Author Archives: Robin Botie

Altered Horizons 64

Altered Horizons 64 Robin botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops fabricated landscapes in dealing with depression and coping with change and loss.

No one could quite identify the huge tree at the far end of my property. It was surrounded by the thickest thicket and wetland scrub so we could only view it, its top, from a distance. For years I’d wanted to mow up to that tree but the land was too swampy to get anywhere near with a mower. Also, the field was riddled with the downed trunks of huge trees, cut when I built my house at the turn of the century.

In the middle of the heatwave and dry spell, the landscapers agreed to try clearing the field. It was one of those days when I hardly dared to go outside for fear of being fried. But the landscapers called to me, they’d reached the tree. (Although the bulldozer had half sunk in the still-wet land.)

It was a shagbark hickory. My favorite for photo-shopping fabricated landscapes. Snaking around behind the tree was a small murky creek. And under the tree’s canopy were two rocks, large enough to sit on. I greeted the shagbark like I was meeting a long-lost loved one.

 

Altered Horizons 64

Altered Horizons 63

Altered Horizons 63 Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops fabricated landscapes in dealing with depression and coping with change.

Not all landscapes are calming scenes. Last week I combined contrasting textures to create a peaceful effect, but this week I chose two different scratchy textures to highlight the tension. This kinda reflects my rough week of dealing with the heat, loss of the internet and then power, my dog falling and failing, and the television breaking. Nothing earth-shattering. But it all added up to an uncomfortable edginess.

The foreground of this fabricated landscape is a pile of dried grasses that I tinted blue in Photoshop, and the sky is the negative image of a Shagbark Hickory tree trunk laid on its side and turned bluish as well.

 

Altered Horizons 63

Altered Horizons 62

Altered Horizons 62 Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops fabricated landscapes during the heatwave to distract herself from loneliness and depression.

The reflection of the sun on my pond always teases me to photograph its sparkling, sometimes blinding, beauty. The problem is I usually over-expose the whole picture just trying to capture, on film, the beautiful patterns the sun makes on the rippled water. So here I inverted the image into its negative in Photoshop, turning the bright whites into black. Then I changed the colors from the blue-greens of the water to a pale pink sky. Enthralled with contrasting textures, I condensed a large heap of dried grasses into the land for this fabricated landscape.

Shut up in the house during the hottest days of the heatwave, I find creating landscapes in Photoshop to be a great distraction from loneliness and depression.

 

Altered Horizons 62

Altered Horizons 61

Altered Horizons 61 Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops fabricated landscapes in dealing with depression and coping with loss.

Another combination of algae and peony. In Photoshop there’s this great command that allows you to change the hue, intensity, and lightness of the colors in your photograph. There was something so satisfying about turning my pink peony and greenish algae into a fabricated landscape of blue twilight. I like to imagine walking in the dusty blue valley as a pale blue moon rises.

Altered Horizons 61

Altered Horizons 60

Altered Horizons 60 Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops fabricated landscapes in her therapeutic photography, dealing with depression and coping with grief.

The algae I pull from the pond almost daily is heavy and saturated. It drops from my rake in thick wooly sheets that often contain tiny snails or squirming baby turtles that wriggle their way back into the water before I can photograph them. The heavy dumped algae, drained of its water, seems to drink up the light. It is such a contrast to the peony with its soft, delicate petals reflecting the sunlight and fluttering slightly in the air. To me it’s like the difference between life and death, elation and depression, a luminous moon and a messy muddy swamp.

In Photoshop I combine algae and peonies over and over again in fabricated landscapes.

 

Altered Horizons 60

 

Altered Horizons 59

Altered Horizons 59 Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops fabricated landscapes in dealing with depression and coping with loss.

In the quiet dark of a summer night, fireflies twinkle like stars. Much folklore and symbolism related to death surround fireflies, also known as lightening bugs. There was a Victorian superstition that if a firefly was spotted in the house, someone would die soon. In Japanese legends fireflies are the souls of the dead, particularly of warriors who had fallen in battle. Some say that gazing into a field of fireflies, one can feel the presence of lost loved ones.

My camera couldn’t capture the flickering and flashing dances of the fireflies. So, creating this fabricated landscape in Photoshop, I painted tiny white lights over images of algae sheets raked from my pond. I topped it off with a photo of the pond reflecting the sun and clouds.

 

 

Altered Horizons 59