Some more frosty vistas from rural Ireland this past Winter. Taken during the dreamy golden hour the wildflowers full of reindeer moss and bog grasses like little licks of flames ablaze against the bluish blankets of cushy snow.
Some further throwback photos from my trip back home to the emerald Isle last Winter. I remember when I took these photos, it was during a couple of crisp evenings when the golden hour sunset lit up the glistening frost and reflected the warm slitted cloud formations.
Some further experiments of light painting photography taken from a while back. Situated in the middle arch of the high vaulted ceilings within our house, I like this spot a lot. I love how the arch frames the pool of light and how a sliver of light rims the skirting boards. I must admit while taking these photos it is easy to get spooked as the only light source was my makeshift bicycle light from which the light painting is born and while peering into the long pitch black corridors made it feel like at times I may not be alone, which only adds to the experience.
I usually do not share photos of myself here but I wanted to share this photo for a competition entitled “People at work” with Art Full Frame. The Contest description reads as “During this year due to the pandemic everything has changed, our habits, our way of approaching life and our way of working.People across the globe are trying to get back to normal. We are gradually taking back possession of our lives with many of us going back their work place.
Many have converted their homes into offices, whilst others have been forced to change their working practices to accommodate the new Covid safe procedures. Just to mention a few with restaurants, shops and personal care. Some have even had to start all over again, whilst for others nothing has changed. With this photo contest we invite you to capture People at Work, before, during or after the pandemic. It is not important when the photos were taken, what we are interested in is looking at the world through your eyes.”
Inspired by the twisted landscapes of Alice in Wonderland and campy colourful slasher film posters my submission is a very tongue & cheek satirical view on the work from home aspect that has been implemented into many of our lives because of Covid -19. There has been times where my own home has felt like the enemy, times where I feel smothered by the four walls where I spend most days and where I could feel like my lanky limbs could burst through its fixtures at any moment. On numerous occasions I have felt like a digital detox is certainly needed – from the browsers and zoom calls, the terms, keywords and overabundant hypertext. I know a lot of us have felt like this, although many would wear a professional bravado when plugged in through zoom calls and meetings. But what goes on behind the screens? Are they wearing pants?
Recently coming across the exquisite painterly photographs of Belgian photographer Léonard Misonne (1870-1943) who famously said “The subject is nothing, light is everything” to say that I am inspired by his work is an understatement. It is hard to approach Misoone’s work knowing that they are photographs when they look like soft, luminous oil paintings that a master of the craft spent hours mulling over to get the right amount of tenderness. Back in the day it is intriguing to know that Misonne relied on manipulating his photographs during the printing process to get the mood he sought and to that I never understand why people turn their nose up to manipulating photos as even way back then it is still a tool used to help the intent wanted.
I decided to search through the many hard drives I have stored full of photos with the majority taken from my excursions around rural Ireland this past Winter. I picked a bunch that I thought would be ideal to experiment with to see if I can mimic a fraction of Misoone’s glowing photographs. Although these photos were taken in the dead of Winter, the dew brimmed evergreen spruces and ground foaming with moss makes it hard to distinguish.
While editing these photos I feel like I have learned something fundable about photography – when you take detail out of things in favour of something softer the colour can be left to sing which makes the photograph feel more painterly and makes the viewers eye not focus on one thing in particular but take everything in as a whole, which I think can give more mood, tone and emotional intent. Not to say that photography that is sharply focused doesn’t have its own impact, just that it hits differently. Photography is a relatively new medium for me and experimenting to find artists, elements and approaches that I admire and that give me an initial feeling of loving the way a piece looks is exhilarating, figuring out the why is the important part and it is always exciting when you find it.
I still have a plethora of images gathered from my excursions around rural Ireland from this past Winter. I never got tired of capturing the frosty landscapes and meanders of ice circulating around the rich peat. This adventure in particular was after a large dumping of snow that froze over, I remember it distinctively because I almost completely lost a boot in the mud… I somehow managed to press record as I was free falling gracefully into one of the earthy trenches and have the resulting gasps and swears words of my clumsy ass in mid motion. I won’t share that here and shall leave it your imagination.
While experimenting with the use of objects for painting with light (one being a food strainer which ultimately was a massive fail), I continued to rummage through our overloaded store room where all the amazon boxes and no longer needed shite is kept, searching for more things to encase with light. I did however come across a mannequin torso that belongs to my roommates girlfriend – a fashion student. I previously bought LED strips that were far too bright to give the impression I wanted, but I thought covering the majority of its shining output could work in my favour.
The mannequin has a hole through its body where you can attach a pole so that you can hang the mannequin and alter the garments with ease, I was able to stuff the LED lights into the mannequin through this hole and even though it is covered in thick styrofoam the mannequin was now lit up like a freakish beacon effigy. I wanted to showcase the fact the mannequin doesn’t have a head so I stuck a fake tea light into its neck stump to add dramatic effect like some sort of headless banshee and attached a see through curtain to its diaphragm for some flowy movement. There is something about long exposure painting with light that feels as though you are capturing something that isn’t there but at the same time could be, some sort of residue spectres that reside in different frequencies and are only captured through means the naked eye can’t see, so it seemed fitting to try and capture some ghosts.
The mannequin in question minus the ghostly movement and before the tea light was added.
This weeks kick about over on Reds Kingdom where artists from all across the lands provide a creative response is an exert from Haruki Murakamis 1Q84 where he describes the transcendent moon as a perceptive but mute watcher over the earth and all it encompasses.
I feel like with the words of Murakami, the moon has an element of ominous brooding and a spark of stoicism at remembering what used to be. The light I am capturing with these long exposure shots, which rim the highlights of ornate wood panelling and makes the hard wood floor sing with colour, makes me wonder who used to reside in this old house previously? Who wandered through the hallways? Who ran their fingers along the wood panels? Who tended to the rose gardens? Who hung up all the photos that still have a small circular imprint on the ancient stained walls? I imagine the original family in black and white or faded sepia, posed on an old chaise lounge, looking dapper but serious.
This old creaky house with its not so glamorous leaks and constantly breaking faucets still has so much charm to it, bursting with history as high as its ceilings. The mammoth floors above us are now converted into flats, but one wonders how it all looked in its original form? How would the moon have shone into those vast rooms above me? I can only fantasise.
The process of producing these photos was relatively simple. I used long exposure photography to take the initial photographs (seen below) – curbing my preference for large swings of a light source, instead opting for a central steady point so that the light source would not bleed out from where the moon would be placed. From the Scientific Visualization Studio site I downloaded a HD colour and displacement map of the moon which I then plugged into a simple sphere within Maya so that I could get some nice renders of the moon with depth and texture. I then plopped the renders of the moon on top of the long exposure shots and edited to my hearts content so that the makeshift moon look as though it is the original light source.
A few more ominous light painting experiments, taken in the hallway this time and giving a whirl of the intriguing dutch angle.
A few more painting with light experiments. It is currently thundering and lightning violently here, I wonder what a sudden shock of light could have with these long exposure trial and errors? I would love if a police car were to go past our house just as I press the shutter button as the light from their sirens always lights the crevices of the curtains in a brilliant blue, maybe it could happen at just the right time? Here’s Hoping.