Tag Archives: due to loss

Altered Horizons 16

Altered Horizons 16 Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, Photoshops fabricated landscapes in her dealing with depression and coping with loss.

We used to dance. When she was very young I’d swing my daughter around under the moon on a sandy beach. On a crowded dance floor, or in the living room, I sang as we twirled together. Now, my soothing nightly grief ritual: humming the old tunes to the ghost of my daughter. One of the songs always brings up images of blithe spirits waltzing around the moon.

Here my moon is really the rock that holds a bug screen down over my garden. Wilted lettuce plants are the dancers. A wave of foamy residue left on the shore by the receding tide becomes my horizon line. The whole scene is framed with the drainage strip that lies beneath my front door, spliced and inverted in Photoshop.

Walt Whitman, in his “Songs of Myself” from Leaves of Grass, wrote, “If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles.” There, where my feet tread, is where I mainly focus the camera.

 

Altered Horizons 1

Altered Horizons 1 Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops altered horizons or artificial landscapes using photograpghy for healing from loss.

When my life was upended by loss, I had to redefine myself and re-find my footing in the world. For a long time it took every bit of my energy just to keep myself right-side up. But, although my equilibrium was shattered, I discovered a strange fascination in playing with the up-rightness and stability of everything else around me. In my head, I flipped my surroundings upside down, inside out and helter-skelter, imagining new microenvironments. In a desperate attempt to rebuild stability and balance in my own life, I found myself concocting uncanny otherworldly landscapes.

A landscape, in its bare bones, consists of a sky that may or may not include a sun or a moon, and a ground that may be land or a body of water. The horizon line is the place where the sky meets the earth or touches the sea. It’s the horizon that intrigues me most because that’s the place in-between, where change happens, where all sorts of things are possible. The horizon is the farthest the eye can see. It is the limit or range of one’s experience, knowledge, or interest. The horizon also refers to the foreseeable future. Which is something I doggedly try to control these days.

Digital photography and Photoshop make it easy to indulge in this crazed fabricating of other worlds. It’s all based on reality as I photograph mostly natural elements with intriguing textures. Dropping the photos into Photoshop, I turn trees on their sides to become foregrounds. Oceans become skies. The sun is inverted into a black hole. A rock turns into the moon and an avocado becomes the sun. The tools in Photoshop allow me to invert foregrounds and backgrounds, and invent artificial horizons for these contrived landscapes.

Towards the end of designing each new scene, I build a frame around it. This part of the process is so satisfying. Therapeutic even. It’s like building a nest and carefully wrapping the whole thing up to contain it. To keep it cozy. And secure.

I call these Altered Horizons. Because everything in my life has been altered, changed to some different reality. Not by choice. But in these landscapes I can choose and control—A Someplace. A No-Place—Maybe you would say this is a fool’s-eye view of the world.