I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013 and I would love it if you would participate in my 1000 Words + a Picture challenge. If a picture is worth 1000 words, how much more is a picture and 1000 words worth?
It is both a photo and a blogging challenge. Choose to use one, two, or all three of the prompts listed at 1000 Words + a Picture for each full week of the month.
For each prompt, create a blog post containing one new, original image (it can be a photo, a sketch, or a painting – anything visual – so long as it is your own work and contained in an image posted on your blog) and write 1000 words to accompany it. Tell your story, your way. What do the prompts mean – to you? There are no rules – interpret each one as you see fit, and communicate your vision. Each prompt should be covered in its own post, not a combined post covering two or more prompts. If you don’t already have a blog, it’s easy to start a free one. I suggest one of the following platforms: Glipho.com, WordPress.com, or Blogger.com.
Each time you post, return to 1000 Words + a Picture and Add your link, using the widget.
Seven Ways of Seeing the Same Thing
This image is actually on the theme of “Labor & Rest.” I took it from the inside of ground floor of the office parking garage, after a long day at work. I was at rest, finally; my car would soon be doing the real work of carrying my tired carcass home. The headlights, as you can see, have just come on, illuminating the lower left corner. The office represents work. The grass, too, is working – to grow. Around the edges, it is brown and dying – at rest.
In this first view, the photo is pretty much un-retouched; I’ve straightened it on the vertical line of the concrete support in front of me, and enhanced – only slightly – the color, contrast, and brightness. It’s true to life, just slightly less washed out, with unnecessary edge details cropped out. What I like about this photo is the clean lines, the geometric shapes, the diverging angles, as well as the play of light and shadow. It has a slightly depressing, industrial feel to it – there’s nothing particularly attractive here, but the strong lines and flat planes are interesting. Only the red valves, the green grass, and the golden glow of the headlights on concrete add any color to it.
All I’ve done here is to apply one of PaintShop Pro’s built-in filters – Charcoal Medium. Certainly brightens things up! It also leaves everything looking softer, overexposed, washed out. Washed up. Maybe there’s a metaphor in there, but it’s too depressing to contemplate for long.
It always surprises me how much detail can be pulled out of an underexposed photo. There’s not much to work with in one that’s overexposed. There’s probably a metaphor in that, too. So what happens if we remove all trace of color? Aside from being more stark, still…
Nothing changes, really. This could be any building in the last three or four decades of the modern industrial era. When you look at old photos, black and white photos, do you imagine a past that was actually devoid of color? Where people lived in a grayscale world?
This version definitely brings out the contrast of light and shadow in this photo. That’s all there is, though – light and shadow in a grayscale world. It’s dreary. Makes it look run-down, maybe even abandoned. Like a relic of the past, rather than the site of a thriving, bustling high tech company.
I like bringing out one spot of color – one bright sign of life. I wonder, though, if this little patch of grass, trapped between gray walls, cement, and steel has enough life in it to evoke any emotional response.
Looking at this, though – then back at the previous version – you can see that this is even more black and white. The previous version is slightly warmer. It only looks warmer when contrasted with this, though, doesn’t it?
At this point, I had an urge to turn this into something more moody. Sinister, maybe. I wanted to add something to it, to make it more dynamic. I remembered the first photomanipulation project I did – my “Insurance Agent’s Nightmare,” where I used PaintShop Pro’s “Arithmetic” function to merge two completely unrelated photos to make it look as if my house had been built under a waterfall, which had flooded my yard. Aside from creating almost accidental art, I have no idea what the Arithmetic function is supposed to do.
I chose one of last week’s cloud photos for the merge. And suddenly, the dismal parking garage is a haven of normalcy while a bizarrely blue, miniature thunderstorm rages in that tiny space outside the chain link fence!
I think that because of its starkness, this photo lends itself to a bright, surreal, almost hallucinatory treatment.
My next attempt involved a cross between color splashes, vibrant decay, and a texture suggestive of something growing on the concrete wall:
Still, something seems to be missing. Not otherworldly enough, yet.
I began to play with lighting effects, both inside and out.
I may have gone right past “otherworldly” into “post-apocalyptic”! In order to constrain the purple lighting to the “un-graffitied” walls and ceiling, I selected them – this protected everything else. I turned off all but one light, colored it purple, and aimed it up from the bottom right.
Next, I selected just the outdoor area, and created two lights shining down from the upper right corner to the lower left: one gold, one red. I added another from the lower left to midpoint – a true blue.
So, which is your favorite version, or do you despise them all? I’m not sure – but I’m not going to suggest an answer, here, either, by telling you which I think my favorite would be, if pressed to choose one.