Thursday, March 10, 2011


Initial testing of frames. Ultimately the comments I got were that it was too old fashioned so I scratched the idea.

Photo test as a scene--I decided to go for a straightforward portrait.


version 1

version 2

version 3


Initial testing of frames. Ultimately the comments I got were that it was too old fashioned so I scratched the idea.

Photo test as a scene--I decided to go for a straightforward portrait.


version 1

version 2

final version

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Although I have always known that the nursery rhymes have hidden meanings I somehow did not research them until now! I think these will give me a great resource for interpretation.

The roots of the story, or poem, of Jack and Jill are in France. Jack and Jill referred to are said to be King Louis XVI - Jack -who was beheaded (lost his crown) followed by his Queen Marie Antoinette - Jill - (who came tumbling after). The words and lyrics to the Jack and Jill poem were made more acceptable as a story for children by providing a happy ending! The actual beheadings occurred in during the Reign of Terror in 1793. The first publication date for the lyrics of Jack and Jill rhyme is 1795 - which ties-in with the history and origins. The Jack and Jill poem is also known as Jack and Gill - the mis-spelling of Gill is not uncommon in nursery rhymes as they are usually passed from generation to generation by word of mouth.

1) The most commonly agreed origin for the Jack be nimble rhyme is the connection to Black Jack, an English pirate who was notorious for escaping from the authorities in the late 16th century hence Jack be nimble... The words of the Jack be nimble rhyme cannot be further analysed due to the brevity of the text of the lyrics but could be associated with the old tradition and sport of 'candle leaping' which used to be practised at some English fairs.

2) The most commonly agreed origin for the Jack be nimble rhyme is the connection to Black Jack, an English pirate who was notorious for escaping from the authorities in the late 16th century hence Jack be nimble... The words of the Jack be nimble rhyme cannot be further analysed due to the brevity of the text of the lyrics but could be associated with the old tradition and sport of 'candle leaping' which used to be practised at some English fairs.

3) Lace Makers and Candle Leaping?
The tradition of candle-leaping originated from an old game of jumping over fires. This dangerous game was banned and replaced by the far less dangerous sport of Candle leaping. In Wendover there were lace-making schools ( a good excuse for using children as slave labour). Here it was traditional to dance around the lace-makers great candlestick and this led to jumping over the candlestick. Due to the cost of candles some employers only allowed the use of candles during the darkest months of the year and centred around 
Candlemas Day, known as the candle season. It is interesting to note that Jack be nimble is now being referred to as Jack b nimble - the influence of the modern day practise of texting! The first publication date for Jack be nimble is 1798.

THREE BLIND MICE (will consider doing this)
Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run,
They all ran after the farmer's wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
As three blind mice?

The origin of the words to the Three blind mice rhyme are based in English history. The 'farmer's wife' refers to the daughter of King Henry VIII, Queen Mary I. Mary was a staunch Catholic and her violent persecution of Protestants led to the nickname of 'Bloody Mary'. The reference to 'farmer's wife' in Three blind mice refers to the massive estates which she, and her husband King Philip of Spain, possessed. The 'three blind mice' were three noblemen who adhered to the Protestant faith who were convicted of plotting against the Queen - she did not have them dismembered and blinded as inferred in Three blind mice - but she did have them burnt at the stake!

Mary, Mary quite contrary,
{An allusion to Mary Tudor or Bloody Marry.}
How does your garden grow?
{Here, a garden refers to a graveyard.}
With silver bells and cockle shells,
{Instruments of torture, often used on the genitals.}
And pretty maids all in a row.
{The 'maids' were a device to behead people called the Maiden.}

Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are?
Up above the world so high , like a diamond in the sky
When the blazing sun is gone, when he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light, twinkle, twinkle all the night.
Then the traveller in the dark, thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go, if you did not twinkle so.
In the dark blue sky you keep, and often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye, 'till the sun is in the sky.
As your bright and tiny spark lights the traveller in the dark,
Though I know not what you are - twinkle, twinkle little star.

