Almost Living

It has been quite a strange few weeks here in central Kansas. The weather, which is never quite predictable at all, has been anything but normal. I woke this morning to about half a foot of snow on the ground and a prediction for a high of sixty (which it appears to be making good on).

Despite strange weather, heinous winds etc. etc. I’ve still managed to find a little time to get out and about and do some shooting… most of which is rather boring, as tends to be the way here in our little sleepy city. I was growing tired of limiting my shots, a “Sunset” here and an attempt at some flowers in sixty mile per hour wind there, when one evening on my way home I was greeted with something unique. Due to the strong winds, and what is likely some egg head with a cigarette, there have been multiple grass fires burning throughout the state (one large one starting in Oklahoma and blowing north). The smoke from these fires had become so thick that even though they were nowhere near me it looked as though a heavy cloud cover had rolled in to blot out the sun, and ash rained down lightly across the area. From the top of a hill on my way home I caught a glimpse through my rear view mirror that I had to stop and capture.

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The smoke and ash continued through the evening, but thankfully by morning the winds had changed and allowed the firefighters to make progress in pushing the fires back. And by Sunday (today) there’s a half foot of snow covering most of the state.

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Which brings us to yesterday, and the true purpose of the title of this post. My wife is a student, and a very good student at that. As an assignment she was asked to duplicate images (or artwork) to the best of her extent. The images she chose to duplicate where exposures taken of old animal diorama’s in a way that makes them appear… real.

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One of the Zoo’s near me (as mentioned, there are many) houses a beautiful museum inside, with dioramas from all over the world. We made our first visit to the museum a few weeks ago, where we scouted our shots and made notes (as well as taking a few preliminary idea images). Yesterday we went back with the proper equipment, and the hope of imitating another artists work who came before.

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As well as helping my wife with her images, I decided to capture my own sets of images. The exhibits, while well created, still have a haunting “almost living” feeling to them. They produce the image of life but lack the essence. The camera can capture that image freezing in and letting us forget that it is just that, an image.

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My wife and I got up to run this morning in the half foot of snow, listening to a combination of the digital coach on her phone yelling at us to “start running, now start walking” and the strange tunes of Great Big Sea singing to me about a mermaid and her sister. The snow was beautiful and heavy, the cemetery we run in was untouched and serene. This was living, this and every other day are us living. But to my camera, this too will someday mean no more as “life” than my images of a Diorama which is just almost life.

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Thank you for reading today, I’m beginning work on a couple of photo projects in my spare time as well as a few photo shoots in the coming weeks. I will keep my posts coming (apparently on Sundays) and update my site as needed.

~Wes

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