Photoshop of Horrors

You don’t need to tell me. I DO know that I *may* have a small problem. It started a long time ago in the pre-Photoshop 90’s when I cut a photo of myself and placed it strategically atop a magazine cut-out of Jean-Claude Van Damme (I know, but he was hot back then) so it looked like he had his arms wrapped around me. My experimentation in splicing began a collage kick that went on for years, until I ended up immersed in the dark underworld of Photoshop in the late 90’s. Aside from using Photoshop weekly for my job, I still often indulge in the pleasures of ‘shopping as my own form of…therapy.

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It has brought out a monster in me, though. On many occasions I’ve sat at the computer for hours cackling to myself as I twisted and mangled, mutated and distorted. My husband, on numerous occasions, has said to me, “There’s something wrong with you.” While I don’t disagree I wonder if Picasso felt that same “creative rush” moving an eye or an ear out of place. These days, it causes me great joy to see sites like “Chicks with Steve Buscemi Eyes” that put me into unhealthy fits of laughter. Additionally, Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance video offers some effects of oversized eyes and extra-tiny waists similar to 2-D photo Frankensteining. I personally think it’s genius and fun to look at. After all, magazines have been ‘shopping the proverbial flaws out of women for YEARS. Well, I say leave the flaws in and THEN ADD SOME… and maybe then you’ll have my interest. There is an iPhone app called FatBooth Photos and it provides levity and laughter to countless people who wish to see themselves morbidly obese…so I’m not alone in feeling that life’s too short to look at boring stuff.

The slideshow is just a few abominations for your pleasure. Let me be clear that I do not intend to be cruel in my depictions nor do any of these images even closely resemble the people from which they originate. I do not make fun of actual people with deformities or laugh at anyone who has been maimed. I laugh at this particular creative process in the context of imagination; because I KNOW it isn’t real. (This “knowing it’s not real” stuff has allowed me to enjoy horror movies for decades.)

However, judge me as you see fit: I will continue to snap on the hypothetical plastic glove and whisper to no one in particular, “scalpel”?


Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

Jan van Eyck’s painting, The Arnolfini Wedding, (c.1434, Oil on oak, panel of 3 vertical boards, 82.2 [panel 84.5] cm × 60 [panel 62.5] cm [32.4 in × 23.6 in], National Gallery, London)  is long believed to be a portrait of Giovanni di Arrigo Arnolfini and his wife Giovanna Cenami in a Flemish bedchamber. In the center of the picture is a mirror.

The mirror reflects two figures in the doorway, one of whom is believed to be the painter himself according to most scholarly reports. It is one of the many symbolic objects in this painting that has drawn much speculation.

Something as simple as this round mirror, even today, can lend intrigue to a room. People used to think they could see ghosts in mirrors and stories like Through the Looking Glass mystified mirrors as being potential portholes into other dimensions.

If you are looking for a round mirror to bring that sense of van Eyck to your home, check out this old circular decorative mirror available at the architectural warehouse Salvage One in Chicago for $550. (view details)

This mirror doesn’t appear to be convex, but the simpler gold leaf detail around it looks like scales of a snake and that (to me) is neat.

There is also this American giltwood convex mirror with a detailed mythical lion, sea horses and serpents from Crosskeys Antiques in Baltimore, MD.

No price is listed which would make me nervous, but it is a lovely piece, though I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the electric candles and the fact that one needs to plug this mirror in (see the wire?). The gold leaf and darker bronzed black color pair well together and I dig the faux riveting.

Another similar gold leaf convex mirror is available at Mystic Sisters Antiques in Killingworth, Connecticut, but again, no price is listed on the website.

As a bargain hunter (read: cheapskate), I would recommend checking out Nextag to do some price comparisons on convex mirrors as well as eBay and Amazon.

I think the mysticism convex mirrors hold is the distortion of a reality that can be held up to one’s face. The fact that carnival funhouses offer that distortion for entertainment is interesting as well…which might lead deeper philosophical questions about the people who have these mirrors in their home. If I had more wallspace I would be one of these people.

Perhaps it is healthy to have a small circle of distortion in one’s life to keep everything else in perspective.