we are all children of Africa. [retroactively Explored, 10 days later; #19, July 31]
note: if you stand far away enough (or squinch your eyes, or maybe compare the photo to the thumbnail) you may notice that the body posture and PoV of this shot combine to create a visual facsimile of the African continent. (the shoe to the right is Madagascar.) in a way you have to "lose track" of the "fact" that you're seeing a person to see the land mass represented. according to Salvador Dali, this delightful "mis-seeing" where the brain takes over from the eyes and tries to interpret pattern and shape is one fundamental basis of all surrealist art.
Our Daily Challenge: Country (Cameroon!)
Me Again Monday: Face
this is a tribute photo on several levels. first, it is an attempt to reproduce a photograph by the French photographer Vincent Soyez of the Cameroonian sax player Manu Dibango for his internataionally acclaimed album, Wakafrika, from 1994. i'm a big fan of his music, but even after picking up the album, and even with all my love of surrealism, it took me months before i understood what they were doing together in their version of this image.
if that link above doesn't work, you can do it yourself by doing a "google image search" for the word "wakafrika", it comes right up.
if you're into jazz, worldbeat, or any kind of world fusion, i highly recommend Manu Dibango's work. i think i have 4 of his 20-something albums and every one of them is a delight. Wakafrika in particular has an amazing version of Peter Gabriel's song Biko sung by a choir of who's-who of African artists from the 90s.
this is also a (another) tribute to the melodysheep and his mashup, Children of Africa, from which i took the title here. in that mashup, which as always uses quotes from science programs as the lyrics, we are reminded that all human DNA is traceable to Africa, where the entire human race lived for tens of thousands of years before beginning to migrate to other parts of the world. everyone alive today can trace their common heritage back to that shared homeland.
so: a big hello out there to all my African brothers and sisters! yes, i mean YOU.
the geek behind the curtain: all layers and shots in this assemblage were taken and developed by myself.
1 shot, 3 layers. taken in my garage between 7 and 8 pm with one garage light bulb and the garage door open at the same time. the background was created by cloning a portion of the concrete floor with a soft fuzzy brush and "drawing" it everywhere (so that the random bits of human debris, laundry, yard equipment, and trash bins were eradicated).
the camera was on a tripod setup on top of a trash bin. there are two layers of me and my shoe, one layer heavily blurred and the other layer sharpened, then those 2 layers were blended together.
i purposely used an "engineering" style font for "Africa" to represent the underpinning of knowledge which the world enjoys which comes from Africa, but which is rarely acknowledged. the grungy typewriter font used elsewhere is a personal favorite, but also evokes simultaneously a kind of modern and a kind of primitive feel, which is a vibrant paradox that Africa itself seems to hold for many people (in my opinion).
to get the colors here i selectively desaturated the color red by 20 or 30 percent (because of the DIY household lighting the original photo was bit orange-red to begin with, too much so) and then ran a GIMP filter to turn the image sepia. then i came back and played with brightness/contrast and color balance until i got this nice warm feel.