Behind the Art – Vanilla Plastic

I feel like I should start this off by saying, “DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!” I am telling this story in jest, but do not overlook the harmful effects of every element of this story. We were very lucky that nothing terrible happened. Now you may continue on…

My original idea that spawned Vanilla Plastic was really a far cry away from what the photo ended up being, so I’m not ashamed to say I might one day go back and visit the initial idea. A lot of my inspiration, particularly for some of my darker material, actually comes to me through dreams or their more bloodcurdling horrible opposite, night terrors. I will most likely discuss night terrors at a later time, but for now just know that you don’t want any of that. If you would like a little more info, though, Wikipedia is always good, and you can start here with the most popular definition

I’ve had many different types of nightmares over the years, ranging from horror movie induced to just down right where the heck did that come from stuff. I’d say this ranked somewhere in between, but had the added bothersome aspect of a little sleep paralysis mixed with out of body flying. I just remember flying through the air. I didn’t know exactly where I was going, but I knew it was terribly unsettling. I had been in the grip of a particularly troublesome stretch of the terrors when this one took place. I had just moved to Indianapolis and had previously been renting a trailer off of an aunt of mine. I would say that the inspiration for the weirdness that unraveled had a bit to do with time period and settings in this case, but who is to ever know. I flew south from Indy. Flew back to the trailer, but it was sad there. Sadness and fear hung in the air like lead balloons, and that’s when I heard it… the violins. I flew through the front door, and sitting in the dining chair sawing feverishly on the antique violin was a faceless girl. It was a faceless girl losing her soul and trying to weave a net with the notes on the wind to catch it before it was gone forever. I don’t know, maybe I was that soul, or maybe I’ve just watched too many movies like Jacob’s Ladder and The Wall. Either way I wanted to make the photo. I wanted to recreate that haunting facelessness just like many other artists had created before me.

I started to make phone calls to gather stuff like the violin and any other thing I might need. I started looking around for the best material or makeup to make someone appear faceless. In the end, however, I used none of it. In the end, not a prop was used other than some good old fashioned tequila.

One of my most special and wonderful sisters, Micahla, always comes to play with me when she comes to town.  We decided to have a drink and, just as lifetime friends often do, reminisced and shared shots over the loss of old times and old friends. Then, of course, we got distracted. I don’t exactly remembered how it happened, whether Micahla had to throw something away, or whether I might have decided the trash needed changed at that exact moment, but she discovered my fetish for vanilla. I love vanilla candles, vanilla oil, vanilla pudding… vanilla trash bags. At the moment that Micahla discovered that vanilla scented trash bag there was no stopping her. Looking back on it I’m not sure if I actually tried to stop her, but such is alcohol. Kids don’t try this at home!!! Micahla wanted to get a closer smell at that vanilla scented heaven, and so she thought the best way was to engulf her head with it and inhale through her mouth, and I in my drunken stupor did what I do best… I grabbed my camera. I took like a whole roll of film, 36 photos that I developed and with eager eyes opened the envelope to find a stunning amount of nothing. NONE of the photos came out. That’s when I remembered I had taken one more. I had borrowed Micahla’s I phone and took a shot with it. I quickly called her to see if she had kept it, and, bless her heart, she had. She promptly sent me the photo and I sent it immediately to my computer. I played in Photoshop, of course, and eventually settled on the filter that you see the photo adorned with today. So there you have it… Vanilla Plastic is beautiful, albeit through somewhat questionable means, but beautiful to me just the same.

I hope you enjoyed the rest of the story!

Categories: Interesting Tidbits, Melodie Yvonne, News and Stuff, StorytimeTags: , , , , , , , ,

Melodie Yvonne

Melodie Yvonne Ramey, owner, editor, & contributor at Photographic Melodie, grew up in the small southern Indiana town of North Vernon. She picked up her first camera at the young age of 5, and was immediately hooked. Every trip, even just to the local park, was turned into a fantasy scene of her own imagination that would later be turned into epic tales in word and photos.

Melodie spent her teen years learning from and mentoring under professionals such as Richard Young, John Sheckler, and The Grand Conundrum. She received an Associates of Applied Science in Visual Technologies majoring in Photography from Ivy Tech in 2002 after studying under acclaimed professors such as Hoosier photographer Darryl Jones, Jonathan Wilson, and many other masters in the field.

Melodie’s main focus has always been music photography. Growing up with photography and listening to amazing musicians inspired her dream to create visual images that made people feel the way they do when they hear the music. She wanted to help people SEE the music by capturing every magical moment of concerts that she could only dream about as she gazed into music magazines like Rolling Stone and Spin.

Melodie has done numerous jobs around the country ranging from working for bands to even being the official photographer on many southern Indiana Poker Runs. Her specialties are in nature, music, and candid event photography, as well as one of a kind photographic creations. Melodie published her first print book Photographic Memories: In the Beginning, a collection of poetry, in 2011, and has since published 2 more print works, Photographic Memories: Meet me in the Middle and Hoosier Heavens, her first photo book. Melodie currently acts as publisher, editor & lead contributor at Photographic Melodie and does freelance work with many other media outlets, venues, and artists.

Melodie says, “I started out with a Tweety bird camera and a dream and I never let go. I will always love photography and the vessel it has given me to share the images of my heart and mind with the world. I have found that every single person on this earth visualizes the world in very different ways. Some people are optimists, some are pessimists. Some people are daydreamers, and others keep their feet firmly planted on the ground. Photography allows me to show some of these different visualizations. It allows the rationalist to see that it’s okay to dream, it can show the monsters hidden in the dark, and it can show even the saddest of people that there is still joy in the world.”

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