Tag Archives: upside down world

Altered Horizons 30

Altered Horizons 30 Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops fabricated landscapes in dealing with depression and coping with loss.

“You look radiant,” an old friend told me just as I was thinking about how horribly ancient and spent she, herself, looked. How she looked didn’t really matter though. After years of not seeing her, it was clear she was still an inspiration to me.

They say you attract what you radiate. I’ve always appreciated people who exude warmth and positivity. And I’ve always wished I could have an uplifting effect on those around me. But, of all the things one could radiate—warmth, positive energy, joy and happiness, peace, light, …love—I’m pretty sure I suck up or drain more than I radiate.

In Photoshop, after a photo shoot at Cornell’s Hydroplant, I warped the image of a well-used mop into a furrowed field, and positioned a pile of old hose over it to be some sort of heavenly body, perhaps an alien planet. Something other than a sun, since it wasn’t reflecting or radiating anything.

Altered Horizons 28

Altered Horizons 28 Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops a landscape out of a nyckelharpa as she deals with depression and copes with the loss of her child.

The girl told me, “Jesus loves you.” She was always telling me this. Or texting me. She said this to others as well and it sometimes made them uncomfortable. But to me, even though I’d never had anything to do with Jesus, it was like music to my ears.

“I’m pretty sure Jesus loves you too,” I texted back to the girl, not knowing how to respond but imagining this was something she’d like to hear from someone else.

How could I not feel warmed by a message of love after all the negative, demeaning, hateful remarks too often being conveyed these days, especially by leaders, government officials, celebrities, and others who get widely heard? Just because someone or something is different from what one is familiar with, people shouldn’t be degrading in their communications.

Every weekend this past summer there was sweet music coming from next door. “Nyckelharpa,” the musicians called the strange instrument I had never seen before. And although I couldn’t dance to the unfamiliar rhythms of the Balkan music they played, the elaborate haunting tunes always filled me with joy.

 

 

Altered Horizons 27

Altered Horizons 27 Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops fabricated landscapes to deal with her depression and cope with loss during the Thanksgiving holiday.

There are many pieces to this holiday, Thanksgiving. I used to be into it solely for the feasting until I had children and discovered the part about being grateful and generous. Then, after my daughter died and I lost my gratitude and graciousness for a while, I dreaded holidays. It took a long time to discover that the caring of others was what would fix my battered heart. Thanksgivings became warm welcome gatherings as family and/or friends assembled to celebrate and commiserate, to listen and to share.

This week’s fabricated landscape is an assemblage of images I gathered together from several different outings I took with my photography class this semester. At the Old Souls Home in Owego, NY I found (and later reshaped in Photoshop) an antique golden frame and a set of old tin tart pans. The bristly scrub brush was lying abandoned on a windowsill at Cornell’s Hydroplant. The grates and grills were at Cornell’s Lake Source Cooling Plant. I photoshopped the fluted outer frame from a tractor’s yellow-painted running board that I photographed at University Sand and Gravel in Brooktondale, NY. As in many Thanksgiving gatherings, the collection of characters may be eclectic but the mix makes for a cozy coming together anyway.

 

Altered Horizons 26

Altered Horizons 26 Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops a landscape from the ceiling at Cornell University's Lake Source Coolong Plant in her efforts in dealing with depression, coping with loss and seasonal affective disorder.

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.

Altered Horizons 19

Altered Horizons 19 Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, composes grief landscapes using Photoshop in her efforts to deal with depression and cope with loss.

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.

 

 

Altered Horizons 18

Altered Horizons 18 Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York photoshops a fabricated landscape of the week in her ongoing healing from loss and dealing with depression.

To save my pond from choking, I raked long sheets of algae out of it and tossed them into great piles on the banks. Desperate to save their cruelly upended lives, snails and other tiny creatures wriggled in the folds of the stuff. I threw it all off into nearby bushes. But not before photographing the exquisite felting of the raw fibers.

Much later I came upon the photo of the white allium ball I’d shot earlier, and knew I had found my landscape of the week.