Category Archives: Mobile Photography Art

My 2015 Fortune Cards Project

Last year I spent several months learning about the Lenormand system of cartomancy. I studied the archetypal images and their meanings, 2- and 3-card combinations, 9 card readings, and the Grand Tableau which utilises all 36 Lenormand cards. I bought a couple of excellent books on the subject:

1) The Essential Lenormand: Your Guide to Precise & Practical Fortunetelling https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0738736627/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_pI7Pub1PD29CG by Rana George

2) The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1620553252/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_.J7Pub087721E by Caitlin Matthews

I also bought several Lenormand decks, self-published and licensed, modern and vintage, to study their artwork and design.

I joined a vibrant Tarot & Oracle Card Collectors Group on Facebook, and engaged in interesting conversations about various different decks. I also joined a Lenormand Cards Study Group and one on Lenormand Cartomancy. I made new friends and learnt loads. These days, when you see me logged in on Facebook, I’m more often than not hanging out with my groupies.

Last year I created 10 Lenormand card decks. These can be found for sale on eBay and Etsy under the name AlyZen Moonshadow. It was an intriguing learning curve which covered several subjects at once – Lenormand, print-on-demand, a little bit of Photoshop (using templates), and the pros and cons of being a self-published cartomancy deck seller.

This year I’m also going to research how to get my creations licensed by established publishers.

I did start creating some Oracle cards last year, and wrote about them on my blog, but then I got involved in studying the Lenormand cards and went away with the fairies in that direction.

Now I’m ready to resume my Oracle Cards Project. Only it has evolved somewhat since last year. I’ve decided that, instead of one-word texts on each image, I’m going to write a short, clear phrase. Project No.1 for 2015 will be called “The Inspiration Deck”. Not so much Fortune Telling cards, more like cards containing affirmations and positive living philosophies. Something you can perhaps draw on a daily basis to give you a morale boost, or make you pause and ponder.

While creating my Lenormand cards last year, I built up quite an archive of public domain images and clip art. I can put these to good use in my “Inspiration Deck”. I’ll also be using in-App clip art and graphics, as well as my own photography.

Here is the first card I created. Bear in mind it’s still at an experimental stage and I have not finalised every aspect of it. It might even be that these end up as posters, postcards or even t-shirts instead of just divination cards.

I hope you like it and will continue to follow me on my mad armchair adventures.

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A new creative project: Steampunk Art

This just came in the post today, yippee!

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It’s Dover’s Steampunk Sourcebook, which I bought from The Book Depository (a great online bookseller, especially if you live in far flung places, as all their items come with Free Delivery as standard). This book comes with a CD-ROM, so I can load all the images therein onto my computer, for future reference. I’m already a fan of Dover Pictura, the division of Dover that specialises in selling royalty-free images for online download.

I’ve already amassed a collection of copyright free Steampunk images from the British Library’s archives. Add this to my arsenal, and a few other images from my collection of scrapbooking papers, and I should have the makings of a Steampunk Lenormand cards deck. Or even a Steampunk Oracle cards deck. Hmmm, I might even create some t-shirt designs or canvas art using these images. How exciting!

Here are a few photos showing the contents of the book, to whet your appetite.

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Playing with Diana

Haha…bet that made you wonder who Diana is and what sort of play I meant. Wink, wink!

Since we are in polite company, I shall resist the temptation to make salacious remarks and put my double entendres away. (I’m sure there’s meant to be a comma in there somewhere, oh there you are 😄).

The “Diana” in question here is not a person but a camera. A cheap plastic camera made in Hong Kong in the 1960s, which caught the imagination of enthusiasts even after being discontinued, so much so that there has been a resurgence in its popularity and a renaissance in its production. To own an original Diana camera today is a sign of enthusiasm for photographic nostalgia (not to mention money). Luckily, because modern-day Dianas are easily available, you can get your dirty hands on a new one for less than $100.

Yes, it’s delightfully analogue! It even uses Film! It’s untouched by Apple or Android, it doesn’t know what an App is! Actually, that’s not quite true true…because, even though the Diana remains analogue, and relies on film rolls (what are those, I hear some of you ask), there are many websites and online forums devoted to Diana photography, and there are also Apps showcasing Diana cameras and other retro plastic cameras.