Little Miss Muffet was a small girl whose name was Patience Muffet. Her stepfather, Dr. Muffet (1553-1604) was a famous entomologist who wrote the first scientific catalogue of British Insects. Whilst eating her breakfast of curds and whey Little Miss Muffet was frightened by one of his spiders and ran away! This particular Nursery Rhyme of Little Miss Muffet reputedly dates back to the late 16th century as indicated by the birth date of Dr Muffet! Unlikely story about Patience Muffet!

Mary had a little lamb its fleece was white as snow;
And everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.
It followed her to school one day, which was against the rule;
It made the children laugh and play, to see a lamb at school.
And so the teacher turned it out, but still it lingered near,
And waited patiently about till Mary did appear.
"Why does the lamb love Mary so?" the eager children cry;
"Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know" the teacher did reply.


Humpty Dumpty was in fact believed to be a large cannon!  It was used during the English Civil War ( 1642 - 1649) in the Siege of Colchester (13 Jun 1648 - 27 Aug 1648). Colchester was strongly fortified by the Royalists and was laid to siege by the Parliamentarians (Roundheads). In 1648 the town of Colchester  was a walled town with a castle and several churches and was protected by the city wall. Standing immediately adjacent the city wall, was St Mary's Church. A huge cannon, colloquially called Humpty Dumpty, was strategically placed on the wall next to St Mary's Church. The historical events detailing the siege of Colchester are well documented - references to the cannon ( Humpty Dumpty) are as follows:
  • June 15th 1648 - St Mary's Church is fortified and a large cannon is placed on the roof which was fired by ‘One-Eyed Jack Thompson'
  • July 14th / July 15th 1648 - The Royalist fort within the walls at St Mary's church is blown to pieces and their main cannon battery  ( Humpty Dumpty) is destroyed.
  • August 28th 1648 - The Royalists lay down their arms, open the gates of Colchester and surrender to the Parliamentarians
A shot from a Parliamentary cannon succeeded in damaging the wall beneath Humpty Dumpty which caused the cannon to tumble to the ground. The Royalists, or Cavaliers, 'all the King's men' attempted to raise Humpty Dumpty on to another part of the wall. However, because the cannon , or Humpty Dumpty, was so heavy ' All the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put Humpty together again!' This had a drastic consequence for the Royalists as the strategically important town of Colchester fell to the Parliamentarians after a siege lasting eleven weeks. Earliest traceable publication 1810.

Educational reasons for the poem "Baa, baa black sheep"poem
The reason to the words and history to this song were to associate wool and wool products with the animal that produces it, not to mention the sound that a sheep would make! The first grasp of language for a child or baby is to imitate the sounds or noises that animals make -  onomatopoeia (words sound like their meaning e.g. baa baa in "Baa, baa black sheep"). In some of the earlier versions of "Baa, baa black sheep" the title is actually given as "Ba, ba black sheep" - it is difficult to spell sounds!

The History and Origins of Baa Baa Black Sheep Nursery Rhyme
The wool industry was critical to the country's economy from the Middle Ages until the nineteenth century so it is therefore not surprising that it is celebrated in the Baa Baa Black Sheep Nursery Rhyme. An historical connection for this rhyme has been suggested - a political satire said to refer to the Plantagenet King Edward I (the Master) and the the export tax imposed in Britain in 1275 in which the English Customs Statute authorised the king to collect a tax on all exports of wool in every port in the country.

But our further research indicates another possible connection of this Nursery rhyme to English history relating to King Edward II (1307-1327). The best wool in Europe was produced in England but the cloth workers from Flanders, Bruges and Lille were better skilled in the complex finishing trades such as dying and fulling (cleansing, shrinking, and thickening the cloth). King Edward II encouraged Flemmish weavers and cloth dyers to improve the quality of the final English products

The cat is believed to represent Queen Elizabeth I who was nicknamed ‘The Cat’ because of the way she played or fiddled with her cabinet members, much like a cat will play with mice. An interesting quote by Elizabeth I states, “I may not be a lion, but I am a lion’s cub, and I have a lion’s heart.” Perhaps the nickname, given behind her back, was not unknown to Elizabeth.

