I have been writing letters as a way to connect with residents in care homes near where I live. They cannot leave nor have visitors because they are shielding from the virus.
Hello again my friend,
It’s me again, writing to share a photo and an experience with you. I hope you are keeping well and able to get out into the garden in this beautiful weather. We cannot go far right now due to the pandemic, but perhaps we can see what is nearby with new eyes.
The photo I am enclosing this time might look familiar to you. It is one of our local treasures – The Ruined Abbey at Painshill Park. I hope that you have had the pleasure to see it yourself and if not, that you will soon. I have a special affection for Painshill Park as it is my local park and before coming to live here a few years ago I didn’t even know what a folly is! This park has several beautiful ones. Fast forward a few years and now I am in the middle of a large photo project all about British follies. This experience is a gift I could only have found by coming here and for that I am very grateful.
On this particular day, I was at the park to test a new Hasselblad camera and so I was quite excited. I had intended to create a minimalist photo with smooth water and sky but the clouds were dancing so beautifully that instead, I captured this. It is as if the clouds were dancing with my own new camera happiness. I am wishing you a similar happiness today.
This week’s creative prompt is “dream”. You may use the word however you like – dreams, dreaming, dreamy – it’s entirely up to you. All creative endeavors are welcome and eagerly anticipated. I’m very excited to see what you will make.
Creative interpretation of the prompt is *highly* encouraged. Remember that the goal is to create something. Release your inner artist. ✨ Please do keep things family-friendly so that everyone can participate and make sure that what you post has been made now, as a response to the prompt.
This week I was thinking about a series I did last year called “deconfinement” that is about societal pressure. It occurred to me that many of us are now living a very different and more literal type of confinement and I found myself daydreaming a sort of merger of these two concepts. The idea and then its execution became a delightful escape from my current reality. To make it even better, I had the pleasure of collaborating with my former teacher, friend, and colleague, Sarah Grosso. I made the visuals which then prompted her to make the beautiful piano accompaniment. Words cannot express the joy this little adventure has given me. 🙂
A letter to connect with residents in local care homes. 💗
The text of the letter:
I hope you are well. I am writing to you again to share another photo and another story. My hope is that while we are stuck inside during this dreadful pandemic that these can help brighten both our days. I get to remember my past times out and you get to imagine them yourself.
The enclosed photo was taken last Spring in rural northern Japan. I had just finished my Masters of Art Photography degree and decided I needed to push myself further with a challenging trip. I got exactly that.
When I arrived, I found that there was essentially no English spoken in the area. My Japanese consists of only a few pleasantries like hello and thank you, so I found myself hugely isolated for the whole week there.
But the isolation was not at all unbearable. In fact, during that time, I was mostly very calm (despite a volcano erupting on the 4th day!) and overwhelmingly happy. This photo is of a very small Shinto shrine that is up on a steep hill in a farming district. I struggled a bit to find it and stopped to “ask” a local elder farmer. I wish I had a video of our “conversation”.
In the end, I did find it and it was worth the effort. There is such a sense of calm in these places. I hope the photo can transmit the same to you.
This week’s prompt is “traces”. You can make anything in response to the prompt and you can interpret the prompt any way you like. This is a concept I was intermittently focused on during my MFA work – noticing things like footprints and finger prints everywhere. Living things leave a lot of marks on the world. Some of them are tragic and others are beautiful. 👣
Creative interpretation of the prompt is *highly* encouraged. Remember that the whole point is to make something NEW. Focus your mind and release your creativity. ✨ Please do keep things family-friendly so that everyone can participate and make sure that what you post has been made now, as a response to the prompt.
Last week I washed everyone’s fluffy blankies. Yes, we all have one. As I folded them up I noticed all my handprints on them. In the waning evening light, they were highly visible. The next day though they were not as obvious. This kept wafting through my mind and inspired this temporal piece. I tried various ways of photographing it but in the end, decided leaving a visual cue of what left the traces in the image was most satisfying.
This week’s prompt is “the light”. You can make anything in response to the prompt – a photo, a drawing, a song, a cake. And you can interpret the prompt as openly as you like. Your subject could be literal light or a figurative notion of light. It can be natural light or artificial light. Please post your responses in the comments below. I cannot wait to see what you will make! ✨
The overall idea of this adventure is to spark creativity as a way to focus attention and then use photography to share what you have made to connect with each other. If you make something that cannot be photographed or videoed, then I challenge you to find another way to share it here – perhaps as text or audio. Creative interpretation of the prompt is *highly* encouraged. You can be literal or figurative or somewhere between. Please do keep things family friendly so that everyone can participate and make sure that what you post has been made now, as a response to the prompt.
