Another set of miniature nebulas created with ingredients stashed away in my cupboards. This process of creating something out of nothing is what I felt special about the kick about – there is always something otherworldly to be found in the mundane.
A second cluster of images from this weeks Kick About inspired by textile artist – Louise Baldwin. These images were created in a very lofi method of simply mixing a plethora of ingredients including vegetable oil, water, food colouring and an alka seltzer tablet in a bell jar and capturing the mesmerising reaction as it occurred and settled. In some photographs the sphere of the jar can be seen, like some sort of technicolour meteorite shower heading to an unknown land.
This weeks Kick About over on Red’s Kingdom is contemporary textile artist – Louise Baldwin. I felt a very instinct reaction to this weeks kick about and wanted to focus on two things – shapes and colour. I reconcile one of the most enjoyable kick about’s thus far being the prompt and singular word “Souvenir” where I set up a miniature installation in my bedroom entitled Giant in a Jar and took photographs of garishly lit jars to then superimpose my hairy mug into that jar. The innate feeling of fuck knows how this will turn out but transforming to elation when something clicks and having it work out is always such an enjoyable experience that I want to reproduce.
So I went to my cupboards and my roommates to see what I could get my grubby hands on including, vegetable oil, food colouring, vinegar, baking soda and alkaline seltzers. I then set the stage using that same jar from Souvenir to create a makeshift lava lamp and tried to capture the reaction when I added all the ingredients and after the final plop of the alka seltzer in all its bubbly, frothy, fizzy spectacle. The original plan was to photograph the side of the jar as the reaction occurred but it proved rather limp and blurry, but having a look through the top of the jar and repositioning the many lights brimming up the scene changed things drastically. These miniature galaxies full of depth began to form with and the feeling it gave was utterly intoxicating. In the early hours of the morning when most other people were sleeping I was taking hundreds of photos of this concoction in a jar so expect a lot more to come.
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.
Now that the evenings are creeping in I reminisce about times spent in Ireland during the Winter. I know that pictures of sunsets is one of the things that are overabundant on the internet but something magical happened on this particular evening on one of my usual routes trudging through the boglands of rural Ireland. I am no meteorologist but the gloomy clouds crept in out of nowhere during this trip while away in the distance the golden hour gleam lit up where I was standing in a brilliant red, Yes the photos have been edited to bring out the red but done so in a way to highlight how it felt in the moment, while further away the ghostly spherical arc of a rainbow could be seen. I felt like I was in the epicentre of a storm – it was one of those moments where I basked in what was going on around me and before I could take any more photos from different angles it was gone in an instant.
Having a gawk through the many SD cards that are crammed with photos that have never seen the light of day, I decided to see if I could whip something up – something full of colour. These experiments have multiple photos spliced and transformed on-top of each other to create technicolour vistas where klieg like lights brighten up the sky for some make-believe event I wish I was going too. Many of the photos were taken way back when I first bought my treasured camera, experimenting in the dark when the streets were plumbing with ghostly fog and on top of a nearby park perishing in the winter to try and do some long exposure of the London skyline with its little dots of lights. The blocky shapes came from a recent trip to the design museum in London where I was more perplexed by the architecture in all its eerie vaulted ceilings rather than the actual exhibitions. A fun experiment that quenched my need for colour and my love of editing.
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.
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..