a stinky fish + some artsy moments

I wanted to finally share my final project for my photography course at SCAD. Many of you have heard me chattering about my “fishy” project on campus or in facebook and twitter and finally I have my project to share with you so you all can stop wondering why in the world I was taking pictures of a stinky fish.

First, before I share the photos with you, I felt it pretty important to share with you a brief understanding of the project. The concentration of the project was Visual Rhetoric, meaning we would be expected to use imagery to help represent a specific chosen amount of text that was provided to us. We were given a few options to choose from. Because I had fallen behind from the chaotic moments of last month, I was able to see how frequently some text options were chosen so I tried to go with one that was less used but also the one that left a more emotional impact. Once we selected our text from the options we were given we were to conceptualize and create two images representing the text literally and abstractly. Here’s the provided text I used as the basis for this project:

“And when some months later she contemplated suicide, she decided to drown herself in the open sea so that the vileness of her dead body would be known only to fish, mute fish.

I spoke earlier of a Thomas Mann story: a young man suffering from a mortal illness gets on a train and descends in an unknown town. There is a wardrobe in his room, and every night a painfully beautiful naked woman steps out of it and tells him a long, sweetly sad tale, and that woman and that tale are death.

It is death sweetly bluish, like nonbeing. Because nonbeing is an infinite emptiness and empty space is blue and there is nothing more beautiful and more soothing than blue. Not at all by chance did Novalis, the poet of death, love blue and search for nothing else on his journeys. Death’s sweetness is blue in color.?”—Milan Kundera, The Book of Laugher and Forgetting

After all I’ve been through the last month or so it was easy to relate to the “emptiness” visually. I also found that with fish being a symbol of fertility that it only be fitting to come up with a concept that related to both this text, but also to me personally. Here are the two images together as a diptych.


The first image I elected to keep primarily black and white to set the mood. Yes, me standing at the train tracks – holding a stinky fish at sunrise. To most, they may not instantly see the fish, but I hope that as they do it makes them more curious to know the meaning behind the photo.


Here’s that stinky fish up close. After some color adjustments and other minor alterations to the photo I added in staples to the mouth of the fish to show how it was “mute”. Most may not get why a fish must be left to remain silent. I suppose this fish knows all about the “sad tale” noted in the text.


Yes, this all seems a bit strange, I’m sure…and its definitely far from the typical newborn photos I’m known for but hopefully you all enjoy the conceptual nature of the project.

Yes, I was up at sunrise last week taking these photos. The night before we went out, I mentioned it to Hope and she expressed an interest to come along with me. I was thrilled she had an interest. She got up at 530 in the morning with no problems at all and I have to admit I enjoy the photos of her from that morning just a tad bit more than stinky fish photos.

She insisted on walking on the train tracks.


And yes, I had to apologize to her teachers because though she got up with no problems at all – I could tell by the time I took her to school that she looked a little tired – but she had fun.


We just love Church Street. On the way to the train tracks she swore she saw her buddy Kaiden’s name etched in a brick. I told her we’d come back to check once I finished my fish photos. On the way back we did stop and search for a good five minutes and couldn’t find his name. She still swears she saw it – though something tells me she’s been missing her friends and she was definitely thinking of them that morning.


I told Hope we had to go so that we got her to school on time. She gave me a hard time because she still believed she saw Kaiden’s name.

The light an hour or so after sunrise is great. Every parent should take their kids out at sunrise to explore the world a little more. I must say that our sunrise venture out was a very memorable one and one that we’ll definitely have to do again. Next time without fish!:)


Jason’s been on 12 hours shifts the last three days so the kids and I have been trying to keep ourselves occupied. And it’s been a whole week since I’ve done a photoshoot – don’t go into shock! Well, today I decided to do some artsy projects with the kids.

While I got things ready to paint I put large paper on the floor for the kids to color. Jaylen had a blast coloring with his big sis.


I’m working on a book cover design project for my typography course and I’m planning for a lot of the design to happen off the computer in a similar style to the children’s book illustrator Eric Carle. So today Hope and I did several paint fields as part of the process so that I can redesign the cover of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom for my class. I thought I’d share a few photos of our fun moments today.

I started out by telling her what I was doing for my project and how I needed to paint.


Of course I let her paint with me today.


We painted LOTS of yellow.


Hope made sure to tell me what the colors reminded her of. We used a few different yellows and one she called macaroni yellow and another she called banana yellow. That makes a lot more sense than cadmium yellow, right?! I’d prefer to refer to color names by what Hope calls them any day. So here I am asking her what color yellow I was painting with. She claims it’s banana yellow.


I’m also about to start using a linoleum block print for part of the design process for this same project. Hope has been working on her & Jaylen’s thank you cards for their birthdays and so I let her try cutting her first linoleum block today. She was very excited to try something new and she’s been carving away at it for quite sometime this evening.


I had to show her how to cut the block, because she did get frustrated at first. I also had to make sure she knew how to hold the block safely, though I made sure to get the safety blades for her to use.


I took turns with her to help get her started. She took the camera remote and had a blast taking photos. She got a little silly.


Then she got super silly.


She was hilarious. I asked her what she was doing and she said “taking lots of pictures like you do to me”. So she acted even sillier. I guess all these silly pictures are payback for me torturing her with the camera.


Okay, I know that’s only a sneak peak – I’m sure I’ll have more to share with you all soon. Lord knows I have a ton of catching up to do. Hope you all enjoyed seeing some creative moments with myself and the kiddos!

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