After a busy week of wedding planning, I've been blessed with the opportunity to visit a doctor to face the seriousness of my sugar dependency. Its time to get professional help instead of basing my actions on assumptions and self-proclaimed expertise. I'm kind of all over the place as I rationalize my sudden NEED for strawberry Timbits. Since I ate the whole box already, why not have a whopper and ...gulp...a NON diet Coke?! While I'm inhaling a large fry, I am thinking about creative expression, influence, perspective, and how things don't always look as they really are_ BURP_ (excuse me) Especially those horrible mirrors in the bridal shops! Do they make everyone look 50 pounds heavier? Or am I in denial again? Lemme grab another Coke as I contemplate the horror of bathing suit shopping. Wait... Is that a sumo wrestler is a pink bikini in here with me? Or did I get the "fun house mirror" dressing room again?
I've been taught that everything we hear, feel, smell and see is processed by our brains based on our life experiences. For example, I feel liberated and hopeful when I hear the air conditioner kick on for the first time. But I feel fear and anxiety when I hear the awful, rotating needle sound of mosquito wings at bedtime. Depending on my mood and emotions, my perceptions are widely affected. If I am missing my son, the site of a mother and a baby boy might make me cry. The smell of burning wood may subconsciously remind me of a house fire in my youth. The smell of rescue vehicles takes me to the many fatal tragedies I've covered as a news photographer. Memories are triggered by senses and influenced by emotions, then stored away inaccurately. What can be trusted? What is Really Real and Really Not?
Emotions are not facts. Feelings are not facts. They change. Fact remain as facts so I rely on third party perspective and my fellow followers in Christ. This is my "spiritual eye" because it overrides ALL physical realities. In this state of mind, surrealistic photography and LIFE in general is more fun and exciting!
I've always been attracted to art that shows atypical perspective. As an artist. I like to manipulate a scene to deceive my viewer in a sort of sinister way. This makes creating images exciting for me. It lets me experience life outside of everyday realities and stifling routine... My images today are simple pictures of 'created' surreal subject matter. Technically, they are what I saw in camera. Burning/dodging and curves were used in Adobe Photoshop to enhance the pictures. Dark edges were added and the images were converted to black and white in Adobe Lightroom under the "creamtone" preset.
Top-This little guy is a starling skull on a stick. He is placed on top of a chicken foot and stood up on the blank page of an open book. Deep shadows and back-lighting create a nightmarish, pop-up book surrealism as he looks up at his viewer. Below- The bird skulls appear to be eating as they further distort reality. We know dead things don't eat. And if he were alive, his skull would not be featherless. He may be a zombie bird!
These sunflowers were photographed in the wild as they were. A flash was used to light them from a very low angle and black out the background to create the illusion of creepy solitude. It appears surreal because we don't see sunflowers lit this way. They grow in open places, and are lit overhead by direct sunshine. Had we always seen them lit from below, this picture would lose its lonely nature.
This is a honey bee on a wild flower. He is out of focus except for his legs. The low angle gives him a very strong presence. It is an accidental shot and a very unusually close look at a natural every day scene.
Wild Dog Smile
This is a wild dog skull found "as is" in the woods. To me it is quite disturbing because it appears to be a kind of grimacing creature coming out of the ground. The lower jaw bones are facing upward, with the nose down. We would normally see a dog's head with the nose up. and a snarl to go with the bared teeth. This one seems to have a sinister smile. The image was shot with very limited depth of field and careful composition to emphasize the monsterly illusion.
One of my favorite places on Earth. Buck Creek State Park. One side is cement, the other is wild fields. The fields are in light while the other side is in shadow. For me the "darkness" emphasizes the barren landscape on the dam side. It seems cold and lifeless. The little flower growing out of the black shadows gives the scene a sense of hope while the dam wall is a dramatic separation of the two worlds. I chose to keep the top of the dam wall cut out of the picture to strengthen the drama of the scene.
T-Rex Dead Leaf
This is a leaf. Again I used unnatural light to create this T-Rex. I figured I would get some texture in the leaf to emphasize the prehistoric shape but the texture also worked in my favor. A flash was used off camera and held very low to darken the background and make the dead leaf come alive.