Thursday, July 24, 2014

Weapons of Mass Distortion

Brave little teacup.  Sad little teacup.  Silly little teacup.  You thought that jumping out of my bag onto a concrete surface would save you from going in front of the camera again?  Not a CHANCE, buster!

I've never been one to let a bad-luck situation grind me down.  I usually pick up the pieces and re-purpose them.  One thing I've learned in my time on this growing ball of rock is if you dwell on the negative, that's what you get in return...more negative.  I'd rather attract the positive by taking a bad situation and finding the good in it. 

I'm just a ray of sunshine, ain't I?  With altruism like this, I may have to turn in my National Sarcasm Society Membership card...AND the matching tie-tack!

cold, dead hands, anyone?

I've held onto the shattered remains of my teacup for around a month, and finally dug them out of the travel bag to put them to good use.  It's so tough viewing the remains of a deceased loved one.  Not to say I won't eventually toss the chunks the next time I de-clutter, but, really, anything can be interesting when captured in JUUUUUST the right way in front of the camera lens.


Once upon a time, in an apartment far, far away (OK, not that far...only 12 miles, but I'm setting the mood here) I had a comedy/tragedy mask combo hanging on my wall.  Composed of ceramic with a high-gloss glaze, Comedy was white, Tragedy was black.  The two masks were rather austere - no additional decorations, paint, or details - just the bare, shiny faces with empty eye sockets and open mouths.  A trio of twisted ribbons were tied at either side of each face, creating a loop in the back to catch a nail strategically hammered into the wall.  There was extra ribbon on each side left to dangle - the only 'frill' to the pieces.  On the surface, they were pretty standard fare.  I found them hanging from the wall of an antique shop, at a reasonable price, so I adopted them and brought them home.

They were happy little masks, full of positive energy, and brightened up my living space with their contrasting white and black features. 

I have the same weakness for masks (comedy/tragedy, Mardi-Gras, Carnivàle, etc.) that I have for stemware.  Anything unusually embellished, uniquely-shaped, or charged with happy energy catches my eye.  I find glass/ceramic/porcelain/pottery is a good medium for holding ethereal energies, and even if they are never charged by a practitioner of the artes, can retain the artistic vibes given off by their creator within the creative process.

I even went so far as to create some of my own masks back in the day, when I was enduring a 'bout of clay creativity liberally blended with Star Trek Geek-dom.  I made masks with Klingon, Cardassian, and Ferengi features.  Decked out with hair (when appropriate) and painted tattoos, they were quite the stunning collection.  I hope they brighten the rooms of whomever owns them now, as I've lost touch with my creations.

What?  Have you forgotten that I'm slightly to the left of 'normal?'

Well... to return to the story... I have 2 ceramic masks hanging from the wall in an apartment far, far away, complete with dangly ribbon things on either side of the faces.  I also have a cat.  Cats like dangly things.  Mine in particular finds dangly things absolutely irresistible.  Cats have a perverse need to bat at dangly things...although, with my cat, batting at dangly things is why he's breathing and converting food to waste products and fur.  It's his purpose in this life.  Cats also have claws to hook onto the aforementioned dangly things, and sufficient mass to pull them from their secure perch on the wall.  Can everyone do the math, here?

I woke one morning to see the black tragedy mask in pieces on the floor.


Yes, the tragic irony in this little story is thick enough to warrant its own zip code (plus FOUR!)...but everyone knows, if you live with glass things with dangly bits and a cat, broken glass things and slightly-chewed dangly bits are going to appear...C'est la vie

 I put the remains away, intent on some day gluing the pieces back together.  When inspiration hit a few months later, I dug them out to run a series of shots, operating under the assumption that anything can be made interesting when framed in the right perspective.  Some of the shots in that series proved my assumption correct. 

I shared my favorites on Facebook, tucking the series away on a file in my computer, and stowing the physical remains back in their cubby.

Tempus Fugit - time flies - many moons later...

The SQO's band finally had enough music properly performed, mixed and recorded to put out their second album.  We settled, after much debate, on an album title of Regeneration as the best fit for the album, due to the bassist being new, and both him and the SQO being HUGE Dr. Who fans. 

Of course, the debate in this case consisted of a ton of different titles being tossed about by all 4 band mates and my occasional suggestion, and everyone had to agree on the one that fit the best.

Creativity by Committee is sometimes a long, arduous process.

The SQO and I browsed through my files in search of suitable graphics.  The candle/mask series was a natural, as the imagery additionally suggested this rebirth or regeneration, the resilience of not letting a setback stop you, and the emergence of something happy and perfect from the shattered remains of a tragedy. 

Two of the candle/mask series shots ended up as the interior cover and the back cover of the new album.

The shot that made it to the front cover, after I gave the boys in the band 2 dozen different cover configurations to choose from (Creativity by Committee, take II), was 4 cell-phone shots of the guys taken at their first show as this new-lineup - again, the intent behind the image was what sold all the members of the band.  All I had to do for the front cover was put the pieces together with some text to tie it together.

I just want to mention here...the candle/mask series was taken with a cheap little point & shoot camera, and edited with the free photo-editing program offered on Photobucket.  The front cover was taken from the boy's cell phones - which also don't have the greatest resolution or megapixels.  Just to be clear, here - you don't need a bunch of expensive stuff to capture images and turn them into a fantastic project - all you need is determination, drive, and vision.

So the next time that someone tries to sell you some expensive lens, or you run out to have the 'latest and greatest' DSLR body to take FANTASTIC pictures - remember - the gear only captures the images...your inner creative visions are what make them great.

And what happened to the Tragedy Mask?  He now has company - the Teacup has moved in with him.  Someday, perhaps, the glue will join the party.

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