also as a source of history.

We ended up at  Hartley Cemetery which is a lovely peaceful resting place and has many very old graves.  I’ve often called in there and taken a walk around the graves, reading about the people buried there.   We did a few photos there, one of which I posted yesterday, called Earthbound.   Just as we were heading to the car, the skies opened and the rain started.  We were definitely looked after by the weather Gods.

So here is the second in the Seasons in the Bath series, The First Leaves of Autumn.  I was a bit worried about trying to do something that could happily stand next to Wash Away the Day, as that image is one that I am the proudest of.  I have to say, I’m pretty chuffed with the way this has turned out.  It was definitely what I had in mind.  Now to start preparing for Winter..

The First Leaves of Autumn

 

Looking forward to Looking Back

The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you’ve come…… unknown

When I opened Facebook this morning, I had a memory pop up. I usually don’t pay any attention to them and very rarely share them as I think there is so much happening now that I don’t need to look back.  But sometimes a memory stops you in your tracks as it shows you how far you’ve come, whether physically, mentally, emotionally or in a skillset.

The FB post this morning was from the very first composite photograph I tried.  It was four years ago and I had just started studying Photoimaging.  We were asked to do a self portrait for a TAFE project called Me, Myself and I.  You’d think with my incredibly limited Photoshop skills at that stage that I would have chosen a simple self portrait wouldn’t you?  In fact at that time, even a simple self portrait was stretching my almost non existent skills.

Never letting it be said that I don’t like to challenge myself, I set about creating a photo about how I feel inside versus the face I show to the world.  This is such a simple composite but it took me ages and of course, when I look at it now, I cringe at the lack of finesse.  However, I’m also very proud of it.  Yes I could have taken a simpler option but instead I pushed myself well beyond my boundaries to try to achieve the vision in my head.

I still love the concept of this photo and maybe I’ll redo it or maybe I won’t.  But what is interesting is that my first composite photograph was one that spoke about the battle with my demons.  Four years on and I’m just starting to shoot for my very first solo exhibition which will be held in October/November this year. It too revolves around mental health and I’m so thrilled to have a group of people happy to open up about their battles too.

These next few months are going to be crazy busy for me and I may be quieter on here than usual.  Next week, I present my very first TAFE class.   Yes, I’ve gone from being a student at TAFE to teaching my own class.  I’m a bit nervous but very excited.  To make the year even busier (and more special) I have my first  much awaited and loved grandbaby due in a few months, I’m heading overseas just after that and then it will be full on with preparing for the exhibition.  I have between 30-40  images to shoot in that time and they won’t be shown until the actual exhibition, so it may not be all that easy to do lots of other work in between to put up here.

Hopefully, I’ll fit a few other images in between. But today, I’m enjoying looking back from where I started to where I am now and of course, the evolving is never over.  I’m looking forward to where this journey will take me.

Graceful – Weekly Photo Challenge

It is only our belief that we are trapped that keeps us bound where we are….Livonne

As some of you will know I’ve spent the weeks over Christmas and the New Year moving into a new home.  After shifting comes the mammoth task of setting a new home up.  I gave myself all of January off so I could concentrate on getting it just as I wanted it and then come February, I was to hit the ground running with works for exhibition as well as a few new series I have planned. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Take a month off I said.  It’ll be good I said.. Wrong!

Yesterday,  I couldn’t take the lack of creativity another minute.  Yes, I should have been unpacking and setting up things how I want them.  Yes, I should have been doing some gardening.  Yes, I should have been working on other stuff but my brain was screaming at me to create something… anything.

Luckily I have some lovely friends who are happy to pose for me whenever I want to shoot something in particular.  I got in touch with Janet and she happily agreed to be my model.  I had planned to shoot outside, however the beautiful mountains mists came in which, while beautiful and inspiring,  played havoc with my plans.  So instead, I set up an area inside, cut heaps of ivy off my fence and set about quickly planning something different.

I was inspired by the restless, trapped feeling I had when I had this self imposed break from creating.  Even though it was me that set the rules, I felt bound by them.  I could have stuck to my plan of not shooting over January but sometimes we have to listen to that creative voice that says “just do it”.  So I cast off those shackles and lost myself in what I love doing.  Yes my lounge room was a mess but it was so worth it.

I still have some more images to be edited but these three are the first of them.  Oh it felt so good to be creating again.

Maelstrom

Survival was more than the preservation of life.  It was tenacity in the face of ruin, an unbroken resolve in the midst of defeat, a glimmer of hope in the maelstrom….. and peace despite the wreckage…..Jocelyn Murray

Well, I’m back.  I’ve finished the shift finally and am (almost) settled in the new place.  I have shifted many times in my life and I felt this harder than I have before.  I guess I must be starting to feel my age.  Everything seems heavier than it has before but regardless, it’s done and I’m finding the new place slowly but surely.

I haven’t started really started shooting yet this year which is not like me at all but soon I’ll be making up for that. I have many, many shoots planned and images dreamed up.  It was important to be settled first though as this year is looking like being huge.  I have travel plans and exhibitions happening so it will be all go.  I am planning my first solo exhibition this year too and there are lots of exciting things happening with that.

I’ve been planning it since last year and have actually shot a few pictures for the images I have in mind. One of the models involved was the lovely Ramana and whilst this is not the image which will be part of the exhibition, it was a favourite that screamed to be edited.  I guess it’s how I’m feeling a little bit too at the moment.. Finally feeling a little bit of peace after the storm.

maelstrom

Home is Where the Heart is

Home is where the heart is… even if you can’t remember which box you packed it in…..

I know I’ve been conspicuously absent of late.  I’ve been shifting house and right on Christmas/New Year to boot.  It’s been a really crazy few weeks, but as soon as my new place resembles a house rather than a cardboard box storage centre, I’ll be back with my camera and my imagination.  2017 is set to be a really special year.. Bring it on I say!

a-new-beginning