Giant in a Jar “Souvenir” – Making of #1 – The Head

Previous to my last post with this weeks prompt over on Red’s Kingdom being “Souvenir” here I document the process of achieving such a grisly scene with my mug in a jar and various stumps and limbs being plopped into fluids as a cute keepsake. There is a lot of smoke and mirrors that has gone into creating the scene which I will get into, but first it needs to be explained the trials and tribulations of inserting my head into the jar in the first place. Because I didn’t want to rely too heavily on the edit, I decided to shoot the photos of me for the head with the red coming from dramatic lighting rather than editing. I simply tied a red gel cellophane sheet around one of my standing lamps to turn my room into a makeshift darkroom and continued to make myself look hideous by pulling faces all the while smushing my face against the glass of a picture frame to get the perfect ghastly shot and mimic as if my head was pressed against the inside of the jar. It was tricky at times because I had to angle the glass correctly so that the viewfinder and various screens and lamps would not obstruct the shot of my face and end up having to edit those reflections out. Here are some photos that did and didn’t make the cut. Enjoy.

For anyone that is reading this that isn’t familiar with 3D texture unwrapping, basically I used one of the above photos as the “centre piece” and then in photoshop I stitched together a left side and a separate right side shot of my head into one merged image. I did this so that when I printed the resulting image out it could be physically bended in a cylindrical curved shape and placed into the jar and behave like a real head.

I created an edit of the red to give the option of a sickly yellow and green.

However, my roommates printer started to run out of ink while printing and the A4 paper was too small, the ears and side of my head also needed be closer to the middle and I wasn’t going to use all his printer ink on my printing out my face. To alleviate the paper turning to mush inside the jar I was going to carefully stick strips of sellotape across the page to seal it in, although I kind of liked the thought of seeing what it would look like disintegrating. I knew I could get the results I wanted by manipulating the head photos in photoshop on top of the plate image of the scene and not have to print anything out but I wanted to give a whirl to the print out method.. and maybe pull a prank or two…

In the next post on Gentle Giant I will go into detail about the plethora of props used for the final scenes. Stay tuned.

Pools – The Human Environment Care Film Festival (HECFF)

Some great news today – Pools created in response to the Kick about on Reds Kingdom has been nominated in the Human-Environment category with The International Human Environment Care Film Festival in the Heart Of Pickering, Canada. The International Human Environment Care Film Festival has a special interest and preference in submissions that speak about the conservation of our planet as it reads “it is our belief nature is the mother of life, and its importance is undeniable. We wish to watch more films commemorating the value of the environment and nature. Films that speak on behalf of nature. Today environmental protection is the biggest challenge of humankind and we hope films can contribute to this challenge.”

Pools was discovered deep with the caverns of the forestry in Ireland where it was filmed and I may not be done with the footage and photography just yet, a recent wave of inspiration ignites the feeling of diving back in..

Pools – 7th Siding Festival of Film

Some good news today – Pools created in response to the Kick about on Reds Kingdom has been nominated in the experimental category and will be screened with 7th Siding Festival of Film. The 7th Siding Festival of Film has a special interest and preference in submissions that are ‘Rural’ and or remotely produced locations outside of urban centre’s. Films are exhibited in 4 venues in Creston, including the single screen art deco style Tivoli Theatre first opened in November 1938!

“Work from Home” – Photography Contest

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?

Painting With Light – Synesthesia #3

Some further light painting experiments. The idea of encapsulating a light source within a food strainer to block out the majority of light didn’t go down well, I couldn’t get a nice medium of light – the lights used were either to dim or way to bright. It is good to experiment though and whittle things down to see what works and what doesn’t. A few more experiments in between various arches with windows that bleed light from the street and then I think I will go on to some exterior attempts. I am excited to see what effects nature has to offer as our garden is brimming with blue bells and overgrowth and I wonder how the light will encompass this type of environment.

Painting With Light – Synesthesia #2

Another batch of photography from my first round of painting with light. When I first seen the images from the window nook containing the table and three chairs I lit up and was invigorated to spend a long time here, trying testing and experimenting – working with those theatrical curtains and light pooling in between its fabric crevices. I have some more experiments planned for the coming nights and I’m skittish to continue to capture some spectres.

