Thursday, December 1, 2016


Hectic weeks, and winter is finally here! I'm trying to absorb every single atom of this cold weather into my skin, as much as I can, before the arrival of the not-to-be-mentioned. Meanwhile, I was hanging on the tails of some of the last projects I was going on with, but I have to say the results are not what I've exactly expected; sort of disappointing. Thu, probably this would be a quick wrap about the latest. I didn't post anything last week since I was busy preparing and article for my other Arabic blog, so things here are a bit old stuff already that I didn't get the chance to post last week.

First of all, I wanted to redo the whole idea of essay photography (or photo story); just the first series of shots taken on the staircase. However, for some reason, things went erratic with my speedlite flashes beside having problems in positioning and managing the speedlite, while the location itself was not helping much really. The idea for redoing this was to stabilize the camera tilt and apply some of the notes after a critique from the founder and tutor (of the photo story workshop). I had to give up at the end, and rather quickly this time, because I had other plans in my head and also because of the frustration for working in this limited space! Needless to say, I had to return some of the items I've borrowed for long just for this project.

After finishing up with that project, I turned back to an old project which I've stopped temporary for the sake of the photo story project. That was about shooting transparent hearts and color them using Popsicle sticks.

Qtar 4

After successfully capturing some droplets from corn syrup with colored sticks reflected off it, I decided to work on a more meaningful idea instead of spreading droplets in a random way. Typically, for me, the object was a heart-shape; a transparent heart. I've tried hard to "draw" hearts using corn syrup itself, but that was not stable and could not be done technically. Then, tried ice (using heart-shaped molds for ice), but that way too fast to melt down. Freezing the corn syrup itself too was not good at all (it didn't freeze at all). Later, I tried mixing water with corn syrup and freeze the mix, which was a bit resistant to melting but still the mix was white and transparency was not enough. Finally, I've managed to work with gelatin and I have to admit that I made a little mistake here for freezing it after it was completely hardened, but the white layer on top was easy to break down with my finger and pushed away to get a relatively transparent heart but with some yellowish shade. This last solution was exactly what I need, since gelatin doesn't melt fast under room temperature. The problem with gelatin was its softness and it needs extra care to be extracted from the mold.

Single heart made by mixing water and corn syrup then frozen.

Instead of using one heart, I thought it is meaningful more to use two. Thus, I've completed a series of 6 shots for two hearts, each with a different color. I have to say though that some surplus on the sides of the hearts made it a bit awkward, but I didn't try to remove these additional parts in Photoshop (except for the purple hearts).

Two hearts made of gelatin. The red tones here are more flexible when suppressing the highlights reflections, unlike the water+corn syrup combination.

The purple hearts were cleaned on the left side removing some of the unnecessary parts on far left.

The final "product" was a cropped and cleaned (also darkened the background) hearts. For some reason I'm not sure of yet, it seems that the double gelatin hearts were stuck together even though each heart was a piece on its own! Anyway, all were uploaded to various stock sites, but to add some flavor to the process, I've made a collage of the 6 shots in a smaller size and uploaded to Canstockphoto website, only. Unfortunately, the status for all these images is pending for review. Things were faster on Canstockphoto. Some other stock sites, however, such as Dubistock (which is relatively new for me) did accept the series of hearts, but I didn't upload the collage there yet.

Hearts Collage

I've been following some trend for mandala art on Instagram lately and I have to say that my love for symmetry (and probably my OCD-ish tendencies) pretty much like such art and shapes. It needs serious patience I suppose; something I disastrously lack. However, I tried my luck with such patterns digitally, once by converting some planet panoramas into line art (with specific technique) and once by working with typography, or doing art by letters. There is also one idea that I still didn't try yet which is drawing shapes by hand, scan them, and then repeating them in geometrical shapes digitally.
One of the doodles
turned into a vector
Scanning sketches and turning them into vectors is something I used to do from time to time, as I surprised myself for some of the doodles I used to do almost unconsciously in boring meetings and classes. Some of these are uploaded already to Canstockphoto (the only stock site up to which I upload vectors).

The whole thing started when I was doodling in fact, and noticed how I can draw a heart by merging 2 J's, tip to tip. From that moment, I started to work digitally in Photoshop on combining letters, which later became full names combined in a complicated texture. The name "John" was first, then "Jesus." Well, I was thinking in advance here since Christmas season is coming and such vector might catch the eye and become trendy. Who knows! Finally, a whole complex design with the letter "J" alone. However, my real wish is to do an arabesque design some day, all out of geometry, just like that!
colors inversed
As for the time being, I'll try to think of more designs of that sort, with different names probably. All of the previous designs are converted to EPS, which should support vectors; it is the only format accepted by stock sites usually. Still, though, I think I'm doing something wrong here and I do need to re-check the processing of such files. I have to consider to if I should upload these vectors elsewhere, since Canstockphoto exclusive option had been removed, i.e. no special consideration or pricing for exclusive images, it seems.

I'm trying to push myself further with my camera now, trying different things other than my tendencies for panoramas, which, truth be said, I miss so much. Meanwhile, I still feel there is so much to be done with the music and songs of Sabah Fakhry (صباح فخري) and I keep having visits of thoughts and ideas by the lyrics of his songs, but the lot of them would be hard for me to do, specially those that might need a model. The only model I feel comfortable to work with, so far, is me. As for now, and finishing the experiments with gelatin, I've packed up my stuff which annoyed some people a lot for being there in the guest room spreading all over the place. Until I get another trend of thought and an idea to work, I might as well get my stuff down again... but I'll try to do it first in the small space available in my condensed room.
As days pass by, the mention of travels comes in my face wherever I go and head. People talk about it, even my horoscope talks about it, as well as tarot cards. Where to? Can I afford it really? Would I be able to manage things with Mom and the family before I go? Many things to think about before giving a concrete answer.


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