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.

The Lunar Effect

Tell me the story of how the sun loved the moon so much, he died every night to let her breathe….. 

Halloween is on it’s way.  Yes, a month away but I decided to start early.  Kirsty from KLB Images who helped me with my photos this week decided she’d like to do something dark so avoiding the common zombie type photos, we decided to go for something more terrifying… Real life madness!

Throughout the years, the full moon has been blamed for madness amongst us.  It’s synonymous with werewolves, vampires and just plain lunacy amongst we mere mortals.  Of course, the word lunacy comes from the word Luna meaning the moon. Whether or not the full moon does affect our moods and our sanity will always be an argument that no one can win.  Personally I believe people are affected by it.

From my own battles with depression and PTSD, I know the feeling of not always being understood by the rest of the world and I wanted to convey how much effort it takes restraining yourself from acting out how you’re really feeling.   How sad and crazy you feel when you’re battling your demons all on your own.

I decided on an old building here in my home town, went shopping for some clothes to rip up and we were ready.  We headed to our location, a chair and a pink umbrella our only props.  It was unbelievably windy which helped make Kirsty’s long hair look even crazier in the photos.   It was difficult to get a shot without her hair completely covering her face  but I was happy with the photos I got.

When we got home, I started to edit one of my favourites of her with a pink umbrella, straight away.  She  was standing behind me when she suddenly said, “zoom in”.  I did and was quite freaked out to find someone standing in the window of the old building.  Now, I’m not saying it isn’t possible that it was a person actually in there, however, I took a photo 4 seconds before I took this one and there was no one in the window in that or any of the 162 photos I took.  Just the one I was working on.  The windows are all covered in plastic and although I know most people will write it off as just someone standing there, I personally believe it was not a living being.  You can make up your own mind.

in-the-window

But beyond being freaked out by that photo, I have quite a few good images that I’ll be working on over the next few weeks from this shoot.  I have chosen 3 that I’m thrilled to share with you today.   I’m really looking forward to doing a few other spooky shoots leading up to Halloween that I’m sure won’t freak me out anywhere near as much as the photo above.

the-lunar-effect_

dsc_5601to-dream

There You’ll Be

In my dreams I’ll always see you soar above the sky.  In my heart there’ll always be a place for you for all my life.  I’ll keep a part of you with me and everywhere I am, there you’ll be. …… Faith Hill

there-youll-be

Never Fear What’s Ahead

Your biggest enemy was never the wolf…. It’s always been the fear of moving forward… Livonne

I’ve always been a worrier.  If someone was late home, I imagined they were injured or in trouble and couldn’t contact me to let me know.  If a letter came in, I wouldn’t open it for fear it might be something bad.  If someone asked me to join in something, I would find an excuse for fear I might fail at it.

Well no more!  I have lived through all those things and I’m still standing.  Sometimes those I love were late  because they stopped to buy flowers.  Sometimes, they never came home and my heart broke.   I’ve opened those letters… some were good, some were bad.  I’ve joined in.. Occasionally I’ve been laughed at but usually I’ve just had fun.

Our fear holds us back much more than the events that happen.  I’ve started to change my inner dialogue.  This is something I’ve been working on for years but lately I’ve really started to jump on the taunts I give myself and rephrase everything.  Yes something bad might happen, but what if it DOESN’T?  Do I waste the rest of my life preparing for the worst?  NO! I can’t keep living with fear.

This week, I faced my fear of not being good enough and entered a large art competition with one of my pieces of work.  As I hit that send button, I was completely terrified.  Then once it was done, I realised that nothing happend.  Nothing in my world had changed.  I’d sent an image to an art show.  Nothing more.  My mum always used to say “The worst thing they can do is say no”.  She was right.  The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t win a prize.  Probably 95% of the other entrants won’t win a prize either.  But I can never be in the top 5% if I never put it out there in the first place.

No more fear here… Well at least no more letting the fear win.  My enemy isn’t an external thing.  It’s all internal and it’s time to let it go.  It’s time to start moving forward. It’s the only way to live.

To Grandma's House

To Grandma’s House

 

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