It has come to my attention that there is a new drug being tested in Norway that has shown great promise so far in treating ME/CFS. To my knowledge, this is the first drug that has shown persistent, repeatable improvement in patients – even going so far as to sending some patients into full remission. It seems like even the most successful cases eventually needed to have the drug re-administered, by my god, even if it were something we had to have injected a few times a year, to have anything that would help, even fractionally, let alone full remission, would be an absolute miracle.
There is a fundraiser going on to try and crowd-source funding for the next phase of drug trials. If you can at all help, please do. Even it’s a few years before the drug trickles down to actually reaching patients, just having that in our future would make such a difference. I’ll have a bit more to say about this in the next few days, but for now, please join me in giving what you can. And thank you so very much!
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I’ve noticed more and more flowers creeping into my work recently, and I’m not entirely sure why that is… or if it even matters. Some of it certainly has a great deal to do with particular DreamWorld characters you will meet in the future, but they are cropping up in non-DreamWorld images too. I could spend a long time analyzing why that is, but I’m not sure I need to. Sometimes you just have to let things grow as they will.
I gave an interview recently and stated that I never shoot an image simply for the sake of taking a pretty picture. They always have meaning to me. This last photo was the closest I have ever come to taking a photo simply for the sake of beauty, although I knew there was some underlying meaning… I just had to figure out what my subconscious was trying to tell me. Artists need to have faith in themselves and their visions; if they don’t, who will?
I’d had a vision of a girl holding an umbrella filled with flowers pouring down on her, so I set out to make such an umbrella. As usual, I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I got started. I had a good umbrella, and I had flowers left over from a few other projects, including this one. Even though I almost always manage to buy them on some kind of sale, fake flowers are one of the most expensive props I buy, so I try and mitigate the cost by using them as many times and ways as possible.
In my vision, I very, very clearly saw wisteria hanging down, perhaps because I had recently been to the garden center where I lusted after a very expensive wisteria plant. But I did not have any fake wisteria. It seems to grow quite rampantly around here, and I toyed with the idea of simply asking an owner of an overly enthusiastic plant if I could cut some off… but ugh. Talking to strangers. Talking to strangers and asking them immediately for favors. No. I couldn’t do it. Have I mentioned recently how shy and introverted I am in real life? So I buckled down and found some reasonably-priced, realistic looking fake wisteria online and ordered it.
I’d had a shoot planned already with a model who would be new to me, although I knew her a bit through other photographers she’s worked with, Katie Johnson. (Katie is amazing, by the way. A charming, fascinating person, an absolutely natural and dedicated model… I would highly recommend her to anyone.) Katie had recently approached me about shooting together sometime, which I was very keen to do! I planned a number of concepts for her, including the wisteria umbrella, we picked a day and all was set… until somehow the wisteria was delayed, and it didn’t arrive until the day after our shoot. Oops. We still had a great time at that first shoot, and since it had gone so well, we decided to plan another shoot soon after, and bring the umbrella concept to life then.
After my wisteria arrived, I set about attaching it to the umbrella. I ended up sewing some directly to either the frame of he umbrella or he fabric itself, and broke out my trusty glue gun to attach the flowers along the edge.
Note the balancing-on-the-laundry basket move. The damn umbrella was so awkward and lopsidedly heavy, poised on a curved handle, plus it kept shifting slightly as I moved around…. language was used. More than once.
Since I was working with a limited amount of flowers, I concentrated them on one side. I knew Katie’s head would be blocking part of he umbrella, so I didn’t want to waste any flowers there. And filling it out a little in post is fairly easy to do, if you need to.
The day of our reshoot came, and it was a gorgeously overcast morning, which was absolutely perfect for what I wanted. Katie was, of course, a dream and we were able to shoot several different concepts before calling it a day. But not before Katie twirled around with the flower-ful umbrella, flinging shoots of wisteria into every direction, which made both of us laugh pretty hard.
The umbrella took it all in stride, not seeming to mind being spun about.
After the whole thing was said and done, I finally realized what my subconscious was saying with these photos. They portray a girl who is carrying hope and life, symbolized by the flowers, with her wherever she goes. While the umbrella protects her physically from the sun and rain, its bigger role is to protect her soul by keeping these positive qualities with her. There’s an implied symbiosis between her and the flowers; that each of them needs each other for its life, in a way that can be read both literally and metaphorically.
And as I edited these during a week when I was feeling particularly depressed and had been advised to exercise “self care,” this seemed like a perfect visual metaphor. Keeping the gray world off my back with a layer of protection, under which heady armfulls of my own, beautiful flowers grow. Not only was it a lovely metaphor, but working on the photo was cathartic in and of itself, so it worked for me on many levels.
Finished photos and detail shots below!