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More architecture of the imagination…

Never let it be said that, once I’m inspired, I don’t wring the very last drops out of a idea.
Bearing that in mind, here is a second helping of pictures from the twisted construction site of my imagination.

Once again, all the images started life as photos that have previously appeared on the blog in a more conventional form.
The first batch garnered some pretty favourable reviews, so I hope you enjoy this return to the gravity-defying, mind-bending world of impossible buildings, from a church of the poisoned mind to a contorted condominium and a bridge to nowhere…

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Posted by on March 26, 2015 in Arts, Photography

 

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Pictures of impossible buildings…

Whilst going through the hundreds of photos on my Facebook photography page (for the showcase post that IS coming soon, honest) I got sidetracked.

Yes, ok, that’s not really a surprise, I’ve got the attention span of an ADD magpie in Aladdin’s cave, but by the time I’d managed to tear myself away from my latest flash of inspiration, I’d come up with enough new ideas to warrant posting them here.

So I’d like to present you with a small collection of imaginary architecture, all composed from photos I’ve taken of local buildings, all of which are now more fantastical than functional.

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Posted by on March 24, 2015 in Arts, Photography

 

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Epilogue for our Terry…

I’ve always loved reading.

When I was a kid I was always fascinated by the power stories had to so completely take me there, to take me by the imagination and lead me off to new worlds and different times, each hungrily devoured book evoking a unique set of sensations and emotions, each new scene, character and location lovingly crafted by the resident director and set designer in my head, until I could instantly bring to mind’s eye any one of the hundreds of protagonists created by my favourite authors.

Because when you’re there, when you are in the story, nothing is more real than that moment, nothing matters more than what happens next.
Do the forces of good triumph over the evil villain?
Do the plucky kids escape the clutches of the terrifying monster?
Is there, when all is said and done, a Happy Ending for every Once Upon A Time?

That love of the written story, the appreciation of movies that are more cerebral than celluloid, has stayed with me ever since, so it was with immense sadness that I read of the loss this week of England’s most successful, widely loved and accessible author of recent times, Sir Terry Pratchett.

I’m sure I came to Terry’s work in much the same way that innumerable other soon-to-be-fans did, by having one of his satirical comic fantasy Discworld novels thrust upon me by an enthusiastic friend who had already been bitten by the Pratchett bug (in my case it was the fifth book Sourcery, introducing me to one of the many recurring characters in the series, the cowardly, accident prone but seemingly indestructible wizard, Rincewind) and I’m ashamed to admit that I experienced a touch of skepticism at first.

I had been a massive, possibly even annoyingly evangelical fan of the late, great Douglas Adams for many years and loved the witty and humorous spin he had put on the sometimes po-faced and oh-so-serious world of science fiction, but the more traditional sort of fantasy had always been a genre I’d had a problem getting into (I’ve never understood the attraction of the likes of Tolkien) so the thought of a comedy about wizards, witches, trolls and dwarves didn’t sound promising.

It just so happened that I was travelling to a family get together with my parents that weekend, so I took Sourcery with me in case I got tired of winding up my sister on the journey.

I read the whole thing, cover to cover without once looking up from the page, frequently laughing out loud and  grinning with the simple delight of how he wrangled language into such hilarious contortions, instantly etching images of a totally new universe into whichever part of my brain is responsible for absorbing literature.

From that moment I was hooked.

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Rarely has an author brought such a fully formed, completely original universe into existence, especially one filled with as many instantly relatable and likeable characters and situations as the Discworld.
You see the thing about the Discworld, other than it being an intrinsically magical place of course, a place where pretty much anything can happen, is that it’s here.

It’s our world.
Our society, our myths and legends, our bigotry and prejudice, our fears and paranoia, all transposed onto a flat disc that spins through the depths of space on the backs of four gigantic elephants, balancing on the even more gigantic shell of a ponderously swimming turtle, heading who-knows-where on its eternal journey across the cosmos.

That’s what makes the humour and observations on Ankh-Morpork society so immediate, so easily identifiable, because all of life is here, in all its everyday familiarity.
Because we all know someone like Fred Colon, we’ve all met a Nobby Nobbs or two and if we’re lucky we’ve got an elderly relative like Nanny Ogg.
And who hasn’t exchanged a few quid for the questionable wares of a local version of Cut-me-own-throat Dibbler after a night out drinking has sufficiently deadened the tastebuds?

Terry Pratchett tackled contentious issues like politics, racism and religious intolerance with razor sharp wit and biting satire, yet he didn’t preach.
He had a love of language unequal to almost any other writer I can think of, the joy of storytelling coming through in every word.
His ability to bring characters to life with the briefest phrase or nuance was second to none and his natural narrative style makes every one of his books nearly impossible to put down.

If writing was the only thing that made Terry special, then we’d still have lost a great man, but at the root of his popularity was his personality. His support for young writers and his willingness to engage with his audience, young and old, made him all the more likable, and that in itself somehow makes the books an even greater pleasure to read.

It leads to the feeling that Terry himself is nudging you and chuckling as you read one of the many hilarious footnotes that appear throughout the Discworld books, nesting jokes within jokes as though he just can’t resist having as much fun as he can with the words he weaves his world from.

For the last few years he has tirelessly campaigned for more research into and awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, and for the law governing medically-assisted suicide to be changed, to decriminalize the relatives of those who wish to assist their loved ones in ending lives of misery and indignity, and free them from the possibility of prosecution.

I once saw an interview with Terry, during which he said an old lady had written to tell him that when she died, she hoped that it was “your Death who comes to meet me”, referring to the strangely sympathetic and dryly humorous character of Death from the Discworld books.
I’ve also heard him talk very passionately about evolution and atheism, so I doubt very much whether he was expecting much more than fading peacefully away with his family gathered around him, which was the case when he passed away in bed on Thursday.
But it would be nice to think that, as the final scene faded to black, just for a few seconds the Shade of Terry Pratchett could look up into that oddly empty, black and starless sky, feel that gritty black sand beneath his rapidly fading feet, turn to the ice blue eyes burning from deep within those bony sockets and hear that tombstone voice;
“TIME TO GO SIR TERRY. WERE YOU RIGHT?”

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Goodbye Terry and thanks for everything.
28 April 1948 – 12 March 2015.

 

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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***

 
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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/

 
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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}

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

 

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