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#ShareMondays2020 – Hurting

Hurting

#ShareMondays2020 – Hurting

My image this week was inspired by my husband’s thoughts on the layout of last Monday’s image. He said it really reminded him of an album cover by the band Tears For Fears. Perhaps you remember it? It’s called The Hurting. A true masterpiece of musical commentary on social issues. I was really struck by how relevant this album still is. Mad World could definitely be an anthem for current times.

As I did previously with song titles from the late, great David Bowie, I have taken the titles from this album and reworked them into a “new” poem. Words from the past, still powerful in the present. (original lyrics by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith)

Hurting

Are we broken?
The children suffer
In this
Mad world.
Change.
Memories fade
Since the
Start of the breakdown.
I am
The prisoner.
Watch me bleed
In my pale shelter.
The conflict
In my mind,
Ideas as opiates
To keep away from
The idea of opiates.
I won’t become a
Wino even though
I’m hurting.
We are
The hurting.
We are broken
But it will
Change.

The title song, The Hurting, has resonated with me for many years. It was released in 1983, not long before I became the victim of serious bullying at school. It carried on for many years and has affected me throughout my life. The mental scars are worse than the physical.

Could you understand a child
When he cries in pain?
Could you give him all he needs
Or do you feel the same?

(Verse 2: Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith)

I was seriously ill with Crohn’s disease for a number of years before finally being diagnosed in 1995. Recurrent bouts of diarrhoea, weight loss, fatigue, onset of asthma, malnourishment and rectal bleeding. Every doctor had their own theory and most of them were really just accusations of wrongdoing on my part. Making it up to get out of school, drugs, misuse of laxatives leading to anorexia, more drug abuse accusations (you do art don’t you?), munchausen’s syndrome, hypochondria. Many of these are genuine health conditions suffered by people, they do actually need treating, but the then medical profession used these words and phrases as if this was some kind of criminal activity. Diagnosis for IBD has improved over the years, but I’m sorry to say that many young people are still being stigmatised, marginalised and misdiagnosed.

All along
You’ve been told you’re wrong
When you felt it right
And you’re left to fight
The hurting

(Pre-Chorus 2: Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith)

And here we are now, 2020. I’ve faced many hurts in the intervening years. Some people might be forgiven for thinking that the greatest of these would have been my abdominal surgeries. Actually, the two most painful things were losing my ability to paint and being unable to have my own children. I think most of us are hurting at the moment. Whether through isolation, fear, grief, anxiety, financial instability, separation, pressure, work stress, trauma or perhaps a combination of these. Now, perhaps more than at any other time in our lives, we need to acknowledge these feelings, be kind to ourselves and seek help if we need it – Every Mind MattersSamaritansMind

Is it an horrific dream?
Am I sinking fast?
Could a person be so mean
As to laugh and laugh

On my own
Could you ease my load?
Could you see my pain?
Could you please explain
The hurting

(Verse 1: Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith)

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#FeelGoodPhotoOfTheDay – Under The Ivy

Under The Ivy

#FeelGoodPhotoOfTheDay – Under The Ivy

Under The Ivy

Here at last I rest
In grasping vines and grasses
Returned to nature

The lovely Mandy Watson, from Cloudbusting – The Music of Kate Bush, and Guido Harari, the photographer who worked with Kate for so many years, held a great live chat on Facebook today. Mandy sang Into The Garden and I was reminded of my favourite sculpture at Kew Gardens, Leaf Spirit by Simon Gudgeon. I just had to process this double exposure and add a bit of extra ivy, with textures and Photoshop brushes. To follow on from my haiku, here’s the talk with Guido and Mandy, and Kate Bush’s fabulous lyrics that have always spoken to me.

Kate Bush – In My Garden

It wouldn’t take me long
To tell you how to find it
To tell you where we’ll meet
This little girl inside me
Is retreating to her favourite place
Go into the garden, go under the ivy
Under the leaves, away from the party
Go right to the rose
Go right to the white rose
I sit here in the thunder
The green on the gray
I feel it all around me
And it’s not easy for me
To give away a secret
It’s not safe
To go into the garden, go under the ivy
Under the leaves, away from the party
Go right to the rose
Go right to the white rose
Go into the garden, go under the ivy
Go under the leaves with me
Go right to the rose
Go right to the white rose
I’ll be waiting for you
It wouldn’t take me long
To tell you how to find it

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Dispersion and Twirls in Photoshop

Set The Music Free 3

Dispersion and Twirls in Photoshop

With the current restrictions on going outdoors, many photographers are using this time to go through their back catalogues and learn new techniques. I am part of the fantastic SheClicks community for female photographers. Last week one member shared her experiments with the Twirl technique. I will add links to YouTube tutorials for both techniques at the end!

By the end of the week, we were all hooked! Between us all, I think we could fill a few galleries with these fun abstract pieces. You can also use the twirled images as overlays or textures. Some members used the effect to create an abstract background, revealing a part of the main image through masked layers. I loved some of the peacock twirls that others had done so I thought I’d have a go too! Here are my before and after images.

I decided this was the perfect time to finally learn a technique that I have wanted to do for years! The dispersion technique can be used to great effect to make your subject appear to be disintegrating, or exploding outwards. It’s a fun way to create a story for a portrait shoot. I went back to some images I made last year with my dear friend, singer-songwriter, Julia K. I’ll start with a simple edit where I have kept the background clean and simple. The act of singing appears to be reverent, a prayer to the gods.

