A third and final set of photographs from a journey into an abandoned and forgotten house deep in the countryside and shrouded in nature. I enjoy exploring places like this, although slightly melancholic to see the remnants of people left behind clouded in dust and mildew – the trophies and knitwear full of dust bunnies, the good china left to dip in rotten cabinets. I always how spaces would have looked when it was full of life.
More shots taken from the exploration to the house in Roosters Rest. I would imagine in its hay day this house was probably stylish. Warm woods are implanted throughout with midcentury credenzas and dressers dressing up the bedrooms now being seized by nature. Fireplaces and doors are painted bright colours and those thin patterned curtains providing an ominous ooze of colour from the blinding greens and yellows outside.
Some photography from a neighbouring dilapidated house in sleepy Roosters Rest where the crumbling structure was full of mildew and spiders. The curtains, yellow tinged glass and bright wallpaper oozing colour throughout the walls and halls of this silent place. Like stepping into a time machine.
Something a bit random and rather eerie for this post. Doing a bit of landscaping around the house to empty the leaf litter into the bins I was perplexed when I opened up the otherwise untouched bin to first notice the hefty spiders scuttle away amongst the eroding leaves but shocked to notice the sparkling webs sitting above the leaves reflecting the trees from above in a pulpy oozy green. I’ve never seen a spider web like it – the webbing so thick like a slime or saliva from a much bigger creature. It’s as if the garbage juice residue amongst the bin caused some sort of condensation to attach and grow the web in size. I couldn’t help but snap some pictures – with the dangling cocoon framed and suspended in a silky diamond chamber, the funnel of web leading towards it. Nightmarish stuff!
A second cluster of collages for this weeks John Stezaker Kick About. The likes of Ernst Haeckel’s botany illustrations, Anton Kerners “Plantscapes” and some garish dental illustrations make up the smorgasbord of cutouts in these depictions. I have learned that I really enjoy fabricating collages – Like all creatives processes there is a time when everything looks a mess with no cohesiveness whatsoever, but a certain shape will flourish and be a golden nugget that will spark something in the right direction – by moving something here, scaling something there, a whack of colour here, a penis there, things start to manifest into from – like the final missing puzzle piece.
This weeks Kick About over on Red’s Kingdom is the freakish portrait photography of John Stezaker entitled Marriage (Film Portrait Collage), where photographs of celebrities are split into uncanny cacophonies. Because Stezaker drew inspiration from Dadaism and Surrealism by kit-bashing and appropriating images into bizarre collages, I decided to splice together some absurdities in a fun – no fucks given kind of way, all images nicked from the public domain of course.
This weeks Kick About over on Red’s Kingdom is a spooky one! The words read as follows “listen to them them, children of the night. What music they make” adopted from Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897) – it is no wonder the offerings from artists of all mediums took a more sinister turn. With my own submission I decided to paint over photography from a mystifying land in rural Ireland – the same forest that I recollected upon with this earlier post from last year. Inspired by the stagnant stillness of nature in the night when the ghouls and ghosts come out to play… and also boisterous teenagers. Where there are no street lights and only the little tufts of smoke from chimney spouts signify life. The thick fog and heavy mist hiding and shielding much of what you should see, like a visceral view of brain fog. But still, in that forest, our imaginations would always be lit ablaze. Some would say we were the children of the night.
Previous to my last post now that I knew the print was a fail and that I would rely on the edit to superimpose my head in the jar I started setting up the scene with the manner of props. I relied on a bunch of different things to achieve the final output, to get the jars filled with vivid colour like that of an alchemists apothecary I used yellow and red food colouring, a few drops was all that was needed to turn the clear water into a garish blood and greenish goo. I also used a trick I knew from creating my own halloween costumes as a young lad that was obsessed with zombies by combining corn syrup with red food colouring to make a blood like consistency as well as water colour paint for some different coloured jars and a tattered wig.
Lighting the scene was extremely important as I wanted it to reflect the coloured lighting seen in many horror and slasher films. I relied on bicycle lamps, head lamps and little fairy lights that were the saving grace that I bought for the upcoming short film – The Lighthouse Keeper. the lights were hidden behind the jars and behind angles behind the camera, the same red gel and crumpled it over one of the head lamps to give the a more reddish hue. I accidentally broke the main head jar a few weeks ago and it actually worked out in my favour as it was leaking the entire time but it added more of a theatrical sheen to the gloss of the table top which meant that the light bounced off the surface more.
One of my desks that usually contains most of my plants has a little hole in it – I would assume for cables and wires, I wanted to take advantage of this and place a light underneath the hole so that it projected though the largest head jar and light it up from underneath, with initial tests I had to put the timer of my camera on to ten seconds and quickly duck under the desk and hold the light up to get it just right However, I did manage to eventually wedge the light in between a wooden slat so that I didn’t have to stick my lanky self under the desk which was a win in itself, here is a not so glamours behind the scenes look at what that looked like.
The scene was now set, One of the most enjoyable aspects was experimenting with the lighting and placing the jars in places that reflected and bounced the light, all the while taking a plethora of photos from a range of angles.
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.
With this weeks prompt over on Red’s Kingdom being “Souvenir“ I don’t know about anyone else but I have felt a shift in the air with things starting to feel more autumnal and I always connect this time of year with the cosiest of films. I may have been watching too many of the horror and slasher type, but with this prompt my head went straight to the macabre. There was lots of trickery and doing and trying with this project, I will be sharing all the fun revolving around the in’s and out’s of how I got the resulting photographs up to this point in the coming days. Stay tuned.