The little dog was reportedly Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester. Some believe Elizabeth loved Robert others feel that they were simply very close friends. It is said that Elizabeth once referred to him as her ‘lap dog.’ It is suggested that the cow and the moon are also nicknames for members of Elizabethan court intrigue.
Court intrigue was a huge part of life in the Elizabethan era much as political intrigue is part of our world today. There was very strict protocol regarding the behavior of members of court towards each other and towards the Queen and it is not surprising that nicknames would have been given to the various players.

It is said that Elizabeth’s serving lady represents the dish and the spoon was the designation of the royal taster. These two servants fell in love and secretly eloped and ran away from the court. When they were captured, Elizabeth had them thrown into the Tower of London.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


It feels like I'm stuck in Palos Verdes because of its beautiful greenery but I'm okay with that! I've been searching for more greenery, especially hills for "Jack and Jill". These are some photos that Jeramie took of the trails behind his house, which I planned to shoot at for something.

Monday, January 31, 2011


Here are edited photos from the first four photo shoots. I am posting as many versions as I am having trouble deciding on.

My first shoot was a good attempt at a first shoot. I learned many things. First off, the location I chose probably wasn't the best but it was the best I could find at the moment. I spent a lot of money on props but didn't pay attention to how some of them call attention to the present time. Overall the shoot was a little too modern looking for what I was really looking for. As for lighting, I used fill lighting and the kitchen light to get a more dramatic light. It was okay but I think not dramatic enough and so a lot of processing was needed to get a painterly effect.

Two characters, a baker & his assistant, are baking a cake for their cat Tommy. Unfortunately the assistant's cake is less than satisfactory.



My second shoot was an outside shoot which posed new problems. But the first problem really was how it came to be an outside shoot, it was because I couldn't find a tub! However I think it lead to a more interesting photo. The problem with this shoot was that I did it in the afternoon without a good amount of shade so bits and pieces of the sun leaked through and overexposed the photo sometimes. Another was that because it was light out, the fill light I used pretty much did nothing! And then the third is that I don't know whether the location was the best one. I loved that it was by a stream but the amount of leaves gives the whole photo a very busy texture.

Three characters, a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker, have crash landed their tub and don't know where they are.



This shoot I think was my most successful one so far. The location had perfect lighting and the timing (around 4:30-5:30PM) was perfect. I rented strobes that I wanted to try out for more dramatic lighting but they unfortunately did not work! Thankfully we brought backup fill light to use and because it was so much darker than my previous photoshoot, the light did a lot for the photo. There was less post work because the photo itself already looked like a painting. The one thing I was experimenting with these photos is the holes in the trees where the sky is exposed. Sometimes this bright spot can be distracting so I chose to take advantage of it and make it more a part of the photo. This was after looking back on Annie Liebovitz's photos where she did the same thing in the Snow White photo. 

Instead of concentrating on the part that most people know about, the scene I planned to shoot was the part in which Bo Peep comes upon her sheep's tails hanging from a tree.

Version 1: Saturated - Big ray

Version 1: Desaturated - Big Ray

Version 1: Desaturated - small rays

Version 1: Desaturated - no rays

Version 1: Saturated - small rays

Version 1: saturated - no rays

Version 2: saturated - combo rays

Version 2: Deaturated - big ray

Version 2: desaturated - combo rays

Version 2: desaturated - no rays

Version 2: saturated - no rays

My fourth shoot dealt with the golden hour in which the sun is setting. With no shade, this is supposedly the best time to shoot but I had a hard time with exposure. Everyone once in a while the overcast weather would come about (it rained earlier) and the lighting would be perfect. Unfortunately it never got dark enough for the fill lights to work (the strobes still refused to work). Another element of this photo that was a learning process was dealing with a young 5 year old girl who wasn't too keen on taking direction. 