Julia K

Initially we wanted to visualise sound through shapes and movement. It was a great opportunity to use long exposure and light-painting to frame a story within my images. We took inspiration from the name of her studios, Firespark, and brought in some indoor sparklers and fireworks. Yes, we did set off the fire alarm a couple of times! It’s such a joy to be able to work with a fellow creative, just exploring different ideas, even if they do sound a bit bonkers.

Firespark

I wanted Julia to be static in the images, with the sound emanating from her and surrounding her. We tried a number of different poses that allowed me to create in-camera double-exposures, as well as single images that I could turn into composites within Photoshop. Both techniques are creatively satisfying with similar, yet distinctive results. In-camera multiple exposures always have a more organic feel to them. Creating a composite using Photoshop gives you a much crisper end result. In these three edits of my image of Julia, you can now see why I had her looking up into the space above her. The spirit of music is reaching out to her.

I think I was attracted to the dispersion technique because it brings back that organic feel to a digitally created composite! In addition to using dispersion, I also brought in some overlays of musical notes that I warped, to give them a sense of movement as they explode out from the microphone. Including a bit of texture, with an overlay to the background, added to the organic feel I was looking for. I made three final images for Julia to choose from; full colour, monochrome and selective colour, that revealed the vibrant red against the black and white. Selective colour is very much Julia’s signature look, her brand. I knew she’d choose that one, but which look do you prefer?

I have called this piece Set The Music Free. It’s given me inspiration for creating more stories from other images in my back catalogue, as well as some future projects that I really hope to be able to do with Julia in the future! I hope this has given some of you a bit of inspiration to learn some new techniques and keep creative during this turbulent time. You can learn how to do these two techniques in the following video tutorials. Have fun with them!

Twirling:

Dispersion:

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ShareMonday2020 – Songbird Of Shadows

Songbird of Shadows

ShareMonday2020 – Songbird Of Shadows

Happy New Year everyone! A new ShareMondays tag and my favourite muse to start it all off. Happy Birthday to the wonderful Julia K, dressed as Brandon Lee (aka The Crow) for her Dead Famous party on Saturday night. She’s singing I’m In Love With A German Film Star with purity and passion, well, one of The Passions in fact, Clive Timperley on guitar! What a great party and I absolutely loved hearing two dear friends performing this beautiful and haunting song together. Thank you both!

Clive

Video by my wonderful hubby, Simon Williams!

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ShareMondays2019 – Electrify

Will Purdue - Electrify

ShareMondays2019 – Electrify

Experiments with multiple exposures and ICM (in camera movement), to express the feelings and attitude of music and musicians. These images are from the first part of the Americana Festival held at Fiery Bird in Woking over the weekend. Sadly I succumbed to a bug and couldn’t return for the Saturday evening or Sunday sessions! I’m glad that I did get to see and photograph Will Purdue (above) with his band, as well as Phil Coleman, Nick Hyde and Ajay Srivastav. The musical energy really was electrifying!

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Heavenly Music

Logicaltramp at the Farncombe Music Club

Heavenly Music

On Saturday evening, while the snow was falling outside, we were inside St John’s Church, venue for The Farncombe Music Club, listening to the heavenly sounds of Logicaltramp, a tribute to the mighty Supertramp. The wonderfully atmospheric lighting to accompany the music created a vibrant backdrop on the white walls. The whole ambience of the evening was a real tonic! The spirit of Supertramp was most definitely alive and had quite a few of us dancing in the aisles.

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L’Amour Looks Something Like You

The Masked Musician

L’Amour Looks Something Like You

You came out of the night,
Wearing a mask in white colour

Kate Bush from the album The Kick Inside

The mysterious, masked musician performing with the band Cloudbusting – The Music Of Kate Bush at the sold-out 40th Anniversary show, celebrating the album The Kick Inside. I promise to unmask this special guest in a write-up about this amazing concert that we went to on Saturday night. For now, I will add this piece of mystery into the Wex Mondays and Fotospeed photo challenges.

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Bouncing Buskers

Bouncing Buskers

Bouncing Buskers

This photo of friends and musicians, Claudia Stark and Lisa Von H, totally encapsulates the atmosphere at The Phoenix Cultural Centre‘s Big Busk in Woking Town centre on Saturday. We had all come together to celebrate music, community and culture in Woking. It was hoped that we would also be celebrating the signing of the lease on Quake nightclub, to be renamed Fiery Bird, as the next phase in the Phoenix project. Sadly the lease deadline passed, once again, without any further word on the completion! Get Surrey posted that “the council said it is looking into the matter”. Neither this latest let-down or the freezing cold could stop us partying though! I’m so proud to be part of this project and to have been part of this brilliant, fun event too.

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Blue Monday: Otherworldly

Other - Alison Moyet at Weyfest 2017

Blue Monday: Otherworldly

Alison Moyet headlined the main stage at Weyfest Music Festival on Saturday night and she was brilliant, beautiful and mesmerising. I was photographing the festival on behalf of the organisers this year. Weyfest is a fantastic, family friendly festival, with something for everyone on all the stages and around the grounds of the Rural Life Centre in Tilford, where it is held each year. I wanted to capture the dreamy, soft quality of Alison’s music in my photographs of her. The lighting crew must have read my mind during the second song! The quality of the light through the smoke created the perfect ambient backdrop. It made me think of the title to her latest album, Other. Otherworldly and ethereal!

“Some of us have always felt ‘Other’.
I no longer wish it were otherwise.”
Alison Moyet, March 2017

I’m also posting this image as part of the weekly Fotospeed challenge. Good luck everyone!