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The changing face of horror…

Many years ago, a friend of mine (hello Becky, or “Becqui” as you called yourself back then) sent me a postcard from eastern Europe, where she was on holiday.
If my memory serves me correctly, I think she was visiting Transylvania at the time, soaking up the gothic atmosphere that gave rise to the region’s vampiric myths and legends, although that isn’t strictly relevant, as the subject of the card was a painting by an Italian artist.

Giuseppe Arcimboldo was a sixteenth century painter who took the stuffy, formal format of portraiture and gave it a bloody good shake up.
He didn’t achieve this by choosing to pose his subjects in interesting or controversial ways, but by using something other than their own bodies to depict them.

His more conventional art is now largely forgotten, but the paintings he produced in his own inimitable style are still fascinating people to this day

Here is the picture Becky sent me:

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Yes, it’s a man made of fish.

He also used vegetables, plants and animals in his surreal composite images, all themed to tie in with the subject of the portrait.

I have always thought it was a fabulously warm and somehow friendly picture, and yet many people I’ve shown it to find his art disturbing and uninviting.

Which got me thinking; When it comes to the human form, what is it that makes something disturbing to look at?

Our faces are an important part of what defines our personality to other people, but not necessarily to ourselves.
Having multiple piercings, for instance, may give some folks the impression that a person appears threatening or in some way confrontational, yet (despite my own personal antipathy towards any sort of “body modification” such as piercings and tattoos) I’ve met all sorts of perfectly lovely people who, when you actually make the effort to get to know them, just happen to like covering themselves in ink and/or metal studs and are otherwise no different to you or I.

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Rolf Buchholz – the world’s most pierced man. Airport security was always a lengthy process.

There are of course cultural differences;
The Tā moko face tattoo tradition of the Māori people, which has been the norm for hundreds of years, would almost certainly be deemed unacceptable in western society, a social convention which is reflected in the fact that most tattoo artists are reluctant to have their art facially displayed, even in today’s liberal society.

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Māori or Sharpie – you decide.

However, the Yakuza, (famously-inked Japanese gangster hard men) cover their entire bodies with tattoos, yet shy away from continuing their decoration above the neckline, presumably to make membership of the crime organisation somewhat less obvious.

So it isn’t just how “hard” you are which determines how you wear your face, nor should you assume that someone is going to stab you, just because they’ve got Mummy tattooed on their neck.

But the use of the face to give us nightmares is a long and freakishly enjoyable tradition.
Whether it’s the simple application of grease paint to achieve the look of that most terrifying and disturbing of entertainers, Clowns

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Stephen King’s Pennywise the Clown from IT – “We all float down here!” – soon to terrify an entire new generation.

…or the reliance on everyone’s ability to imagine the pain of having sharp points pushed into their flesh, like cheerful sado-masochist and Cenobite-in chief, “Pinhead” from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser (which you can watch in full at the end of this post) there is a deep-seated visceral reaction to any type of facial disfigurement.

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Pinhead – “Another hedgehog joke and you’re going to hell.”

The reason for all this physiognomy fixation comes from yet another burst of photographic and digital fiddling that I’ve been engaged in this week, this time using my insertion and layering gadgets to assemble new and interesting versions of my own face, using only parts of…..yep, you guessed it, my own face.

And the odd hand or two.

The resulting monstrosities portraits were posted on my new Facebook photo page, much to the horror of several group members, who seemed to find the new me somewhat less attractive than usual.

But why? What is it about this type of  face manipulation that makes us so uneasy?
Well, now you can judge for yourselves.

Brace yourselves, it’s face time.

First of all, I went for a bit of face-palming…

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…then I tried a bit more organ transplanting..

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…which ended up getting a bit out of hand.

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Potato head.

After that, things just got a bit silly…

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…culminating in this masterpiece of unhinged and demented clownery.

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All body parts model’s own.

The catchphrases of two ’80s crime-stopper shows spring to mind at this point;
“Keep your eyes peeled” (not literally) and “Don’t have nightmares.”

Here’s some bedtime viewing for you.

Enjoy.

Bonus movie.
Watch Stephen King’s original IT ***HERE***

 
12 Comments

Posted by on February 18, 2015 in Arts, Music, Photography, Video

 

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One liner Wednesday…

Always beware of geeks bearing gifs.

http://lindaghill.com/2015/02/18/one-liner-wednesday-dont-like-until-you-get-it/

 
9 Comments

Posted by on February 18, 2015 in Blogging, Guest spots., Humour

 

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Fifty shades of grey…

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Oooh, you thought I meant that Fifty shades of grey, sorry.

