Daily Archives: May 9, 2017

Summer’s colours and sensual moods in Second Life

DiXmiX Gallery: Lam Erin – Colours of the Summer

Now open at DixMix Gallery are two new exhibitions which, although not in any way intentionally paired, offer studies in the two most popular forms of Second Life photography: landscapes and avatar studies. Between them, they feature the work of Lam Erin and Tintin Tuxing.

For Colours of the Summer, Lam Erin presents ten images of landscapes within Second Life, the majority of which have been tinted / enhanced with colours associated with summer – notably gold, yellow and green – but which should not be taken to be simple photographs of summer scenes. Rather, these are studied pieces, carefully processed to present a range of responses and perhaps suggest certain ideas for narratives behind them.

DiXmiX Gallery: Lam Erin – Colours of the Summer

In particular, each of the pieces is marked by a broiling, active cloudscape; a dramatic, even foreboding, cast to the skies which even in the more restful images among the ten (such as Autumn Trace and Italian Countryside) adds an edge to the picture. They serve to make us reconsider each image after we’ve first cast our eyes over them, drawing us into the narrative behind the scene presented. Sometimes this can be direct – such as the brooding sense of a rising storm in Neverfar, through to a more subtle reminder that the ship lying calmly at anchor in Bal Harbour can have a capricious mistress with the seas on which she sails.

All told, a marvellously evocative set.

DiXmiX Gallery: Tintin Tuxing – Sensual Moods

In the nine images she presents for Senusual Moods, Tintin Tuxing (Alexandrea Barbosa) takes visitors in another direction entirely: towards that of the sensuous and sensual.  Beautifully presented in monochrome (for the most part), these pictures draw us into a personal world of sensuality edged with a touch of the erotic in places.

The majority of the pieces focus on a single subject, and are both evocatively titled and posed. Six of the nine powerfully convey mood through the model’s expression alone, with one using a simple splash of colour to give draw us closer to it. These are marvellous studies which captivate the eye. Of the remaining three, I confess to finding one seemingly slightly out-of-place in that it features a couple and is posed such that a bicycle in the foreground draws and hold the attention more than the scene being played out. Perhaps intentional, it did for me break the mood evoked by the rest of the pieces. In difference to it, The Lonely Cello drew me the other way; the only one of the pieces fully  – if mutedly – in colour, it is a captivating study.

DiXmiX Gallery: Tintin Tuxing – Sensual Moods

Both Colours of The Summer and Sensual Moods are Small exhibitions in turns of the number of images displayed, but each is an engrossing display. My only grumble, which is towards the gallery, not the artists, is once again, no liner notes / biographical information is provided on the artists – or a means for them to offer their own information / thoughts on the works they are presenting.  Such notes may not be vital to an appreciation of the art on display, but can help present a clearer picture of the artists, and – as I’ve mentioned before – are hardly difficult to produce / have produced for presentation to interested visitors to the gallery.

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A return to The Mill in Second Life

The Mill, Pale Moonlight; Inara Pey, May 2017, on Flickr The Mill, Pale Moonlight – click any image for full size

Just as in the physical world, there are certain places in Second Life we’re drawn back to again and again. This might be because the place has special significance, or because it is held by friends or offers a opportunities or photography or simple enjoyment, or because it is like the seasons – constantly changing and renewing.

For me, The Mill encompasses all of the things, and so is a natural choice for semi-regular revisits. Designed by friends Max (Maxie Daviau) and Shakespeare (SkinnyNilla), it is an ever-evolving place, always marvellously landscaped and presented, beautifully photogenic and delightfully restful.

The Mill, Pale Moonlight; Inara Pey, May 2017, on Flickr The Mill, Pale Moonlight

Celebrating spring and summer, this version of The Mill takes us to what might be the Apennine Mountains – perhaps, going on the style of buildings here, the Tuscan–Emilian Apennines. Surrounded by tall, rugged peaks, the rocky dome of a hill (or if you prefer, an island) rises from the waters of (again, depending on your point of view) either a lake within the mountains, or the confluences of rivers running through them.

The majority of this island hill is given over to a farm where grapes and sunflowers are being cultivated. The farmhouse sits at the top of the hill, surrounded by woodland trees, wild grass and the nearest field of sunflowers. It is reached by a meandering track that slowly winds its way up the hill, passing further rows of regimented sunflowers and flat-topped outcrops of rock, content in taking its time to reach the farm, its wandering course encouraging visitors to do the same.

The Mill, Pale Moonlight; Inara Pey, May 2017, on Flickr The Mill, Pale Moonlight

Few of the rocky tables pushing their way clear of the hill’s slope and grass are bare, Instead, each offers a point of interest – a folly, an artist’s studio, a swing beneath an aged, bent tree exerting a tenacious grip on the rock under it. Thus, each becomes a destination in its own right, filled with detail, enticing people to tarry, rather than hurrying onwards.

The track, which runs alongside the landing point, offers a fork which leads around the east shoulder of the hill to a steep slope falling away to the waters below. Here tall beech trees watch over a parade of vines already heavy with ripening grapes while a small summer-house sits close by, atop another outcrop and offering views both inland and out over the water.  On the north side of the land, the grassy slopes roll gently down towards the water’s edge, pointing to a café sitting atop a square promontory. Bracketing this and forming the shoreline, is a sandy beach to one side, and a grassy, gravelled bank on the other, connected to the track above by a terraced board walk.

The Mill, Pale Moonlight; Inara Pey, May 2017, on Flickr The Mill, Pale Moonlight

One of the things that repeatedly attracts me to The Mill is the way the landscapes designed by Shakespeare and Max are always beautifully natural. In this design, the blending of grassy slopes, woodland copses, the mix of gentle slopes and rocky outcrops and the way in which the natural contours of the hill are used for buildings and tracks, etc., is a perfect reflection of how such a place would appear in the physical world. Fenced grazing for horses is provided in a natural step in the hill, sheep wander the slopes as they wish; everything is as nature (and human needs) would intend.

There is also an attention to detail here that is exquisite, be it the inclusion of livestock and wildlife, or little touches such as the shaded beehives, the sprinkler feeding the sunflowers and all the little signs of habitation that bring the farm to life, and the little knick-knacks to be found inside the studio, folly and so on. All of this further brings The Mill wonderfully to life.

The Mill, Pale Moonlight; Inara Pey, May 2017, on Flickr The Mill, Pale Moonlight

With plenty of opportunities to simply sit and admire the landscape and enjoy the accompanying sound scape, or to wander through the long grass and between the trunks of beech, oak, pine and birch, The Mill continues to offer something for every lover of nature and much to please the eye and lens of any photographer.

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  • The Mill (Pale Moonlight, rated Moderate)