In this photo, I have returned to the familiar comfort of my studio with a style that is very similar to my final MFA work which is called that which binds. I took apart a small studio strobe, threaded it through a lampshade from my living room and suspended the contraption. The mannequin is called Lucy. She is a sassy thing that comes apart at the seams in the most wonderful of ways. In this case, her head is missing. On some days I can relate although lately, my head feels full of light. There is no photo editing – just Photoshop to convert the RAW to JPG.
Care homes in the UK have reached out to the public for contact from the outside. Residents are isolated from outside contact for their safety and as such, are feeling alone. I can relate. I am sending a weekly letter and photo to four care homes in my area. 💗
Here is the text of the letter.
Dear Friend, My name is Athena Carey and I am a landscape and travel photographer living near you in Surrey. I thought it would be nice during this time to reach out and share some of my photos and experiences. It’s difficult to stay inside during the pandemic but hopefully, this will make it a touch easier. This photo is from a series I did while I was living in Geneva, Switzerland. It shows one of the many jetties used by large boats that tour the lake for both pleasure and business. This jetty is in the city of Lausanne, which rests about in the middle of the lake on the Swiss side. On this day, it was cold but we had no snow. I got up early to ensure I could be alone on the jetty and was delighted to find that there was a low fog on the lake nearly obscuring the other side. These conditions made me feel like I was standing by the sea rather than a lake and looking out into the great unknown. My only companions were the many seagulls aligned on the far edge of the jetty. I left them in peace on their end of the edge of the world while I shivered behind my tripod over on mine. I am often very alone while I am out making photos but on this day, in particular, I felt a strong sense of hope as I looked out across the water. I hope the photo can also give you a similar sense.
This week’s prompt is “blue”. You can interpret and respond however you like. You could literally make a photo of something blue or your photo can be blue in a figurative sense. Please post your responses to this prompt in the comments below. I am very much looking forward to seeing and chatting about your photos. 💙
The overall idea of this adventure is to use photography, which nearly everyone practices to some extent, as a way to focus attention on something creative and then through that connect to the outside world. I’ll keep all the prompts very simple so no one is excluded based on skill or available gear. Creative interpretation of the prompt is *highly* encouraged. You can be literal or figurative or somewhere between. You can take a straight shot with your phone, make an elaborate PS collage, use film or digital, natural light or strobes… Please do keep things family friendly so that everyone can participate and make sure that what you post has been made now, as a response to the prompt.
IDEAS: If you are drawing a blank, you could start by going through your house collecting things that are blue. You can then assemble these items in a blue still life and photograph it with whatever camera you have or prefer. If you want to be less literal consider ways to visually express some of the social and cultural meanings of blue – calm, tranquillity, trust, loyalty, royalty, melancholy, sadness…
This is a short video clip that I recorded with my iPhone in the bathroom. I shot it with the front-facing camera through a Listerine bottle. It is blue literally and also expresses my current feelings of isolation and uncertainty. I will post a couple other blue photos in the comments too. I did a video just to challenge myself. I am really, really more a stills kind of gal.
This is a cyanotype. Since the lockdown started, I have not been able to do any travel or landscape photography, so I have been making cyanotypes. The process involves painting light-sensitive chemicals onto paper and then exposing that to UV light. No darkroom is required. I used a dying tulip and crumpled plastic wrap and exposed it in my back garden. I made the photo of the cyanotype with my phone. 🙂
This one is called, “random blue objects in my house still life”. I was surprised to find that I really don’t have much that is blue. I got “blue” into my head and then whenever I stumbled upon something blue during the day I added it to a pile. Later, I arranged them on my bed and made the photo with my iPhone. The items included are a film camera battery, a lip balm, a bead bracelet made by a dear friend, a marble I found in the garden last year, my bonsai clippers, a post-it pad that I use to make notes in books, my favorite blue erasable pen, blue watercolor paint, the cap to my glasses cleaning solution and a Velcro cable binder. They are all on top of my Fstop Dyota 20 camera bag.
During this difficult time when we have been asked to stay home it’s a challenge to find something to keep busy with. I know for me, boredom is setting in quickly.
I was chatting with Armand today and we have decided to offer our video workshop for half price to help keep people busy. You can’t go out right now but you can come on a vicarious Africa workshop with us. 🌍✨
Please stay home, practice social distancing when you cannot and wash your hands a lot.lot. 💗
This week is pack week at f-stop gear. Every day of the week a special bag and a matched f-stop pro photographer are featured. There are special deals and special bundles.
As an added bonus, if you purchase a bundle, you qualify for a 1-2-1 private session with an f-stop pro!
My bag is the Kashmir. And my special bundle includes a medium slope ICU, a filter pouch, a digi buddy and gate keepers to hold my tripod. These are what I carry with me when I go out to shoot landscapes. Other bundles are also available.
One to one sessions with me will be variable, adjusting to meet the desires of the customer and our geographical options. They will include a choice of shoot planning guidance, location advice, technical or theoretical lessons and portfolio reviews as skype calls, coffee meet-ups or mini outings.