Altered Horizons. Due to loss ,everything in my life has been altered, changed to some different reality. Not by choice. After being crushed by grief for so long, it is comforting to create small worlds and set horizon lines that reflect my eye level and personal physical position in the scene. In creating these fabricated landscapes, I can choose and control. I can build stability and balance, if only on my computer screen.
This shot was taken standing on the shores of Kezar Lake at Quisisana Resort in Maine. In Photoshop I changed the colors, and then flipped the image upside down so the water became hills, and the sandy beach turned into a sky. Burning the color from a circular patch in the “sky,” I created a full moon.
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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.
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There was a blue tarp behind the glittering mound of metal scraps at Upstate Shredding in Owego—a perfect sky for a jeweled mountain. The only thing needed to complete my fabricated landscape was a sun or a moon. In Photoshop, I cut-and-pasted the image of a silvery ring I’d found lying in the muddy ground between the piles of scrap.
Now, looking over my photos of scrapyard rubble, what I see is ruin, like the aftermath of the recent tornadoes. What were once my mountains of treasure are now landscapes of loss and devastation. As I sort through my photos, on the news I see people picking through piles of debris. And with the holidays coming up, I’m thinking of those who lost homes and all their treasures. Who lost loved ones. And I’m wishing them peace and comfort. And plenty more treasure to fill up their emptiness in the days to come.
Send me some sun. Need more sunlight now, please. Trying not to complain but it’s been pretty dim around here lately. It’s driven me to light candles, sit for hours before a sunlamp, and beg my best friend to build campfires. Depressed. Desperate. Seasonal Affective Disorder. Already. It’s only November. Winter hasn’t even started yet and I’m missing the sun.
On a class trip to Cornell University’s Lake Source Cooling Plant, lying flat on my back as if on a beach, I stared at the ceiling and focused on the disc-like thing that stood out amid the chaotic collection of apparatus up there. Then, in Photoshop, I tried to turn the thing into a warm, welcoming heavenly body. But there’s nothing quite like our solar system’s beautiful star.
On a rainy gray afternoon I rummaged through the house to photograph things that reflected light, things that absorbed light, things with grit, and grooves, and threads, and pronounced textures. It happened to be one of my “bad” days. You know what I mean, one of those colorless days when nothing, not even chocolate cake, can calm the deep aching of a shredded heart.
Tossing together all the holey, groovy, scratchy images in Photoshop, I composed my grief landscape. My sun is a tea strainer I pasted onto a crystal saucer. The rainy sky is my bedroom carpet. The hill is the brim of a hat. And it’s all framed with the drainage strip that keeps floodwaters from entering my home.