This rhyme was originally based on the Bubonic Plague. Mixing this with a child's interpretion of the rhyme as a game, I imagined a scene where 3 young girls are looking at two sets of clothes representing children who have disappeared for no reason.

Version 1: desaturated

Version 1: saturated

Version 2: desaturated

Version 2: saturated

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

PHOTOSHOOT SCENARIO PREP: "Ring Around a Rosie", "Little Bo Peep", "Jack be Nimble", "Miss Muffet", "Twinkle Little Star"

With the first two photo shoots under my belt, I have learned a few things here and there that will be useful for future shoots. This weekend I have two more shoots planned (Ring Around a Rosie & Little Bo Peep). Next weekend I am planning 3 more (Jack be Nimble, Miss Muffet, & Twinkle Little Star).

For "Rub a Dub Dub" I had a hard time finding a tub and good location but because I had to improvise, I came up with a scene that was more odd and interesting (a crash landing of the 3 men who couldn't possibly have fit in the small tub I used). For future photo shoots I really want to stretch the interpretations of the nursery rhymes and make more interesting scenes. So here are some speculations that I really like for the upcoming rhymes.

Ring Around A Rosie
Because the rhyme is based on the bubonic plague (hence the version that goes "ashes, ashes, we all fall down"there will be 5 kids of varying age... one of the kids will have fallen 'dead' and the others will still be holding hands, but staring at the fallen kid in shock.

Little Bo Peep
I want to concentrate on a part of the rhyme that most people don't know about. When Bo Peep finally finds her sheep, they have come back with no tails! Then one day she stumbles upon all their tails hanging from a tree--THIS is the scene I want to photograph.

Jack Be Nimble
This rhyme is short and simple and has little to no details. I wanted to play on the character of Jack not being so nimble or quick. I want to cast Jack as an old man instead trying to jump over the candle stick but not being able to.

Miss Muffet
For this rhyme, I don't want the spider to literally be a spider. Instead I want to cast the spider as an evil man who scares Miss Muffet away.
Twinkle Little Star
For this rhyme I was trying to think of different ways of interpreting the star. I was thinking maybe it could be light on a ladder, but that seemed really goofy. Then I was thinking it'd be interesting if the star was inside. THEN I thought it'd be interesting to see the praying child OUTSIDE and the star INSIDE the house.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I took photos of Matt in the costumes that I rented. I also tried a bit of photo manipulation and discovered some things I do and don't like.

Matt in the BAKER costume, which I will use for both "Pat a Cake" and "Rub a Dub Dub". Our kitchen isn't ready for the shoot tomorrow yet, but I just wanted to see what the framing should be like. I did a bit of photoshop on his face and body, wasn't too happy with it but I'll keep trying...

Matt in the BUTCHER costume, shirt tucked in and with a tie around his waste. He is standing in the tub I'm going to use. Maybe it would be funny to have everyone stand in their own tub?

BUTCHER with untucked shirt.

Here I did a lot of photoshop work, compare it to the original above. I tried to make him look as painterly as possible. I felt that desaturation helped a lot in that aspect after I edited highlights and shadows.

I wanted the butcher to maybe be sitting in the tub with a piece of meat on his head looking sort of bewildered so Matt graciously modeled that for me.

This is the CANDLESTICK MAKER (no candle for now). This is something interesting I found out about lighting. This is a normally exposed photo, notice he is really close to the light so his face is a little blown out. Then look at the following...

Here is that same photo but UNDEREXPOSED. I feel that the dramatic lighting does a lot for the feel of the photo and helps in looking more theatrical. 

And when I DESATURATE it, it helps even more with the painterly aspect.

For our interviews, since we had to take a portrait of the person we interviewed, I decided to practice my painterly technique on the portrait I took of Andy.


I really like the results and I feel like the painterly effect works a lot better when there are large surface to be edited rather than tiny object. Unfortunately my pictures won't be that way. Maybe I should take portraits of everyone? Another thing though, even though I find that my editing can be successful, I should concentrate on a better original photo!