This photo was actually a reshoot of one I had done earlier in the year. I had to reshoot it, not only because I had learned a bit more about in world photography and how to make the plants not look so pixellated, but because to print it out for exhibition I needed a MUCH higher resolution that what I was originally saving at.
[WARNING: TECHO spiel incoming. Feel free to look away while I get this out…]
For those of your wondering, to print for exhibition at the size I wanted (I printed in A2 or roughly 33.cm x 59.4cm), my photos needed to be at least 120ppi which using the inworld photography tools translates as a minimum of 5028 x 1024. This seemed to be the magic size for me. Any higher, and my firestorm viewer simply crashed out. Any lower, and I couldn’t seem to get the resolution I needed.
Something else I learned doing this, was that if I wanted to save my photos to archive them, I needed to save a copy as a tiff file to avoid degradation when constantly opening and working with them. The file formats I was working with, png and jpeg, were not going to hold up over the long term. For a start, jpeg compresses a file when you save it, which is great when you want small file sizes, not so great when you need to keep all the detail in the photo you are using. PNG is a web friendly format, is easier to post online and doesn’t compress the photo but it can’t contain layers only a flat image. It saves as smaller file sizes than tiff, but larger than jpegs. Tiff has more metadata and doesn’t corrupt as easily and therefore is better for archiving. Tiff can save layers you are working with and is a lossless way of saving your work. So if you are opening, working on and saving your photos, it keeps the quality clean, however you pay for this with larger file sizes. That at least is my understanding on these file types. Feel free to comment below if you know differently!
[OK… Techo spiel over! You can look back now!!]
So, the idea for this photo actually came from a quote by Strawberry Singh in an article (1) I read where she was talking about the Avatars against Trump (2) movement. It made me start thinking of the idea of our sanctuaries and what they are. A sanctuary is a place of refuge. It brings up images of comfort and peace given amongst chaos and battle. I considered places I consider sanctuary in my everyday life…my home, national parks, a deep bath filled with bubbles. But none of these things really felt like they conveyed that conflict
For me, my mind is both my sanctuary and my battlefield. I think it is the same for a lot of people. It is the place I retreat to when the world is a bit much and I need to escape from people for a little while. It is the place where I can dream and build realities and sit in peace for a little while. But it is also, at times, traitorous and torturous. At times like this, it becomes my battlefield, the place where I need to fight my hardest in order to find my footing and stability. And that is the symbolic representation of what I am portraying with this photo in particular. I wanted to portray that idea of that sanctuary being a battlefield, but also the strength and persistence and courage it takes to keep fighting.
I chose such an urban background that looks like it is war torn. The urban setting is quite familiar, but when shown in this post apocalyptic way, makes you feel a little uncomfortable and unsettled. Clothing is ripped and torn and the body is dirty as if the battle is not new. Indeed, this is not a new battle for me. I can’t remember what windlight this was exactly. I will have to write that down next time so I can reference that for future photos too.
This photo was also to be the start of the Super Hero/Super Villain series that was beginning to form in my mind. So on the one hand, it had this grounding in the idea of sanctuaries and battlefields on a conceptual sense…and on the other hand it became the start of a longer narrative about this character that keeps coming up in my art over the years, “She”. More of her story will be revealed in blog posts to come…
So… yeah… WOW it can be hard to actually talk about what these photos are actually about sometimes…I didn’t expect it to be when I first started because I am usually quite loquacious about everything else, but now I find myself doing it, I find myself struggling out of my comfort zone where I would just silently put it all up and let people think what they may. And that makes me ramble just like this so now I am going to end this post here and finish up with the credits!
Head: [GA.EG] Barbara
Hair: [DUE] Crystal
Eyes: Izzie’s Winter Eyes (brown)
Body: Maitreya Lara
Body Applier: Izzie’s Face & Body Dirt
Pose: ::Poseidon:: Paladin 2
Shield: [The Forge] Havok Shield, Brown from The Junkers Arsenal gacha
Gun: ::Poseidon:: P-226FR Twin Pistols F3
Top: DRD -Wasteland Torn Tank Red
Pants: DRD -Wasteland Torn Leggings Red
Shoes: Flite – Phyrric Boots – Eggplant
(1) Cajsa Lilliehook, 2017, ‘Nevertheless…’, Eclipse Magazine, February 12, 2017, https://issuu.com/eclipsemagazinesl/docs/eclipse_magazine_february_2017
(2) Avatars Against Trump https://www.flickr.com/groups/avatarsagainsttrump/