December 4, 2014

Poem: Fallen Star

created from photos by Andrew J. Cosgriff, David DeHetre, and ewkste 

She is a fallen star,
Forced from the heavens,
The only home
She'd ever known.
I did not see where she fell.

I have searched
Cold, green mountain hollows
And bleak fields of asphalt.
I've inquired
At fortresses of marble,
Concrete, and paper.
No one, not one, has seen
My bright little star.

I will keep searching.
I cannot give up;
Hope burns
Like a star in my chest.
Someday I will find her.
No star can fall
Without a trace,
A sign,
A trail
Of its passing.
Wherever it lands,
A fallen star must shine:
And undeniable.

November 26, 2014

Collage: Fog Diptych

Recipe for my monthly desktop picture collage:
- choose a word or phrase
- search on that word in Flickr
- select a few of the resulting images
- mix & mash in Photoshop

This month's word is "fog."

While working on the first collage, I had an idea for a variation on it and decided to make this a diptych, or set of two images. Since I use two monitors both at home and at work, now I have a separate background image for each screen.

The photos I used for these collages were taken by Patrick Strandberg, Ingrid Taylar, and Phil McIver.

What really excites me about these pieces is that I was able to use a databending technique that I've never managed to get to work before. I saved one photo in RAW format, opened it in Audacity, ran an echo filter over the middle of the image data, then exported the file back out. Here's the result:

I love the shapes that resulted, the circles and crossed diagonal lines. You can clearly see where I used this image in both collages.

One odd thing about this month's theme: As I worked with the picture of fog that had been glitched in audio software, a phrase kept popping into my head, "the noise of the fog." Those words carried a sense of apprehension, and I wondered why. Then I remembered that I once wrote something with that title. I think it's probably a poem. I vaguely remember seeing the title on my computer and having the sense that it was a Pandora's Box of sorts and I shouldn't leave it sitting around for anyone to open.

After I remembered all this, I looked for the file. I haven't found it yet, which means it's in some really old archives, if it hasn't been deleted. If I find it, I will post about it, with the caveat that my life isn't that interesting, so the mystery probably isn't going to live up to the hype.

October 31, 2014

Annual Scary Collage: Paranoia

I couldn't think of one individual person right now who's notably scary. Instead, it's the pervasive atmosphere of paranoia right now - in large part thanks to the media, both social and mainstream - that's scaring me. This paranoia creeps into the minds of otherwise normal people, turning them  irrational, unpredictable, and sometimes dangerous.

As always, I did an advanced search on Flickr for Creative Commons-licensed photos using the word "paranoia." I got a lot of great results, but ended up using only three.

This photo of a (Swedish?) report from Anders Samberg:


This photo from a dance called "Paranoia" from Vivadança Festival Internacional:


And this photo of a peacock feather from Jordi Cucurull:


I tried to make the peacock feather into a set of creepy, inhuman eyes. I used the Sketch: Graphic Pen filter to make them look like they're on a screen or in a hologram. I used the wave filter on different parts of the image and layered them with layer masks of varying sizes to make it look like the electronic interference is spilling out of the "eyes" onto the people.

I had a lot of fun working with the text. I used the Distort: Spherize filter on one layer of text, then made another layer with larger text flipped around backwards to make the letters less recognizable.

At one point while working with this collage, I had to completely stop and start over. That's always a hard thing to do with any piece of art. If your original vision isn't working out, do you keep pushing or abandon it? I ended up backtracking almost to the beginning and heading in a completely different direction, letting the medium guide my vision instead of trying to forcibly create the image I had in my head. I'm glad I was willing to trash hours of work and start over. I think the resulting collage is exactly the sort of creepy, dystopian image I had in mind.