Tag Archives: grief and loss

Altered Horizons 46

Altered Horizons 46 Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops a fabricated landscape in dealing with depression and coping with loss.

Inspiration for these fabricated landscapes often smacks me when I’m not at all focused on creating. Preparing to cook clams on my grill one evening, I unwrapped a package of metal mesh grilling sheets, shifting the layers in the process. The way they reflected the light reminded me of an ocean’s surface. A seascape, I thought. And later, in Photoshop, I paired the mesh sheets with a photograph of crystal plates that reflected similar angles and diamond shapes when stacked. Moon over a calm ocean. Too calm, I realized. I wanted it to be lighter, more uplifting. So I superimposed an image of the discarded remains of cutout tin can tops I’d photographed at a local scrapyard—to fill the sky with flying birds.

 

Altered Horizons 46

Altered Horizons 45

Altered Horizons 45 Robin Botie of Ithaca, new York, photoshops fabricated landscapes as therapeutic photography for dealing with depression and grief.

There was an eye in the middle of the underside of a steel chute at the gravel pit. In a world where landscapes are riddled with security cameras, I did not question its presence. We’re always being surveyed and recorded. Possibly even in the remotes of a sand and gravel quarry, I thought.

In Photoshop, the only thing I added to the image was the frame that I pieced together from my photos of nearby gravel-transporting equipment. Also, I lightened up the dark steel to bring out its texture. Rusted metal can be so beautiful; it can be so depressing. But that eye—it was such a docile eye, a bit like that of an adoring pet—it almost turns the tiny industrial landscape into a portrait.

Altered Horizons 45

Altered Horizons 44

Altered Horizons 44 Robin Botie of ithaca, new York, photoshops a fabricated landscape thinking of war-torn cities in Ukraine.

In my folder of unused images I found a shot of an old piece of equipment the function of which remains a mystery to me. It had reminded me of the innards of a piano when I originally came across it. But recently, all I can see in it are the treads of armored tanks ominously rolling down the streets of war-torn Ukrainian cities. In Photoshop I converted a quilt-square of dotted red fabric into a gray sky where snow falls gently but consistently over a ravaged landscape.

Altered Horizons 44

Altered Horizons 43

Altered Horizons 43 Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops a fabricated landscape in dealing with depression and coping with loss.

Is there anybody else out there who needs to live by a body of water? Long ago I used to leave the bathroom sink half full for my depressed cat who loved the dripping and dipping into water. Besides the old cat and myself, there must be others who crave water’s calming, cheering, and mind-cleansing effects. After decades of living next to ponds, what will happen when I move away to a place where there’s not even a bathtub? Someone please tell me how my obsession with water might then be quelled. By hanging huge photos of the ocean on my new walls? Or by keeping a tiny kiddie pool on the new patio?

Anticipating the move, I’m creating fake seascapes in Photoshop, pasting together images of objects that reflect light. Like the zigzagging running-board of a tractor, metal ductwork, and silvery-painted chiseled wood. Maybe I can make something look like a lake. So I can fool my brain when I no longer have a pond to gaze upon.

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Altered Horizons 42

Altered Horizons 42 Robin Botie of Ithaca, new York, photoshops a fabricated landscape showing scattering in her effort to deal with depression and cope with loss.

Back to this thing called scattering. No, not what I did with my daughter’s ashes. Scattering, as in the white lightening up at the horizon, at the farthest point one can see. That place where everything seems to end. The vast, textureless, colorless, unknowable Beyond. It’s the phenomenon I tend to exaggerate in photo-shopping my fabricated landscapes.

When sunlight reaches the earth, it filters through the air before hitting the earth’s surface. On the path through the atmosphere, the lightwaves hit particles and then change direction and scatter. This scattering is what produces the blues and whites of the sky, the rosy red sunsets, and rainbows. All the beautiful mysteries I’m drawn to.

It hurt my head to read about all the details of electromagnetic radiation and the various types of scattering. I just wanted to capture the light dancing on the differing textures of my bedroom rug, a horse’s back, and a tea filter placed over a crystal saucer. And maybe the bright prospect of the unreachable.

 

Altered Horizons 42

Altered Horizons 39

Altered Horizons 39 Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops a fabricated landscape in dealing with seasonal affective disorder and loss.

Praying for sun. Although the winter sun in Upstate New York is cold and bleak, just a few hours of it can help melt huge snow mountains flanking both sides of doorways and driveways. All this snow would be depressing except that it sneaks up on you, falling silently from the sky either in fat fluffy flakes or tiny hard hail-pebbles. Either way it’s a surprisingly beautiful event even without the sun.

There was a mysterious dark disc seated in the middle of the pebbly rooftop at Cornell’s Heating Plant. For me, it immediately became a hardened gloomy sun in a sky dense with snowfall.

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