Brookwood Cemetery is located near Woking, in England. I have wanted to visit this cemetery for quite some time and finally took the chance recently. Knowing the experience was going to be a bit surreal, I decided to bring my infrared camera with me.
The site is large and quite beautiful. Every detail seems to have been attended. Memorials are both large and small, all imbued with grace and strength. This created a quiet conflict for me – the pain and sadness of so much death cradled within such a gorgeous setting. I suppose any other way it would simply be unbearable.
With the inclusion of more and more automation (being called Ai) the way people edit photos is changing, whether we like it or not. I tend to fall in the latter camp because I don’t really want to learn all the new things. However, I do feel it’s important to understand what is going on in the photo world. I will be joining this free webinar on December 10th at 10am EST. Want to join me to see what is coming?
This time our creative prompt is more of a specific challenge – to use a lightpad to create an interesting backlit photo. You may be thinking, “I don’t have a lightpad” but you likely do. A lightpad is just a flat, lit surface to place your subject on in order to back (or through!) light it. You can use any iPad, monitor, TV screen or even a sunlit window as a lightpad.
If you choose to use an iPad, first take a photograph with it of something white (like a wall) and when you do, over-expose it (ask how in the comments if you need help). Then turn the brightness of your iPad screen all the way up and display that white photo full screen. Viola – a lightpad. You only need to put something interesting on it and make a photo.
For my photo below, I used leaves from a small tree branch that I found on one of my forest walks. I carried it home, cut the leaves off, arranged them on the lightpad and snapped a photo with my iPhone. That’s it! I quite happily spent about an hour arranging and re-arranging and photographing each layout. This is actually one of the first photos I made.
For this creative prompt we will return to color – this time PINK. Think of roses and sunsets, birthday cake and champagne! But your response does not have to be literal, it could be about how the color makes you feel or what it means in society (this part is super interesting to me). I am looking forward to how creatively or literally you will take this.
My pink image is literal in a sense because it is pink in color but also rather figurative. It is about memory, something that while I am restricted by the pandemic has become a frequent visitor. Memory is difficult for me. On most days I try to live in my present and plan for the future to avoid the disturbing mélange of happiness, pain and confusion created by memories of my past. With this image, I am metaphorically comparing this experience of memory to that of being lost in a familiar forest. As I wander through, disorientated, I am confronted with beauty, wonder, pain and fear. It is pink like the stinging mark of a past injury and pink like the delight of a beautiful sunset at the same time.
Technically, the image took a lot of prep and then was made within a very short period of time. Clean-up also took longer than it took to get the shot. lol
This prompt is a wide one – the letter T. You can choose anything at all that begins with the letter T and photograph, draw, sing about, bake a cake in the shape of it, etc. I am really looking forward to seeing how everyone will respond. Table, terror, ticket, tickle, tomorrow, target, three, tower, tools, teacher, turtle, tattoo, truck, tumble, tennis, texture…. So many options!
With this prompt we have a special treat. f-stop gear are joining us and will give one random participant a Dyota AG+ Ion face mask. I have a purple one that I love which is saying a lot as I am claustrophobic and struggle with masks. You can read all about these special masks here.
In my Letter T image, I have included a few Ts – Time, Teapot Tally, and Trapped. There may or may not also be a Tempest in that teapot. That part varies from day to day. The image represents my experience of waiting during the pandemic. So much waiting and trying to stay calm. Waiting through lockdown, waiting to feel safe, waiting for a vaccine, waiting for more information, waiting and waiting, and all the while, drinking tea because I am after all, in England. Back to scrubbing the wall now…
The more of these letters I send, the more I feel they are benefiting me as much as anyone else. 💛 💜
The world outside is reopening but I am still staying at home. One of my big courgette plants was broken off at the stem this week. Normally this would be sad but not tragic, right now it feels awful. I think I have put too much of my heart into my garden this year. Or perhaps I am being too metaphorical. I worry that I might have too much time for thinking these days. Let’s look back to a time that was too busy for so much thought.
When I came to live in England in 2017, it was actually the third time. I came first from the US in my 20s. That time I lived in Richmond. The second time I returned from living in Zimbabwe with my husband and one year old son. This last time I returned from Switzerland, this time with my husband and my second son. While he finished high school here, I worked on a Masters of Fine Art at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham.
When I made this photo, I had been in Derby at a photo festival to have three portfolio reviews. We were encouraged by the university to do such things. My MFA work was very different from my regular landscape work and while I loved it, I missed the outdoors. On my way home, I realized that the route would take me fairly near to The Chesterton Windmill. I quickly decided that I deserved a diversion.
When I arrived it was windy and cold but I didn’t mind. I was out in my element again and delighted to be so. I am looking forward to a return like this sometime very soon. I know it will be as wonderful as this day was.
This creative prompt is somewhat vague – darkness. It may sound difficult at first, but this vagueness gives you a lot of creative freedom. Sometimes we have freedoms that we don’t even know we have. 🙂 Darkness has many cultural and connotative meanings that can be explored or you could attempt it more literally with a low key (dark) image. Remember that visually, darkness is the only way that we are able to perceive light – the whole yin and yang of realities.
In my darkness image, called “hide”, I am expressing all sorts of frustrations. Recent events have included an inconceivable amount of death, hate, destruction, repression, and deceit. I have felt this weigh heavily in my heart. I have also felt “in the dark” in regard to what is truly happening and unable to fully grasp the whole situation due to its complexity and the withholding by some of vital information. And finally, I have on many days felt the desire to simply hide. Unable to process the impact of everything that is happening leaves me wanting to shut off for a while. This image represents all three of these interpretations of darkness – deep sadness, secrecy, and refuge in addition to literally being dark.
On the technical side, despite the intense meaning in the image, the making of it was rather comical. The fabric over me is a single panel of blackout curtain so I could not see a thing and it kept slipping off to one side or the other. Of course, I knew in my mind exactly how much hands and feet needed to show so it took maaaaannnnyyyyy attempts to get it just right. Also on the humorous side, the alt text generated for this image was “A person wearing a suit and tie sitting in a dark room”.
During my visit to Japan last Spring, I spent a lot of time alone at Shinto Shrines. I cannot put words to the calm and peaceful feeling that I found in these spaces but it is a gift both from the place and from inside oneself. I believe this serenity is available in many places – shrines, mountains, churches, forests, temples, the seaside, open water, rolling fields, hidden lakes and even your own back yard if you are willing to seek it there. 🌳✨💚
For this creative challenge lets focus on something fun – Bubbles! You can of course be as creative as you like in creating something new with the topic – it can be backyard bubbles or social bubbles. Physics defines a bubble as “a globule of one substance in another, usually gas in a liquid.” 😳 😆 How you interpret it is entirely up to you. Free your mind to play with the idea of bubbles and see what you come up with. Hopefully lots of happy sparkly fun will ensue. 🌈✨
I chose to make a mess in my studio. Well not intentionally. I wanted to capture a photo of rainbow coloured bubbles on a black background and so setup an old piece of velvet as my background and commenced blowing bubbles. It was a lot of fun and well, the floor needed to be mopped anyway. 😃