Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blue jay feathers

Last August when I was in Virginia, I found these two blue jay feathers on the grass. We don't have blue jays here in the west (Cyanocitta cristata). The closest we have are Steller jays and scrub jays, so these feathers were a novelty. They've been hanging around the studio for the past year (along with a variety of other feathers). I placed them on something I had painted, darkened the edges, and here they are.

I try to have a reason for doing everything I do when composing a photograph. So why did I choose this background for the feathers? Wouldn't black work just as well? Or what about a vibrant red?

Well, this background has been sitting out for the past week and so it was on my mind. I'm thinking (a) that the orange color in the painting is the complementary color to blue, (b) that the blue in the painting echoes the blue in the feathers, (c) that there's texture in the painting, which adds more interest than a flat background would, and that (d) my background is original and unique -- I painted it myself and so no one else can easily replicate it, that (e) black might be boring, and (f) that a vivid red might completely overpower the feathers, calling attention to itself rather than the subject. Ah, but maybe a very dark and muted red/black combination? Now that might be kind of neat . . . back to the paintbrushes!

What's my point? I have two feathers that mean something to me. I have a background I created myself. You may look at the photograph and think it's a so-so image, and that's okay. I look at it and enjoy the various levels of meaning (to me) within it. And, damn it, it's different!

In a world that's rapidly becoming saturated with photographs that look the same, whenever we can do something different -- more than simply pressing a button or following a "recipe" in Photoshop -- whenever we can do something different that entails thought and inspiration and skill with the tools we have available, then hooray for us!

We return you to your regularly scheduled program, now in progress . . . ©Carol Leigh


Anonymous said...

Wonderful colors. Thank you for sharing your thought process. You once again set my mind to thinking.
I like your program so much better then the "regularly scheduled program".
jc still in the west

Carol Leigh said...

Thank you, JC! So, you coming back up? Abby asks about you daily ... Carol Leigh

Anonymous said...

You are so cool with the photo's. And I love your write up's, C2

Carol Leigh said...

C2, thank you for commenting. Very much appreciated. -- Carol Leigh

Diane Miller said...

I hadn't checked in in a few days -- love the latest works!! I need to dig into my pile of feathers (real) and textures (virtual).

Judy said...

Carol: I always appreciate your sharing "why" you photographed the subject. I love your feather shots!

Carol Leigh said...

Diane M. and Judy T., thank you for your comments. Glad I can provide a tiny bit of inspiration now and then. Now must go look for more feathers ... Carol Leigh