Thursday, December 1, 2016

Inspired By Reading: Sabriel

A friend of ours, Andrew Thornton, started up a virtual book club a few years back called Inspired By Reading.  Like most book clubs, each month a new book is read, but instead of just talking about the book the members of the group are challenged to create something inspired by the book.  Most of the members are artists--especially jewelry designers--so this is a very visual take on the classic book club.  I've taken part sporadically, but my wife pretty much gets every month's challenge done.

This month's selection is the first in a young adult series by Australian author Garth Nix.  Sarajo got me to listen to the first book several years ago on disk and I promptly read or listened to the rest of the series as well.  The audio is read by Tim Curry (of Rocky Horror and Clue fame) in an extraordinary way!  

Though the protagonist is a teen girl and the books are marketed as young adult, these deal with dark themes and are quite complex.  The book begins with Sabriel finishing up her time at school in a world that seems a lot like WWI era Britain.  Soon she is thrust into claiming her birthright as Abhorsen--a magician of sorts tasked with keeping the dead in their place and keeping the world safe.  

I really, really like this series.  Since I work in photo rather than jewelry--I had a few ideas of things to try with my meager Photoshop powers.  The Abhorsen has a magic sword and uses a set of bells to command the undead back into their place in death.  Death is viewed as a dark river with 10 gates or falls, each one leading farther into the final resting place past the 10th gate, with occasional restless dead attempting to make their way back to the land of the living.

1) Abhorsen!  Here's my take on Sabriel's father (The Abhorsen prior to her taking over the job).  For this shot I took a few shots of myself dressed in cloak with sword and bell, followed by a few creepier shots of myself crouched over with a ghoulish mask on.  I superimposed my Abhorsen self into a swamp shot from our visit to Ligonier, PA this past summer.  I then warped and erased an underlying shot of myself as one of the restless dead into presence in the shot.  I'm still learning technique here and I'm pretty happy with most of the shot, but feel like I'm a bit too stark in the foreground.  

2) The Restless Dead:  Here's the underlying shot of myself superimposed on a solarized waterfall shot from a trip to Duluth this summer.  I elongated my jaw/teeth and fingernails and warped my body to seem unnatural as well.  I used a radial blur filter to blur out the outside edges and focus on the creepy self portrait.  Oh, and gave myself glowing red eyes of course!


Marie D'Onofrio said...

Very eerie photos! The red eyes make my skin crawl-- cool!

Andrew Thornton said...

Thanks for joining along in the fun! I love the audiobooks read by Tim Curry! No one can say "Abhorsen" quite like he can!

And your photos are super cool! I love that you used the background from your trip out to Ligonier! It makes it come full circle even more!

Your second photo has that classic vintage horror movie feel, like Nosferatu. Very cool. I always thought it might be cool to have the people who did 28 Days Later to do a movie version of Sabriel. Cue the nightmares!