Personally, my introduction to mobile photography came about via Lomography, or lo-fi photography from the likes of the Diana and other plastic cameras. I remember playing with my iPhone 3 back in 2010, and discovering Apps with Lomographic filters and effects. And just like that, I was hooked. I didn’t go as far as to buy a modern Diana camera, though they were easily available online on eBay and at retro shops such as Pigeonhole in Australia. What put me off was the fact that the camera relied on actual film, which needed processing at a camera shop, and that meant trips to the shops, which meant money to be spent on processing and on film. Do you know how hard it is these days to even find analogue film? And don’t forget to factor in the cost of processing film. Also, with me being digital on the iPhone, I could see at a glance whether a photo would be retained or simply deleted from my camera roll, and I could choose which photos to develop. Not so with the Diana, where you don’t get to see what your shots look like, before they are developed.

Having said that, today’s Diana offers pinhole functionality, where you basically remove the lens and use a pinhole filter instead. The resulting image is captured onto the film. This makes for an array of interesting effects such as blurred images, colour bleeds, double exposures, haloes and strange blobs. Very retro chic indeed. Hmmm…maybe I should get a Diana after all, just for this function…or I’m sure there’s an App for that, right?

I downloaded an App the other day called aptly enough, “Diana Photo“, which is happily available both on Android and Apple iOS. The user interface is simple enough – you simply load up 2 photos from your smartphone, then choose what effects you want to use for blending them. Now, this is different from standard photo editing blend modes (screen, difference, multiply, overlay etc). You can’t tweak any of the parameters, so it really is pot luck whether a blend works or not. Here’s a screenshot of the user interface:

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Yes, it’s all in square format. Instagrammers will love this App.

Here are the different blends available on Diana Photo. There are 21 in total (sorry, they wouldn’t fit on just one screenshot):

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I was just playing with this App when it struck me that these “accidental” double exposures were beautiful in their own right, and it would be a waste not to to create a Lenormand divination card deck using this App.

And so I have. The “Diana Lenormand” by AlyZen Moonshadow is now in production as I write this. When I get the printed copy I will share the results with you all.

Meanwhile, here are some examples of the type of images the Diana Photo App produced:

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Some of my Favourite Things : Mixed Media

I find this type of art hard to classify. Here are some designations I can think of, however many of the artworks fall between the cracks and defy classification.

Mixed Media Art
Digital Mixed Media
Mixed Media Photography Art
Digital Mixed Media Photography Art
Digital Collage
Digital Mixed Media Collage
New Media
Mixed New Media

…you get my drift? Or, simply take the words Mixed Media, Digital, Art, Photography, Collage, New, and mix to match.

But wait…it gets even muddier if you throw in Altered Art, Altered Books and 3D Collage.

Anyway, here are just a few of my favourite genre-bending pieces of artwork and illustration, by various different artists. If you want further information on any artist, please look for them on my Pinterest Boards “Assemblage, Altered Art, Steampunk” and “Digital Photography Art”. See, I told you they were hard to classify ;).

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Imaginary Pursuits Part 2

Yesterday, I shared images and descriptions of several of my CD album cover mock-ups.

Here are the rest of them. In 2015 I shall be creating another series of album cover mock-ups. For fun, and because I can LOL.

image I saw these birds sitting on telephone wires early one morning, and they reminded me of musical notes on manuscript paper. Hence the title “Dawn Chorus”.

image This one was inspired by a visit to the Art Gallery on Western Australia. The poor puppet was squished into a display cube, perfect for my CD album cover.

image This was actually a giant shoe at an exhibition in Perth. I decided it was too good to pass up on.

image I seemed to like telephone/telegraph poles and lines a lot. The pole, line and tree are real, the “struck by lightning effect” is actually from a photo I took of an abstract painting.

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Enough said!

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The Griffin came from an exhibition
I decided it was too Harry Potter to pass up on, hence the title.

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The Orang Utan image came from the Taiping Zoo in Malaysia. I simply transported him digitally to the Great Eastern Highway, Perth, Western Australia.

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These socks were tied to chainlink fences outside the derelict Guildford Hotel in Guildford, to protest the Council’s blocking of the hotel owners’ efforts to repair and restore the building to its former glory, after its roof was blown off in a storm several years ago.

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The Moon image is from an App, I simply used it to illumimate and contrast with the branches of a cherry blossom tree.

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Now this one Really became a true-to-life CD album cover. It was for hubby’s electronic music, under his name ElectroCelt. I had fun creating this, using the Apps “Deco Sketch” and “Phonto”.

