Cajsa Lilliehook covers the best in virtual world screenshot art and digital painting
I have a hard time with the word "favorite". What appeals in the moment might soon be superseded by another. Sometimes my mood inclines me toward the macabre, sometimes toward the twee, and everywhere in between. That said, these are the Second Life-based pictures that stuck in my memory from 2017, drawn from the “What I Like” column on my blog, “Cajsa’s Choices” here on New World Notes, and from the hundred-plus photos I review on Flickr every day:
“Somewhere in Between” by B. Tomstone (above) is one of those caught in the moment photos I love so much. I like the sepia tone that gives it a place in time, the tonal range from the bright light on the shirt and her thighs to the dark shadows, and the geometry of her bent legs mirroring the shape of the chair’s back and seat. It’s extraordinary...and so are most of the photos on his timeline. I would love to profile this artist, but Tomstone humbly asserts “I don’t feel like a very good SL photographer.” so you will have to go over to Flickr and see for yourself. Don’t miss this extraordinary untitled photo on your visit.
“To Corruption” by Ｋｅｙ Ｍｏｎｋ exemplifies how an artistic vision can make the smallest detail important. Most people, if taking a picture of a piano, will take a picture of the piano. Perhaps they will stand someone in front of it. If they’re feeling fancy, they might put some flower on it. An artist will find a single detail and zoom in on that and reveal it even more profoundly than ten pictures of the entire piano. Folks who want to spend some time seeing one beautiful photo after another would be smart to spend a few hours perusing Ｋｅｙ Ｍｏｎｋ’s photostream. It is extraordinary.
“Water Fairies” by Meriluu (Mery M) is one of those jaw-dropping photos that folks in Second Life just manage to create somehow. I love the rich colors, the intermittent light through the trees, the way they are reflected in the water which is so much more realistic than a more perfect reflection. Everywhere you look, there is something interesting and considered in this picture, yet it does not feel overcrowded.
Many more favorites after the break, beginning with one that's not for the faint of heart:
“Girl with One Eye” by Syn Beresford is a photo I plurked and tweeted the moment I saw it because it is so extraordinary in its combination of beauty and the macabre. I love it and don’t even want to know what that says about me.
“Details 2” by Melusina Parkin is just one of the dozens of photos by her this year that I find extraordinary and compelling. She has a disciplined approach to her work, focusing on stripping away everything but the essential. Minimalism is harder than it looks because there is nothing to distract from the form and composition. She makes it look easy, but try to replicate this kind of photo and you will see how very difficult it is.
“The Crown Shall” by Huckleberry Hax is not one photo but a series of photos that he uses to illustrate a poem, all inspired by the Paper Crown Pass and a certain person who claimed a crown this year. Hax collected the photos in a book on ISSUU.
“Exi(s)t somewhere” by Nevereaux is a great example of how a simple picture can be made interesting with clever and thoughtful treatment, such as making it into a triptych. The background is the same picture in color and blurred. I love how even though it is split into three, we still have our eyes led by the leading lines of the power lines. This is just one example of an always intriguing photostream.
“All Caps | Ticky Tacky” by Whiskey Monday is one of my favorite of her pictures this year, though I love all her photos. Of course, now I am going to have that song in my head all day. It’s a good thing I like Malvina Reynolds. I haven’t featured Whiskey’s work in my column yet, mainly because she’s a friend and it’s so much easier to feature people I don’t know at all so no one thinks I am playing favorites. But that’s silly. Her work is wonderful and I love how she uses repetition, the multiplicity of things to reduce their materiality and increase their subjectivity - from object to idea. I am sure it’s no coincidence this was created on January 24th.
“Thank you very much to all” by Ｐｅａｒｌ Ｂｌｕｕｍ is a great example of how powerful a shift in perspective can be. If she shot this picture from the front, it would be a perfectly fine photo of someone sitting on a dock. If she shot from the back, perhaps it might suggest loneliness and alienation. Shooting from above though, it feel active. She may be sitting, but she’s swinging her feet and the wind is blowing her hair. She’s thinking, but it doesn’t feel sad or lonely.
“Wandering World 462” by Nekonuko Nakamori is a beautiful example of complementary colors creating a sense of balance. Everything is balanced but not symmetrical. Two chairs, one person, The little bit of blue coming through the clouds. It’s just lovely. It is also part of an extraordinary stream of photos shot on her explorations of SL that are compelling one by one, but miraculous when considered all together.
“2017.0101” by Iruki is such a perfect example of the Golden Mean and color theory at the same time. There are the primary red, yellow, and blue paired with a desaturated black and blue. The composition forms a perfect Fibonacci Spiral centered on her face. It’s just fabulous and I believe the first photo that introduced me to the wonderful work. Her photostream is just one great photo after another.
I guess it is the ultimate in self-referential self-indulgence to conclude with Kake Broek’s picture which turns my New World Notes profile of him into art, but this column is always a reflection of my personal taste and I was very happy with that column and it is really hard to choose a favorite of his work, I love so many. They challenge me and sometimes they make me laugh out loud. Perhaps I could have chosen a more artful photo such as “P'tit-Déj La Schneck” ("Pop art is a way of liking things." Andy Warhol) but I can’t help getting a big kick out of seeing a column become visual art in his hands.
That’s twelve, though not for each month. I am not nearly that organized. I have left out far more than I included and it feels so incomplete. Off the top of my head, I can think of another dozen or more. So, you can check out my favorites, though even that is incomplete because sometimes I click to fave a photo and it won’t take no matter how often I click. Aw, Flickr, you baffle me.
What are some of your favorites of 2017? I am always looking for more great photos.
Cajsa Lilliehook joined Second Life in 2007 and has been enjoying the art of SL ever since. Disliking the common practice of critiquing poor photos, she decided to highlight good ones and explain why they work in hopes of inspiring with praise instead of criticism. Follow Cajsa on Flickr, on Twitter or on her blog.