7 Pictures + 1000 Words

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.

906-1000-work-restIn 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.

906-1000-work-rest2aAll 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…

906-1000-work-rest2bNothing 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.

906-1000-work-rest2cI 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.

906-work-rest-artisticI 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:

906-1000-work-rest-artistic2 The only other major alterations here are a change to color and hue on some of the elements in the outer spaces.

Still, something seems to be missing. Not otherworldly enough, yet.

I began to play with lighting effects, both inside and out.

906-1000-work-rest-artistic3I 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.


Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at http://amazon.com/author/hollyjahangiri. For more information on her children's books, please visit http://jahangiri.us/books.
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15 thoughts on “7 Pictures + 1000 Words”

    1. Oh, you are too diplomatic, C.! You’re not helping at all. 😉 Seriously, I’m just playing and experimenting and learning – I’ve got no particular attachment or emotional investment in any of them. It’s not like the “does this dress make me look fat,” question, where there’s really NO good answer. It’s safe. I’m just curious what others see and prefer.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Seven Great Ways to Waste TimeMy Profile

    1. That last one certainly livens up an otherwise ordinary, fairly dreary photo, doesn’t it? Makes it surreal. I like it, too. I’m still not quite sure which is my favorite, but that one’s certainly the most altered, farthest from the original. (Or maybe not – after all, the black and white version should be considered farthest from the original, and yet, I think produces a similar mood.)
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…7 Simple IngredientsMy Profile

    1. I’m actually leaning towards this sixth image, myself – what I like about it is that the inside is surreal and the outside, if anything, is very real, just…moreso. The changes outside the fence are noticeable, but smaller. Inside, they’re dramatic. In a way, the seventh is complementary – whatever colorful weirdness is going on IN the garage, it has now spilled over to the outside.

      On the other hand, I have a sense that the seventh is almost alien – the light has an odd quality and color to it, and doesn’t look like something that’s “escaped” from the garage, but rather something that’s outside, trying to get in. Or searching, maybe.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Glipho: Bringing Social Back to BloggingMy Profile

    1. Aleta, it’s easier than you think to get to 1000 words. (And if you are even considering participating in NaNoWriMo, it’s just a warm up for 1667 words a day throughout November!)

      Remember, one image and post a week is enough to participate – you do NOT have to do all three, and you can pick any one you like. I do hope you’ll join in!
      Holly Jahangiri recently posted…7 Simple IngredientsMy Profile

    2. And yes… there IS a story in the cloud merge photo!

      I suppose, if I were to tell it, it would be set in a small, underground lab where clouds are formed and grown and released into the world. One family wonders why they never get any rain – though there are storms surrounding them, there is always a patch of blue sky, overhead – not a drop of rain.

      Because that’s how I feel, lately. One month, our 60′ pine tree is struck by lightning, the cable next to it (underground) explodes, and we have to replace an alarm system and major appliances. Since then – nothing. Plenty of rain and storms nearby – within a BLOCK – just nothing on our house.
      Holly Jahangiri recently posted…7 Simple IngredientsMy Profile

    1. That “Arithmetic” function is something else! (I should have mentioned also that I used Mask Layers to remove some of the weirdness and constrain it to the outer courtyard. Arithmetic merges the pixels of two different photos (and you can select Add, Multiply, Divide, Subtract, AND, OR – I still have no idea what it actually MEANS, but it’s fun to play with, and sometimes doesn’t work out well at all).

      If you go here: http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-6552p1.html you’ll find a picture of a house with a waterfall coming off the roof. That’s the first photomanipulation I ever did, and it has actually sold pretty well on ShutterStock, over the years. 😉 I’ll not likely get rich from it, but it’s covered a lunch and a few cups of coffee.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…7 Simple IngredientsMy Profile

  1. I love the different effects you’ve used on your photo. Each one has it’s own personality/character due to the filters you used. Some are warmer than others, while some are harsh and cold, even though it’s the same photo…much like people with their moods, I guess. The one that caught my eye the most was the last one.
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