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Imaginary Pursuits Part 1

Sometime back in 2011-2012 I created several CD album cover mock-ups. Partly for fun and also partly in preparation for hubby ElectroCelt’s own music production…in case he was ready to release his music as an album anytime.

I had a lot of fun creating my mock-ups, and I think in 2015 it’s time, perhaps, to make up a few more mock album covers.

Anyhow, I never really got around to explaining the images behind the mock-ups. And now I will. So, without further ado, here are some of my personal favourites from my collection. (These were done on my old iPhone 4, so it will be interesting to see what I can do with my new Samsung Note 4 next year).

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I loved mushroom-hunting when I lived in Spain. These 2 common mushrooms were found near my kid’s school in Australia, the sight of them brought back happy memories. So I thought I’d immortalise them with a trippy, almost 3-D effect. The title “Underground Empire” actually relates to the fact that mushrooms and other fungi first grow as an intricate system called mycelium under the earth, and what we see above ground and eat are actually its fruit.

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I spotted this very Australian bird, the kookaburra, sitting on a telephone wire, and just couldn’t pass up on the chance to create some puns. See how many plays on words you can spot here.

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Mahogany Creek is the name of an actual place, somewhere near the township of Mundaring, along the Great Eastern Highway out of Midland near Perth, Western Australia. It was autumn when we drove through it one year, so I thought it fitting to create an autumn-themed CD album cover.

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With this one it was the huge billowy clouds that inspired me. Hubby liked the title so much he has actually named a musical track of his after it.

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I was inspired to create this after visiting an exhibition about scientist Nikola Tesla in the city.

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I had several dozen images of cemetery statues on my, which I processed using predominantly the App Snapseed’s grunge and vintage filters. This is one of them. (Yes, I am susceptible to lurking about in cemeteries LOL).

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The tree-house was from a visit to Malaysia to see my ailing grandma in 2011. The plane was from the airport. I put the two together and named it “Leaving The Nest”, which is essentially what I did back in 1992 when I left Malaysia to study in England.

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This is a composite photo of 2 images from the movie “Legion”, which I shot on screen. I liked how they appeared to fit together.

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This was a fun one to create. The rows of bins were from an outdoor festival we’d been to. I just added the gore and suggestive title.

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This big tree, seen on one of our road trips along the coast, was the inspiration. Silver Gum and Paper Bark are 2 species of Australian gumtrees.

More to come in tomorrow’s post.😄

FREEBIES! When PicsArt met Pixlr Express

I’d originally intended to use some geometrical backgrounds found in the app PicsArt, along with geometrical effects found in the app Pixlr Express, as the backdrop of a new Lenormand project. However, these backgrounds took on a life of their own and proved too distracting and so that idea had to be shelved.

Not wanting to just let the images go to waste, though, I’ve decided to share them here with you. All I’ve done is blend the PicsArt backgrounds with some colourfield backgrounds I created, or with other random images I’d created in the past. Remember, these were just building blocks for a project that got shelved.

Feel free to save them perhaps as your smartphone’s wallpaper. Enjoy!

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P/s: I’ve since created my Le Geometrical Lenormand deck, however utilising only the effects found in Pixlr Express.

Artsy Quails

Just messing around with an App called Photomania. It’s a very simple App, with set filters, no way of modifying anything, no undo or redo buttons. Handy for on-the-fly photo editing, but not for any “serious” mobile photography art. Some of the effects are quite good, I must say.

I’d taken some photos of a few of my Japanese Quail today, in preparation for them going to a new home. The lady meant to collect them let me down, so I’ve still got them in my aviary. I did get some pretty good close-ups, though, so I thought I might as well put Photomania through its paces and see what the results might look like.

Here they are:

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The Story of the Mongrel Lenormand

A girl can change her mind as many times as she likes, right? A week ago, when I wrote about my Half-Tone Lenormand and Altered Half-Tone Lenormand here, I thought I’d be happy enough with the end results of my experimentation with various Apps.

Not so, apparently. Since then, I’ve decided that the Half-Tone Lenormand is too squeaky clean for my own liking. Boring, even. So That deck will be shelved and won’t see the light of day. Vanilla is nice and has its place, but just not for me today, thanks. 

The Altered Half-Tone Lenormand, on the other hand, I thought was not grunged up or aged enough. I wanted more wear and tear. I wanted Destruction. Yes, that was more of the effect I wanted. What happened next took on a life of its own.

