Weekly Photo Challenge: In Silhouette

“The dark-veiled silhouette; that solitary form patrolling without visible strain or vainglory, a demented dreamland of fearful potential.” Kathryn Hulme
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Weekly Photo Challenge: In Silhouette

Weekly Photo Challenge: In Silhouette – Nature, a Church and Sade

Weekly Photo Challenge: In Silhouette

Weekly Photo Challenge: In Silhouette – More nature by the Hudson River and a Church in France.

A Silhouette can be described as an “image of a person, animal, object or scene represented as a solid shape of a single color, usually black, its edges matching the outline of the subject… typically presented on a light background … or none at all.” I’ve always found them fascinating to look at even though, and I’ve shared some of these in another Silhouette post,  I rarely think of using the technique when I take pictures. I’m not sure why, but I will pay more attention. How about you? Do you look for silhouette moments?

The word has an interesting history and is taken from the last name of Étienne de Silhouette. Étienne was a Minister of Finance in France in the 18th century. Because of an economic downturn during that period, he had to impose severe taxes on the wealthy, people looked for cheap ways to do things and his name was co-opted to represent anything made quickly and cheaply. To make sense of the term, we can look to the fact that cut paper silhouettes were the first way of capturing figures in early photographic portraits and forms.

“Rocks were not simply decorative silhouettes. They were part of the earth’s bones, with an anatomy of their own, caused by some remote seismic upheaval.” Kenneth Clark

Weekly Photo Challenge: In Silhouette

Weekly Photo Challenge: In Silhouette – This collage of human and structure silhouettes is from Wikipedia. The rest are mine.

There is also evidence that silhouettes were used in Ancient Egypt and Greece to create art forms; mainly in creating portraits of the human shadow… and perhaps shadows in nature. Over the years, they continued to gain popularity in traditional portraiture, Art illustrations, early theater and Movies, graphic design, sports shooting, and photography; they remain a popular technique in photography. The term is often used in the fashion Industry to express the form and fit of a designer’s vision.

As I sifted through my photo collections to find images that might fit this challenge, I was reminded of a cameo brooch my mom had when I was little. It was a black silhouette portrait of a woman from the chest up set against a pink background. They were very popular at one time and probably served as my earliest understanding of what a silhouette looked like. Another was catching a glimpse of my shadow at dusk and, of course, cutting those paper dolls and forms in kindergarten. Do you remember your first memory of a silhouette? Or the first time you caught a glimpse of your shadow in the setting sun?

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RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon…

“You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” Robin Williams

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon "O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done..."

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon “O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done…”

Robin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) passed away at his home in Marin County, California, leaving behind three children and wife, Susan Schneider. Initially, when I heard the news, I thought it was yet another bombastic, social media hoax. I couldn’t fathom how Robin Williams, one of the busiest comedians who was full of joie de vivre, could possibly end his life. Why would he do it? To all appearances, he lived a charmed life… How could he do it? He was loved by family, friends, fans and strangers. Oh no, not him. What could make him do it? Depression – that insidious mental health condition that leaves us with intense feelings of pain and sadness. It wasn’t a hoax and I am heartbroken. Robin, like many others who’ve gone down that path, could no longer hold on…

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon "O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done..."

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon “O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done…”

My deepest condolences go out to his family and friends who, like many of us; celebrities and ordinary folk, are reeling in shock over his sudden demise. Robin was a beloved stand-up comedian, actor, father, friend, film producer, and screenwriter. He was one of the funniest, most eloquent, and zaniest comedians of his generation; he always made me think and laugh. He was a consummate performer and a fearless man who wasn’t afraid to speak openly about his personal struggles with substance abuse … and depression. Robin had a huge heart, a generous spirit and a quick wit. I so wish he could have held on. RIP Robin Williams. Thank you for sharing your gift of humor with so many!

“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.” President Obama

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon - A collage of some of his popular films

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon – A collage of some of his popular films

Even though Robin Williams won his Oscar for Good Will Hunting, my favorite roles were Mork & Mindy, Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society. He was nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Actor, and received one Academy Award for his  Best Supporting Actor role in Good Will Hunting. His other awards were two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and five Grammy Awards. He kept a busy acting schedule and had a number of projects completed and in the works when he died. His suicide brings back very painful memories for many of us and raises the question: What are we going to do as a community to battle this particular mental health condition? *If you, or someone you know, is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)*  You can also get Help via NSPL.  As a teacher, Dead Poets Society held a special place in my heart and I share the below in his honor and memory.

O Captain! my Captain! By Walt Whitman
O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
The arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

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NYR Organic: Pioneering Purity And Organic Beauty

“If you have had an idea and everyone says it’s mad, that’s probably the kind of idea to pursue…” Peter Kindersley Owner, NYR Organic

NYR Organic: Neal's Yard Remedies Top Sellers

NYR Organic: Neal’s Yard Remedies Top Sellers

Several years ago, on a trip to London to visit family and friends, a family member casually mentioned Neal’s Yard Remedies in Covent Garden as a go-to place for terrific, natural, pure beauty and wellness products. I’ve always been interested in skincare and wellness products and, since my early teen years when I was introduced to Estee Lauder’s Clinique, I have tried my share of top beauty products. Immediately, my antennae went up. “When can we go?” I asked, calculating where in my tight schedule I could fit in a visit to the store. “Maybe next time you visit us in London. That should bring you back!” She said, chuckling.

I think ethical business — making something work in a way that benefits everybody — is fairly crucial in this world and having your own business that you’re in control of and your own motivation, but being part of a joint venture, something bigger that you’re proud to be a part of, which in turn is part of something even bigger, is really exciting. Romy Fraser Founder/Former Owner NYR Organic

NYR Organic: Neal's Yard Remedies Safe Comestics

NYR Organic: Neal’s Yard Remedies Safe Comestics

Welcome to Neal’s Yard Remedies (NYR Organic)

Fast forward years later, a good friend and neighbor, Esme, reached out to me about a fantastic, award-winning, organic beauty line – NYR Organic, relatively new to the USA, and invited me to try some products and sign up as an Independent NYR Organic Consultant. She gave me small samples of the extremely popular, award-winning Wild Rose Beauty Balm, and the equally popularFrankincense Hydrating Cream. I could feel my skin responding to the gentle exfoliant of the deeply nourishing balm, and the hydrating cream gave my skin a lift and a softness that is typical of a day spa visit. I loved it. It took me a while though, to cotton on that this was the same Neal’s Yard Remedies company that I missed an opportunity to visit years back… Serendipity anyone?

I am an environmentalist on the basis of the precautionary principle – if you are not sure about something, it is better to err on the side of caution. This theory can be applied to the formulations of our skincare line or even the use of chemicals on our organic farm. Peter Kindersley

NYR Organic: Neal's Yard Remedies The Popular Frankincense Skincare Collection

NYR Organic: Neal’s Yard Remedies The Popular Frankincense Skincare Collection

Behind the Scenes of Frankincense Intense

After trying the creams, it made perfect sense to order more products for myself and my family. I eagerly signed on, paid my $99+ and received my box of $500 worth of beauty products. I was stoked because I knew, from looking at my friend with glowing, soft and smooth skin, that this was something I had to try. Once I started reading about the pure, organic ingredients listed and the effort NYR Organic makes to curate the finest organic herbs and work with farmers who benefit from the relationship, I was sold. Neal’s Yard Remedies (NYR Organic) not only sells a carefully curated line of award-winning, natural, organic, health and beauty products, but they are also dedicated to using safe, natural, and ethical approaches to reducing our ecological footprint. They are certified carbon neutral and their products work.

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