Monday 21 February 2011

WPC 2011 - Week 7 - Fear

It feels a bit strange writing about the photograph I took last week, today, but I was busy last week, and thought I'd do it today instead.

My Weekly Photograph Challenge is quickly becoming a part of my life.  Its strange to think I am only just starting to get really interested in this photography lark.  I've been taking photos since I was around 9 years old, when I got my first camera for my birthday.  My photography was all about people and places, and taking shots to remind me of good times.  My photography was never about creating a beautiful shot, though often they were pretty because I was taking a shot of an beautiful place.

I am very slowly working my way through a couple of photography books and reading around the subject when I get time.  There was a really interesting post from the Folksy blog today about aperture and depth of field.  I think I finally understand it a bit more.  If you don't understand it (and want to) I recommend visiting this post.  This series of posts on Folksy are very interesting (so far) and all about talking better photographs of things you want to sell.  While I don't sell my made things, I do sell patterns (sometimes) and better photographs mean that potential buyers can actually see what the finished item should look like.  If you blog and have photos on your blog, then this can only help you make your blog look better.

Well back to the actual photographs and the subject fear.  When I first found out the subject I was terrified (should have taken a self portrait then), but the more I thought, the more ideas I had.  My first thought was spiders.  I'm not scared of them, but lots of people are.  I went outside to find one of the many spider webs that seem to accumulate around our house, and found none.  This never happens, there are always dozens of them stretching about and looking beautiful when it is frosty.  Of course this was before I wanted to take pretty pictures, so I have none to show you.

So I abandoned the spider idea, which I'm pleased about because there were lots of really good spider photos with week in the Flickr Group Pool. Next I thought about taking fear filled faces, and dismissed it, because I couldn't ask anyone to do it and self timer portraits are really really hard for me to take.

My next idea was fire.  We are all fascinated by fire, but are afraid of it at the same time, because it is response we are taught as babies - "don't go near the fire, it's hot and it burns" is a statement all babies are bound to have heard.  We have a chiminea which would have been great to use, but it has been a little cold and wet here recently.  I decided to try and take some photographs of our living room fire.

I took about 60 photographs and this was the only one that was half decent.  I just felt it didn't really capture fear, despite looking quite attractive, I think because it is was a gas fire and not a real fire.  It ended up looking more like a catalogue shot.

The next day, I had a flash of inspiration.  I had bought some roses to cheer up the living room in this grey and dismal time of year, I seem to be hooked on flowers since the tulips in week 4.  My roses were faded and brown and they needed to be put on the compost heap.  This gave me my flash of inspiration.  The fear of aging!  Roses have often been a romantic symbol and are associated with youth and beauty.  The smooth petals are evocative of the smooth soft skin of youth.  We even talk about "the bloom of youth".  Dried out rose petals resemble dried out skin.  It was a real "ta-dah" moment.

Once again I took loads of photos.

After taking lots of shots of the roses on their own, I decided to place them in an "interesting" corner of the garden.  When I say interesting I mean overgrown and ignored.  Once I took the first photo in this corner, I knew that I was on the right track.

It was a very over cast and grey day, with very bleached out light.  This made taking photographs hard, but in the end led to me tweaking with light and colour on Picasa to get a really interesting photograph.

I increased the shadows and the warmth of the colours, well over what was needed to give an accurate and acceptable photograph.  I love how this photo looks.  I love that it is off kilter which makes it slightly unsettling, without understanding why.  I love how the shadows on the moss seem to frame the bleached and withered pink of the roses.  It just all seems to come together.  I think earlier weeks, of this challenge, were all about getting a good photo which accurately depicted what was in front of me.  Because I have been looking at other people's work and learning from observation, I have moved slightly more away from that and more towards photographs as art.  I wonder what will happen with my photography over the coming months and whether I will be able to resist buying a new camera!


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