The official story now goes like this:

Once upon a time there was a little girl who cut out images from newspapers. She glued these clippings to paper, then added some numbers and writing. She had an old deck of playing cards, and decided it would be fun to stick them to her paper too, one card for each newspaper clipping, like a collage.

After she had done all that, the little girl put her project away in a shoebox under her bed, and went out to play. By bedtime, she had forgotten all about her artwork. Such are the minds of little girls.

So the 36 collages that the little girl had made one afternoon languished in their shoebox under her bed for almost a year. Then one day, the little girl lost her sewing thimble under her bed. When she went to retrieve it, her hands drew out the shoebox, which of course she had completely forgotten.

When she opened the box, the little girl found that Time had not been kind to her projects. The glue had come off parts of her stuck on images. (That would happen quite often if you crammed A4-sized collages into a childsized shoebox). The little girl had quite a collection of colourful Washi tape, so she decided it would be a great idea to use them to tape her newspaper clippings back onto their backing paper. Alas, while she may have been creative, she was not the neatest of tapers. Nor did she think to use her scissors to cut the tape ends tidily.

The little girl’s cousin came to visit later that afternoon, so she decided that was a great opportunity to show off her artwork. The shoebox with the 36 papers was brought outside to the back porch, where the two girls sat on the swing admiring the collages.

Then it was time for dinner. Alas, the little girl was forgetful and left the 36 collages out on the porch swing when the two girls went indoors. Soon enough, a gust of wind picked up the papers and blew them all over the yard. Some landed under the newly watered rose bushes. Some ended up in muddy puddles. A few fetched up in the drain.

As usual, by the time dinner was over, the little girl and her cousin had quite forgotten about the 36 collages now lying scattered about the backyard. That night, there was a thunderstorm.

The next morning, the little girl’s mother noticed the collages outside, and gathered them up. She was about to throw the sodden pieces of paper away, most of them were by now torn around the edges. But the little girl saw and then remembered how much pleasure she had gotten from sharing them with her cousin, and implored her mother to save them, please.

So the little girl’s mother used her hair dryer on the papers to try to dry them. But that only made them curl up round the edges. She then used her clothes iron to iron them flat again. But that left singe marks on some of the paper.

Finally, the little girl’s mother sat her down and told her that the only way to salvage her artwork would be to scan them and save them to her computer, and then have them printed out on fresh new paper. That was the only way to preserve the newspaper cuttings, Washi tape, numbers and letters and playing card inserts. The little girl agreed, and asked if her mother could then perhaps shrink the artwork to the size of playing cards, so she could play with them the next time her cousin came to visit.

And so the Mongrel Lenormand was born.

True story, that. Well, not really. Just much more interesting when told that way ;). I actually redid most of the Altered Half-Tone Lenormand deck, as I wasn’t satisfied with the placement of the numbers and text, and also some of the images didn’t quite gel with me so I changed them. By the time I’d added more grunge and torn paper effects, it had turned into a different deck altogether. Hence the name the “Mongrel Lenormand”.

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Available soon on eBay and Etsy. Copyright AlyZen Moonshadow.

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Trimaginator

Trimaginator is an App I stumbled upon recently. It’s available on both iOS and Android platforms.

Trimaginator for iOS

Trimaginator for Android

Here’s a video showing how it works:
http://vimeo.com/m/99873058

Trimaginator is the brainchild of Paul Ollivier. On the Trimaginator Facebook page, Paul says:

Make your pictures stand out from the same old thing that you typically post or share! Trimaginator allows you to unleash your creativity and turn your photos into unique and captivating works of art!

Just press one of the top right buttons for automatic point generation and tweak the result with your fingers by adding [ + ] or removing [ – ] points, or start from scratch [ x ] if you’re feeling wild!

Trimaginator also features different rendering styles that change the look of your triangles : how cool is that?

So I went and had a good old play with the App, just for fun and to see if it offered me anything new by way of creative ideas.

I had some photos of our Koi and Goldfish, that I hadn’t made any plans to use in any projects. So I figured this would be the ideal opportunity to utilise them.

Like Paul Ollivier suggested, I just pressed buttons at random and saved the results that I liked.

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What do you think? I love how well my Koi and Goldfish translate into geometric shapes. The App certainly has potential. Well, I’m off to experiment more with the + and – buttons, and the different filter effects.