By Bridget K Roberts with an introduction by Melodie Yvonne
I got so very tickled recently when I received a message from my dear friend, Bridget, inquiring if she could focus her upcoming college paper on one of my photographs. Of course, I was super honored, but also I felt extremly intrigued at the prospect. Fortunately, Bridget was gracious enough to allow me to read her finished work, and now she is allowing me to share it with all of you as well. I am going to go ahead and ruin the ending by telling you that it is a phenomenal paper that earned her a grade of 100%! I mean really, somehow I feel she should have gotten like a 200%, but I suppose I am a little bit biased. Anyway, here we go! It’s time to enjoy an in depth look at “Your Moonshines” by Bridget K Roberts… Buckle up, Buttercup, ’cause you’re in for an exciting ride! 🙂
Bridget K Roberts
Intro to Humanities
Professor Dawn Wooten
August 4, 2016
1. This photograph, by Melodie Yvonne, was taken in August of 2014 and then posted to her website Read the Music. The photo presents two mushrooms gently overlapping. The top mushroom reaches down and a fold of the cap almost seems to be reaching out to hold onto or maybe just simply touch the lower mushroom. Through the use of editing, the stark black and white brings details to the mushrooms that may otherwise not have been seen. The raised middle of both mushrooms helps to give them their own identity and show how much of the area is interdependent and related. The raised middle of the cap also allows us to see the perspective of each mushroom. While the top mushroom is slightly turned to the left, as evidence by the shadow, the lower mushroom, though overshadowed, is more straight level and almost pulling away to the right from the mushroom on top. The lower mushroom appears to be more spherical, showing its independence. The top mushroom alone is reaching out to the lower, showing their connectivity and interdependence. Edited to be displayed on a field of black we see nothing that surrounds these two objects. They could be floating in space or rooted in your backyard. The field of black allows us to focus more freely on the sensuous curved lines of the objects. It softens the picture and gives it a more timeless and romantic quality, because nothing can be said of where and what time this photo was taken. Your eyes constantly roam the soft curves as they run into and over each other. The outer lines of the mushrooms forming an impression of the infinity symbol, forever linking the two objects together. The overlapping and the shadows give the photo depth and imply more space outside the confines of the picture, even as the mushrooms are intertwined so closely together.
2. When I first saw this photograph I was immediately struck by the power in the images. The starkness of the black and white provided a direct juxtaposition to the sensuous curves that not only made up the outline of the mushrooms but were also present in the topography of the mushrooms. My mind immediately saw the shape of women’s breasts and the top of the caps could with their speckles and hue be the areola. To me it spoke of power. The black and white made the image stark, but the softness of the curved lines came through. The fact that mushrooms, which usually thrive on decay, made up an image of something known for giving life spoke to me as well. Fortunately, I was able to talk with the artist herself and she was able to direct me to a later blog post that tied the photo to a poem she had written. The photo took on the title of the poem “Your Moonshines” and the photo further.
This just goes to show that all things are about perspective. After getting the background info on the photo, it changed my entire perspective. I saw how the artist was trying to convey an unhealthy relationship bound by codependence and dominance. The lower mushroom is overshadowed by the larger mushroom on top. It will never be able to get away and is intrigued by the view the upper mushroom is able to have while longing for the same view but knowing it will never get it. The lines of the upper mushroom dip to look as though they are gently caressing the lower mushroom but that gentle caress also pushes the lower mushroom down and puts a hold on it. The lower mushroom cannot uproot and move or it will die. It is a powerful statement that represents being led around and overshadowed but being powerless to do anything about it.
3. I, personally, love this work. No matter what the subject matter says to you it is a strong thought-provoking image. The use of black and white makes the image stark and powerful. Without color you have to rely on the sensuous lines of the mushrooms themselves to soften the picture and give it that romantic feel. By closing in on the mushrooms and editing out the background to place it solely on a field of black our focus is drawn to that interconnected relationship that is unique to those mushrooms and that situation. The completely black background also lends this photo a certain timelessness. We have no idea when or where it was taken unless told by the artist. Just like relationships have been around since the dawn of time, this photo shows that it doesn’t matter when or where these relationships exist. We are left to ponder the nature of that relationship. Does the upper mushroom feel bad for the lower one? Is that a gentle caress letting the lower know that it is there and everything is OK or is the upper mushroom controlling and holding the lower down. Is the lower mushroom bowing to the right to try to escape the upper mushroom and seek the light on its own? The use of black and white also allows us to see each mushroom as the individual that it is. They both have unique caps and freckles, you can see that they are not the same but that symbiotic relationship becomes more poignant because you can see that they, though each individual, will never be apart without the death of one. I feel this picture totally captured the unique quality of codependent relationships.
4. This photo is another great example of codependence and relationships. In this photo the trees have actually grown to be intertwined. They do not have the option of moving either because the right tree has literally grown into and meshed with the tree on the left. They are now together till one dies as well. What this photo doesn’t show however is dominance over the other. In the mushroom photo the upper mushroom was clearly the dominate of the two. It alone was overshadowing the lower mushroom and reaching out to caress or hold. In this photo of the trees is the tree on the right reaching out to try to hold onto the tree on the left or is it holding it in place, not allowing it to leave? The picture doesn’t give us that information. By setting it further back there is also much more to grab our attention. The leaves in the foreground almost cover the grasping trees. By placing the photo in the light of day we see both time and place. It is obviously daylight and either spring or summer because the leaves are green. This takes away from the timelessness of dominating or codependent relationships. The bright green leaves and the light shining behind also take away from the gravity of such relationships. The trees could’ve been frozen playing a game of tag, for all we know. We also don’t see the stark individualism that we see in the mushrooms. We lose sight of where one tree ends and the other begins, the leaves could belong to either one. This doesn’t evoke poignancy at the loss of individualism but, quite possibly, the celebration of togetherness. They are one and the artist has not made it clear with the photograph what the nature of the relationship is. I feel that the “Your Moonshines” photograph did a much better job conveying the idea of the nature of dominating and codependent relationships.