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ShareMondays2020 – Chinoiserie

Laquered

ShareMondays2020 – Chinoiserie

The term Chinoiserie refers to western-made arts and crafts, particularly of the 18th century, that were characterised by motifs seen in oriental artwork on wood, porcelain, silk and metal. I’ve not included any of the fantastical beasts that appear in many of those pieces, as I have always been drawn to the art form for the beautiful shaping of the natural elements. Whenever I see seed-heads lit up by the late sun against a dark backdrop, I can’t help but be reminded of the shapes of cherry trees and bonsai on dark lacquered wood, or inlaid on metal.

Chinoiserie

The elegant structures of late summer seed-heads, pods and grasses, really appeal to me. Isolated, they can be amazing minimalist subjects. Layering up an image with multiple exposures, either in-camera or using digital software, can be used to emphasise the cluttered nature of wildflower meadows or areas of scrub land. These are really important habitats for many wildlife species. The primary layer of a vibrant ecosystem.

Vetch

Of course many of the metals and chemical compounds that were used in these old techniques are also used in various forms of photographic print making. We often refer to these techniques as Camera-less Photography. The most well known techniques are photograms and cyanotypes. Both involve using chemically treated paper, laying objects on, or above, the paper and exposing it to light. A process that I was very interested in at Art College was solarisation, first popularised by Lee Miller and Man Ray in the 1920’s and 30’s. It can be used when developing from negatives or when using objects for photograms. The exposed paper is treated with developing chemicals and then another exposure is made. This can either be pure light exposure or a double exposure using a negative, or more objects, in slightly different positions on the paper. It’s very experimental and hugely satisfying!

Echo

Not all of us can get access to darkrooms, space for cyanotypes or digital cameras that allow for multiple exposures! All these images in this post have actually been created in Photoshop using multiple layers and blending modes to recreate the styles and results that you would expect to get from analogue printmaking. Nik Software also has tools for recreating these effects, called Analog Efex Pro. I took the separate photos to create these images in a brief moment of sunshine at Heron Lake, where I have been going open-water swimming. The lake is surrounded by reed-banks, scrub and woodland.

Teasing Light

It’s a great habitat for wildlife, although much of it was still in hiding from the thunderstorms that hit us on Wednesday! Our swim sessions had to be delayed for an hour to ensure that the thunder and lightening had cleared. I did find a slightly bedraggled wren, hiding in an elder bush, while I was looking for suitable plants to photograph for this project. If only it had braved the light! Still, it was great to see it scampering around the branches and staying sheltered.

Young Wren

I hope everyone has a great week, and if the weather doesn’t allow for your usual photographic styles and subjects, try something experimental!

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#FeelGoodPhotoOfTheDay – Ascend

Ascend

#FeelGoodPhotoOfTheDay – Ascend

Ascend

This crowning glory
Embellish this basins’ banks
Ascend to new heights

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ShareMondays2020 – The Shielded

Shielded

ShareMondays2020 – The Shielded

So just who are The Shielded?

Well the media are rather misrepresenting us I think! We are the unseen 1.8million. We’re not all in care homes, aged over 70 or “people who would probably have died at some point this year”. If I hear, or read, one more report that claims that many of the Covid-19 related deaths don’t really count, because that person would have likely passed away soon anyway, I will scream! Every death is a person, an individual with loved ones. All the World War rhetoric inspired me to get hold of a vintage gas mask. DON’T wear one of these to protect yourself against Covid! It’s a representation of the suffocating mask I feel has been placed upon me. I can’t help but think of Wilfred Owen’s poem Dulce et Decorum Est! Please read it. I am stumbling and floundering.

Masked

Many people in The Shielded group are there because they have a lifelong illness that requires immunosuppression. This could be because of cancer, organ transplant or autoimmune disease. The aim of our treatment is to give us as long a life as possible! Many people in this group are young. Most people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis – are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 25. I was 19yrs old. My mother was told that it was 50/50 if I would actually make it through the night. I stay shielded so that she, and the rest of my loved ones, don’t have to hear that kind of news again, because I’ve contracted coronavirus!

Shielded Warriors

While the majority of the population are now thinking about the easing of lockdown, The Shielded know that we’ve got a few more months of being shut away in our own homes, before we can even get that “one exercise outing per day”. Count your lucky stars people! We’re not superheroes, just ordinary people who would like to get on with our lives in the usual way too. Some people are waiting for operations, new therapies, hospital referrals or local treatments. Part of normal life for a lot of us. We’ve accepted that certain things have had to go on hold. You can help us get back to our normal by Staying Home, Protecting The NHS and Saving Lives. Who knows, you might even save mine!