Well since I’ve been doing all these photo collages, I thought that, just for once, I’d jump on a bandwagon.
I mean, why not take advantage of the world’s apparent obsession with watching someone else’s soft-core knot fetish fantasies and ride the wave of search engine confusion?

I hope you like my specially themed, original art work (at least I did make the effort to create something new for the post and didn’t just recycle some old black and white photos) but if you’re still feeling short-changed, here are a few more old recycled black and white photos monochrome images for you to enjoy.

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This post is dedicated to the memory of Steve Strange; musician, ’80s style icon and all round true original.

Fade To Black…

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{Picture: Google}

 
13 Comments

Posted by on February 13, 2015 in Arts, Music, Photography, Tenuous Lynx

 

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The joy of FX…

My pursuit of fantastical digital imagery continues this week, with two new examples of photographic layering.

As with previous efforts, all the photos used were taken by me and all editing and effects were done on my phone.

First, here’s Haunted:

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…and this one is called Janus:

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Having posted both pictures to my new Facebook photography page, an old friend of mine, Rick Francis (a talented photographer whose work will feature in an upcoming post) took “Janus” and applied his own treatment to it.

This was the result:

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I loved the smooth, airbrushed look of his version, so I re-manipulated the image yet again and came up with today’s final picture, which I was going to call “Iron Butterfly”.
But since that name was taken by this lot some time ago, I’m going with Rick’s suggestion, Rainbow Kiss:

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4 Comments

Posted by on February 12, 2015 in Arts, Music, Photography

 

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One liner Wednesday…

People who live in glass houses are hard to embarrass.

http://lindaghill.com/2014/11/12/one-liner-wednesday-grissom/

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 11, 2015 in Guest spots., Humour

 

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Camera obscure…

Among the various types of digital fiddling I occasionally engage in with my photographs, one of the most interesting I’ve experimented with so far is layering or overlaying several photos to form abstract or fantasy tinged images.

Here are my three favourites so far, I’d love to know what you think.

My first attempt;

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Getting more adventurous;

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And my latest masterpiece:

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All three are composed entirely of, or created from, photos I took myself.

None of them have titles as yet.

I personally think the third one would make a great poster and I may well try getting it printed in large format to find out.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on February 8, 2015 in Arts, Photography

 

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Picture this. In the misty morning…

There are many beauty spots in North Devon that I’ve visited again and again to take photos, but it occurred to me today that I’ve taken more pictures in one place than almost any other.
Although it isn’t, strictly speaking, one place.

About eighteen months ago I posted a photo-blog based around my journey to work, along the A361 North Devon Link Road from Barnstaple to South Molton, on the edge of Exmoor National Park.
Since then I’ve taken dozens of photos of the sunsets, sunrises, landscapes and trees on and around the twisty, undulating ribbon of tarmac that winds through the wooded and field-checkered countryside.
Happily, they have proved very popular, both here on the blog and on Facebook, (where I have recently set up my very own public photography group to showcase any and all types of photographic art) but most of these shots are captured whilst making a hurried stop at the side of the road or a quick detour on the way home in the evening.
So today, having awoken at the unreasonable hour of 7.30, I took a traffic-free trip into the misty, frost-sparkly morning and went exploring.

Here’s one of two tunes I’ve picked to soundtrack my journey:

My first stop found me on the hills above the A361, looking down from the road to West Buckland

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…from whence I made my way towards Exmoor and my main objective for the morning’s adventure, the viaduct that spans the spectacular Castle Hill Estate at Filleigh.

I travel over the viaduct nearly every day and yet, apart from the time I had a job driving a large van, I’ve never been able to take advantage of the views afforded by its lofty elevation.

Until today, that is.

I parked in a lay-by just uphill from where the viaduct spans the steep-sided valley and walked back along the hedgerow, finally reaching the point where I could look over the parapet, onto the misty landscape below and across the treetops of the wooded hills that stretch off into the hazy distance.

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But I wasn’t satisfied with that.
What I wanted to do was to get some shots from under the viaduct itself.
Which brings me to the second tune with which to accompany this photographic odyssey:

Clambering over the crash barrier and down through the tangled undergrowth, I eventually came to a farm track that led me under the towering stone supports, into the dappled pine forest and fields that border the road.

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I climbed back up the steep slope of the valley to the road, sounds of traffic just beginning to disturb the peace of morning, heading home with the usual feeling of privilege I get when I’ve had a chance to witness the world as only the early bird sees it.

 

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