Painting With Light – Synesthesia #1

The majority of my roommates moved out recently and I miss them dearly, the house is so quite and feels empty knowing that I can’t go outside our garden and have a cigarette and a laugh with them or be a victim of one of their many pranks or have them be a victim of one of mine. I live in a converted mansion of a house where the outside walls are brick red with gothic, victorian esque rounded towers, the house now converted into 3 separate buildings where our floor on the bottom being the largest house, while the floors above us converted into apartments with sprawling staircases.

My roommates have taken the wifi with them and I have been subjected to a digital detox which has been a blessing in disguise (currently using my dwindling data to post this) as its proving to get on with things that otherwise might have been put off. I have always wanted to give a bash at painting with light using long exposure trickery in particular when living in this house, the high ceilings with its ornate painted plaster and extruded window nooks with long thick curtains – one can imagine how the light would look in all its divots and grooves making it an ideal spot to give it a shoulder popping whirl.

I found myself finding things strewn about the place that I thought would work well – One morning after waking up to our roommates mammoth mounds of no longer of use rubbish strewn across the front patio thanks to pesky foxes I found a red bicycle light, and deep within the experiments of painting with light I noticed a rod hooked up to the large curtains used to draw back them back so you don’t end up pulling them off the rail, it became the perfect apparatus to attach the bicycle light too, meaning I wouldn’t be seen as some sort of shadowy figure in the results of the long exposure shots, even though wearing all black didn’t completely get me in the clear of some of the earlier shots.

I can really see the appeal of this endeavorer – It is invigorating to press the shutter button, swing violently away and away and then run back to your camera to await patiently for the shutter to finally release so that you can see the fruits of your labour. while the house is still empty I am going to keep experimenting with this. I bought some new LED strip lights but the results were less than desirable as the lights are too bright with too many – meaning the room was far too lit up, but with some tinkering I might be able to salvage something out of them. In the dedicated store room of our home where the walls are filled with discarded amazon boxes I found a head lamp with a strap, another golden opportunity to see what this light source can do, there’s also the possibility of not showing parts of the light – what about putting a bright light in say, a food strainer and spin that violently around? or some some of tube that funnels the light? the experiments feel endless and the creative juices are bubbling.

Éire – Photography Series #1

Some photos taking back from the Emerald Isle from this past winter. I find it so fascinating to observe the minute details that a single patch of earth provides in rural Ireland, every few feet there is something different to marvel at – a new collection of colours and textures that are only heightened during crisp, dewy winter mornings where the parts of the flora are submerged and stuck in its icy capture. Their tendrils like a miniature kraken raring to pounce or some sort of leggy thing cracking out of a shell and ready to usurp whatever living thing is staring at it.

The Age of Aquarius

This weeks Kick about over on Reds Kingdom is a delight of colour and symbolism! Firstly, I was gobsmacked by the age of Aquarius song from the musical Hair. It left the hairs standing on my arms with the booming lead singer’s voice being absolutely phenomenal. If this show ever returns to live audiences I would love to see it! The “hippie” people of this era wanted to show their respect and love for the earth and focus on the world around them, while doing it as a group effort to show a sense of community and togetherness. Aquarius is an air sign, and as a fellow air sign myself, they are known to be creative, free spirited, and always seek clarity.

The symbol for Aquarius being the ‘water bearer’, who eternally gives life and spiritual food to the world, while also washing away the past and making room for a fresh start is usually depicted as a mighty figure pouring water from a vessel onto the earth. When seeing the image of the water bearer, I wanted to focus on a previous experience surrounding water that ignited the Pools film from the Eugen von Ransonnet-Villez prompt, which gave me more respect for the earth and the little wonders that happen sporadically, if you are open enough to find them.

These photos show a snapshot of a spectacle that was for my eyes only, where a trickling of snow was melting and forming a mirage of colours in a shallow lagoon of water. It was a joyous occasion to just sit and watch this natural occurrence, and with its dancing display, it allowed me to stop worrying about everything and what the future holds and just be here in this moment. I think experiences like that are important for grounding you and bringing you back to your present reality, where worry has no place, as the hippies in Hair embodied this physicality here and now by dancing and moving their bodies like water…”

The Bogland – Ireland January 2021

I have been busy setting up an online shop for art photography prints and have been in the process of organising, selecting and editing a slew of photos to see what will make the cut. Here is some edits of photos that was taken back in January of this year, which feels like a lifetime ago. I can almost taste the clean air and feel my boots squelch in the rich peat filled trenches as my dogs watch cautiously in preparation for an almost face plant.