Sometimes my fantasy work just goes in all the right directions without me really knowing. In my last post I mentioned that Meagen had given me some great silhouettes to work with – she certainly did!
The Ice Queen
I took her poses, masked out the background and it was then great fun to experiment overlaying the patterns and motifs I’ve been building up. Here she is as an Ice Queen. For this one I used snow flakes that I’d photographed on the car windscreen when we were skiing in Sweden.
The Butterfly’s Wing
This next one has an overlay of the Milky Way (taken above Hogsback). When I sent Meagen the picture she immediately saw that her hair gave the lovely shape of a Butterfly’s Wing.
The Mermaid’s Tail
I was intrigued by the curve her back makes and after a good deal of work I found the Mermaids Tail by superimposing two silhouettes back to back. There are around a dozen different overlays in this picture. Several on each silhouette and then more in the backdrop. When I composed the blue silhouette image Meagen told me she thought I’d turned her into a bioluminescent mermaid arriving in another galaxy. That’s what helped give me the inspiration.
I think of the some of my photography as fantasy artwork. It’s work that often dissolves a nude study into a spiritual natural scene. If you check out Symmetry Series: nude studies and new work at #NAF19 you’ll see what I mean. It’s no real surprise that I’ve wanted to do some more fantasy work during the current lockdown as it’s wonderful place to retreat into. The problem is, of course, that I can’t set up the necessary shoot with a beautiful model! But when I saw Meagen’s wonderful recent work in her @meagieswain Instagram feed I knew we had to find the solution. It was quite easy. She’s great at taking selfies, has a good smartphone and is very good at collaborating! So I sent her some fantasy ideas and concepts for poses and a week or so later my WhatsApp went a bit crazy receiving the 50 or so shots she’d taken.
In one of the selfies she’s looking wistfully out of her window so I took that as my base portrait for the Black Swan. I masked out the domestic interior of her place and then added four or five overlays to get the final image you can see here. I wanted a magic realism kind of effect and think the Black Swan floating in the clouds gives the right, slightly surreal edge. If you compare it with The High Priestess you’ll see that it’s got a much softer tone than my other work with her.
Bird Flight uses the same image and has the same approach. This time I wanted a golden-yellow colour so there’s leaves, grasses and tree bark in the overlays. Even the bird is a yellow bulbul – photographed at our bird feeder.
Meagen’s also sent me some great silhouettes and I’ll dedicate a post to them soon. They’ve given me some nice new directions to follow.
You must find a dramatic image to publicise your exhibition – that’s what the #NAF18 organisers tell you. This year it was easy because Meagen gave me a photo shoot and we got some really striking images. For the photo shoot I made a set of motifs from tree ferns, branches and lightning that I projected on to her. Meagen struck some amazing poses for me: strong, beautiful and challenging all at once.
Meagen Photo Shoot for Metamorphosis
I re-inserted these new images back into the originals I’d worked from. There’s two pictures from the shoot at #NAF18. They’re called The High Priestess and Justice. Somehow they fitted into the themes of the two Tarot cards. The High Priestess gazes out from deep within your subconscious, rooted in the natural world. Justice looks at the past and the present and her many faces reflect all of your past decisions. They’re new additions to the Symmetry series I showed at last years Arts Festival.
The High Priestess
I was extremely fortunate to have a second photo shoot – this time with Natalie who featured in last year’s exhibition – but that must wait for a another post.