You know, one of the reasons I do what I do is the “place” the photograph / digital image takes me when I’m working with it. Of course, it’s partly grounded in the day that I got the shot, or the subject matter … a cute puppy or lovely landscape or a beautiful flower. But also, as in the case of “Moonshine On The Snow” there can be far, far more memory and imagination than photographic image at play. But memory or association is only part of the mystique … what we’re really talking about is The Zone. That weird place that some of us (most of us?) go when we’re totally and completely absorbed by something. It can be a fabulous movie (Field of Dreams) … a book (anything Jane Austen) … music (Thomas Newman’s American Beauty) … or art (Willard Leroy Metcalf’s Midsummer Twilight). And I have to say, apparently watching a football game … sports stuff … does it, too. I know my husband and my son are completely in The Zone when they’re skiing down a giant, snowy mountain at 90 miles an hour. And if, when I’m taking a picture or working on a digital image, the image takes ME someplace, my hope is that it will be meaningful to someone else who views my images, as well. That special, etherial connection between myself and my visitors, is to me, what it’s all about.
So when I found myself entering The Zone several weeks ago from a totally new-to-me portal, I have to say the unexpected consequences kind of snuck up on me.
Though I’ve done my share of shopping on the internet, I have to admit to an old-fashioned preference. Is there really anything nicer than sitting down with a lovely cup of tea on a pretty day, your feet up, spring breezes softly whiffing around you, birdies singing and the catalog from your favorite lady’s wear store fresh from the mail-man? The house is quiet, well except for those birdies, and you can let your imagination roam to the parties you’d like to attend and how nice you’d feel in this outfit or that one? And oo … look at the fabulous accessories!! It’s kind of a zone-y experience, isn’t it?
I know. It’s a girl thing. I suppose men do it with catalogs from golf companies or car companies, or as in my husband and son’s cases, ski-gear companies.
Well, as I mentioned above, I had just such an afternoon recently. The day was just as I described, sunny and soft, and my favorite catalog had just arrived … Soft Surroundings. As my eyes strolled through the pages, I realized I was caught up not only by the lovely clothes (and they really are beautiful!) but by the mood and atmosphere of the whole catalog. I found myself happily drawn into the romance of the gentle scenes. They brought back images from long ago. Scenes from times spent in Florida when I was very little … Vizcaya, and Miami Beach in its heyday, St. Augustine and other locations I can’t even remember … plus more recent memories of Hawaii and Acapulco and other parts of Mexico. The tropics. All visited long before I knew which end of a camera was which. I had definitely “connected” with these images!
So I did the unthinkable. Well, for me it was the unthinkable. See, I am ALL about copyright. Have had enough of my images swiped / stolen / nicked / pinched / poached and purloined to set my hair on fire. Yep. I did the unthinkable, and … maybe … the inevitable. I took one of the images and played with it. It was so pretty. And I played a lot. And the more I played, the more I liked it.
Well, that was awkward. I really liked the image … but I didn’t take it. It wasn’t mine. So, now what? I couldn’t post it on my website for sale … I couldn’t even blog about it. Yeah, I had materially modified it, so technically … ummm … but technically simply isn’t good enough for me. Oh for heavens sakes. What had I done to myself??
I’d ignore it. That’s what I’d do, I decided. I’d … ignore it.
But … it would not BE ignored!
After a couple more days, annoyed-at-myself-me made a decision. There’s this little trick I learned a long time ago from one of my bosses and it’s become one of my personal mantras. It’s rephrased a lot of ways, but basically it’s this: “The answer’s always no until you ask.” So I decided to ask. I contacted the wonderful people at Soft Surroundings and told them what I’d done and asked if it would be at all possible if they would be okay with me maybe-sorta-kinda making use of my interpretation of the image.
Kind, dear people. Wonderful people. They actually answered me … they actually took me seriously!!! They asked to see my little version … and … they liked it … and then … they said … yes!!
So here I am for the first time presenting my version of someone else’s image … used with permission. If it happens to be meaningful to you, too … if you visited somewhere lovely and exotic and tropical once upon a time and this scene brings back happy memories for you … then … connection made … bond formed.
As always, clicking into the image takes you to my website.
Got any “zone” stories you’d like to share? What takes you out of yourself … favorite memories? Favorite movies? I’d love to hear!!!