While I truly love and appreciate a beautiful tree, it is always the dead/burnt/broken ones that gets me the most excited to take a photograph. They hold so much story and magic in them. When I came across this dead, burnt tree while exploring one of my favourite spots a few months ago, this image immediately formed in my mind about containing emotions...
Like most of my images in my portfolio, this image is very autobiographical. I have always been accused of being "too emotional" and pushed by others to "contain" my emotions. Containing my emotions is something I have always struggled with, and mostly failed at, my whole life. What many often do not realize is that my emotions are also where I draw my power and creativity from. So I wanted to create a character that was holding back emotion, but mostly "failing" at this as the light leaked through. But it was also important that despite being suppressed by the outside world to contain her emotions, that the character not be seen as meek and mild. I wanted her to be strong and bold - drawing her strength from nature, as if almost joined/bonded to it. I used various symbols like colour, light and the tree branches to achieve these thoughts.
I got such a strong sense of this tree "structure" being a natural stronghold or cage. This lead to the idea of it being a containment field surrounding the character and offering her extra protection to help her contain her emotions, but also help protect her from those that take advantage or suppress those emotions. In much the same way as being in nature helps to contain/restore my emotions.
Before and after... As per usual, if you have any questions (about my process, the editing, or anything really), then please send me a message and I will assist.
The tree that inspired this story and was used to put this composite together...
When I photographed this tree, I thought it would be easy peasy to edit into my composite. What was I thinking?! This edit took way longer I had intended! While it was certainly a rather tedious editing process at time, it was also very therapeutic to get lost in all the little details of putting it together.
This was perhaps a strange image to choose to work on during this strange time of lockdown. Especially with the choice of image title. And although the concept and title were formed long before the Corona Virus pandemic, it could perhaps now be viewed to hold other stories or interpretations. I have found this to be true for a number of my images as I look at my work and the world differently now.
I sometimes create work or variations to the work in my portfolio to use in other projects. In this case I made the two variations below. While I am not officially including them in my portfolio as the original image is the story I connect with, I thought I would also share these with you anyway...