Washed in RED.

Welcome back to the Art Box ladies and gents, guys and ghouls.  The photo challenge for week 3 is Red.  Not only is it red, it is “Red. And be creative about it, dummy.”  SOOOOOO, of course, I had no idea what I wanted to shoot.  What is red in the month of January in CLEVELAND?  exactly.  nothing.


I had already taken some shots of a stop sign last week, as well as a big red barn.  Those are literally the only red things of any interest whatsoever in Cleveland in the winter.  Except perhaps all the brake lights on the miles of stopped cars along the highway during a snow storm, of which, we haven’t had many (I know, right?  WTH? Cleveland is the land of disappointment right now).


So, what did I shoot?  Backstory time:

I have been telling myself since summer that I need to figure out how to press flowers.  I want to learn it, I want to scan or otherwise digitize the dried flowers (and leaves or something) and use them in collage pieces or… I don’t know.  Whatever.  SOMETHING.  I haven’t figured that part out yet.  All I can tell you is that I was highly interested in digitizing plants.  One might argue that for a week or so, I became obsessed with the idea.  I started scoping out leaves like fleas scope out puppies.


It was fun.



I liked them when they were ugly (not that I think this is ugly.  Quite the opposite.  It is, however, dying, which isn’t pretty).


I liked them when they were vibrant and beautiful…


I even liked them when they weren’t even leaves.


This guy.  This guy fooled me.  I almost stepped on him.  Then we became friends.  Well, he allowed me to take a bunch of photos of him, and he started to get a little squeamish when I started to talk to him.  That’s when he started inching away from me slowly.  Backward.  Yeah, I was that “creepy guy at the bar” for this bug.  By the way, he doesn’t always hang out on my aunt’s porch, but when he does, he gets a camera shoved in his face. Dos Buggies.


Okay.  I am gonna just go ahead and admit that it might have been longer than a week or so in the summer that I was obsessed with plants.  I was having a VERY hard time justifying pulling the plants out of the ground to dry them out though. Moral dilemma.

So, quite naturally, when Boyfriend got me roses for my birthday, I wanted to preserve some of the petals for two stand-out reasons.  1) Boyfriend, duh.  Sentimental.  2) drying rose bits, duh.  Project.

When I read that this week’s challenge involved red, I thought long and hard about what could possibly exist in January in Cleveland that was any shade of any color other than gray, slightly darker gray, and brown, and the only thing I could think of that was red was stop signs, barns, and my damned Scottish nose.  Perpetually.  ALWAYS.  Even under makeup.

None of those things.  Bleh.  Bad choices.

*Edit* since you haven’t figured this out yet, I have worked 40 hours already this week and still have 2 more full shifts to go before the week is over, and I am surviving only on adrenaline and caffeine, so you will have to pardon my… well, weirdnessActually, this is quite normal for me, never mind.

Well, it was not without a grand exclamation of “EUR-FUCKIN-EEKA!” that I remembered the rose petals nestled snuggly between some cardboard and a quantity of thick art books in my art box, awaiting my attention.  Le duh.  Red.  The only problem at that point was ‘how the hell do I make an interesting photo out of dead flower bits?’

Back lighting seemed like the best option, so that’s what I did.  I preferred the black and white versions of those.


This one is cheating.  This petal wasn’t red.  In fact, it is whiteish-yellow.  Don’t judge me, I like the detail.

After the light box and then the phone screen (see my fingerprints?  Tee hee hee!), I decided to try something a little more “posed,” or “conventional.”


After that I thought: OVERLAY.


Which was pretty awesome…  kinda like a leaf horror movie poster.

After all of that was said and done, I thought, why not add props?



Here’s where things take a turn, as they so often do when you’re with me… I mean, I like this.  I really like this, actually.  It was a pain in the ass to get the petal to cooperate with me, and it was dark as hell in my house so the lighting was being evil, though, I can’t complain about the grain, I actually like the grain.  That was a happy accident.  But I shoot everything in .RAW monochrome.  Nine times out of ten I prefer the monochrome look anyway, it just makes my life that much easier to change from BW to color.  The point here, I was viewing my shots on the LCD panel in monochrome and I actually gasped because a few of them were reminiscent of the curves and lines of some of Imogen Cunningham’s floral work, and if you don’t already know, Imogen is by far one of my favorite photographers, and a HUGE inspiration in my life.  As a matter of fact, if I decide to spawn offspring and one ends up female, I want to name her Imogen.  I know that the assignment was to focus on red, and I feel like I did that, right?  But the winner of this week’s challenge, I’m sorry, I could not present to you in color.  This had to exist in monochrome, if for no other reason than for Imogen’s sake.  To be fair, however, the petal is, in fact, red.  I followed the rules of engagement, and I added a creative twist.

So, scoff if you will (scoff, scoff, scoff), I am sure that there will be many who will hate me for comparing my shot to the genius that is Imogen, and I am by no means claiming that my shot compares AT ALL to her work, only that it has an Imogen hint, a lingering Imogen essence, if you will.  But here it is, the shot that captured my heart and literally took my breath for one half of a nanosecond:



In case you were still hanging on that cliff hanger I left up there, yes, the drying and pressing of the rose petals worked, and I am in the process of scanning them to add them to later works.  Wink face.

Be sure to like, leave comments, hell, go on over to http://www.facebook.com/leartbox and follow along there, if you’d like.  I always like friends.  Next week’s challenge is going to be challenging.  Take a headshot of someone other than myself.  Um.  Okay.  GIZMO?  GIZMO, WHERE YOU AT?

Until we meet again, amigos, happy shooting. Hasta la pasta.



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