October One Four Challenge – Week One

It is the start of a new month for the One Four Challenge hosted by Robyn Gosby at Captivate Me.  For October, I am focusing on a painful subject: grief.  My Mum died on 30 August, two days after her 86th birthday.  Her passing was sudden, devastating and without mercy.  I spent the next several weeks back in France with my Dad, to help support him.

So although our blog continued as if nothing had happened, with most posts for September already scheduled, extreme sorrow was what best describes the past month and I could not have faced doing anything on our website.  I am now back in Australia, but for our family, nothing will ever be the same.

October Image

A walk through the Beaumont forest, France.

A walk through the Beaumont forest, France.

A walk through a European forest is special and so different from wanders through the Australian bush.  The dappled light through the green and lush canopy gives you a sense of gentleness and tranquillity.

We took a few walks through the forest while I was with Dad.  It was soothing.  But although the original image looks peaceful, what I feel inside is an overwhelming sense of loss.

So this month my image processing will attempt to represent the feelings and emotions we have gone through and will still experience for months.  I know the waves of sorrow will become less intense; at least this is what I hope for Dad. But I also know the path to a changed life will be difficult.

Week One – Spinning… Tourbillon

Grief hits you like a cyclone.  Your world collapses and spins you out.  Light gives way to darkness, colour is gone, everything around you is either razor sharp or blurred and distorted.  You feel beaten up physically and mentally.

Here are the steps I have taken for this first week to capture those feelings:

  • In Lightroom, I totally desaturated the image, rendering devoid of any colour
  • In Photoshop, I then:
    • Created a duplicate layer
    • Added a filter, and selected ‘Distort’ and ‘Polar Coordinates’
    • Added my watermark in an arch at 60% opacity so it blends in the spin

The altered image shows a mix of sharpness and starkness in the radiating lines and blur in the spinning centre.  The shapes of the trees and path through the forest are hardly recognizable.

October Week One

October Week One

Although it is a painful exercise, this image transformation is a way of telling the world that all is not easy at sv-takeiteasy.   In a strange way, working on the image this month will also help me process what is going on inside me.

Kind comments on this week’s editing are welcome, as always.

Not all images in this photo processing challenge are as confronting and heavy as this one.  To view the creative work of other participants, click on the One Four Challenge link.

51 thoughts on “October One Four Challenge – Week One

  1. You are amazing Chris. Creativity is a great outlet for grief. We are thinking of you.
    Lisa and Warrick

    • Hi Lisa – you are right. I haven’t been able to do much since coming home, but felt right about working on this image to express where I am at. Can’t wait to see you both. 3 weeks to go!

  2. Wow that makes my head spin. The lush green of the first photo creates lovely cooling thoughts in this hot weather.

  3. How very artistic Christine, and to put the watermark in the spin worked a treat. Good to channel your feelings into your photography and express yourself through that. My condolences to you and your family xx

    • Hi Kaz – thank you for your kind words. It has been an ‘interesting’ time. I haven’t been able to do a great deal with my camera, but this project feels right and I hope will help me.

  4. I’m so, so sorry for the unexpected passing of your mother. May your grief ease over the coming days and weeks but the memories you hold remain forever – lighting your path on your darkest days.

  5. Oh Chris, how tragic. I am so sorry to hear of your loss and the pain and sadness you have been feeling. Sending you and your family love and light for sure! What an incredible representation of the spin of sorrow, I am so touched that you are taking this challenge to heart. Thank you for sharing!!

    • Hi Carrie – thank you for your kind words. Although I haven’t touched a camera for weeks, editing this image is helping me get back into what I love doing, even if it is with a heavy heart.

      • There is an ebb and flow to life, as we all know. These moments of quiet, introspective needs and grief are where our creative energy gains purpose and life. Take your time…your camera will be there when you are ready to see the world through its lens again. Beautiful edit this week and again my heart is sending you a hug.

  6. My sincere condolences to you Chris, I understand exactly how you feel, I lost my own Mum very suddenly in January, I can only say that for me photography has been an immense source of comfort and perhaps you will also find that when you’re ready. The photo is very expressive .

  7. So sorry to hear about your Mum’s passing, Chris. The love and care you showed in taking the time to be with your Dad honors both of them – as does your penetrating photo art.

  8. Sorry to hear the sad news Chris. My mother died on the same day as my daughter was born. So I had the most mixed up emotions one can ever feel. It did hit me like a freight train from which I have never really fully recovered and hearing your grief just reminds me of the sadness of those days. I hope you feel better soon.

    • Oh Phil, thanks for getting in touch. I totally relate to your freight train analogy. Even over a month later I still have a very heavy heart and am unable to focus. I think it is the sorrow of having lost mum and the pain of seeing Dad so lost. More than any other year, we are looking forward to summer and spending time in the ocean.

  9. Hi Chris

    I am so sorry to read about your mother, and we send you our commisserations at this most difficult time. I hope you are finding some solace with your family & friends, and with your sailing & photography & writing.

    We are still enjoying following yours and Wade’s and Benji’s adventures and your beautiful photos.

    Keep safe, and good luck for happy sailing over spring and summer,

    Lindy & Phil Smith (Frangipani at Careel Bay)


    • Hi Lindy and Phil
      Thank you for commenting so kindly. It us nice to hear from you. Things have been difficult as you can imagine and I am lucky I had scheduled a lot of posts in advance back in August, as writing and photography have been practically non existent for the past 6 weeks. This photo challenge is my way of getting back into a more normal life.

      No sailing either since our QLD cruise as we have left the boat up North, but we will be going back soon.

      Hope all is well for you.

    • Yes, that what happen with grief. Everything is dark and in turmoil. This month isn’t about making a pretty picture for me, but expressing feelings. Thanks for commenting Eliza.

    • Many years ago I was taking an art class while in a state of grief and anger that poured out in a self portrait. My teacher suggested that I instead go to a place where I was at peace and do the self portrait in that place instead of the present, and it was amazing how much that helped get me through that painful period.

      • May be that will be the next stage, Eliza… Thinking of a beautiful state or place that represents how I feel about my mum, instead of the pain. Thank you for your helpful thoughts.

  10. Heartfelt sorrow for you my friend. Thank you for sharing your personal journey of grief and loss. It means a lot and I do hope you’ll find some solace in art and friendship this month xxx

  11. Dear Chris…..we are so very very sorry to learn of the loss of your Mum. It will be a comfort that you have such a beautiful supportive family, and the precious memories will be a treasure in the days to come…. we send you our heartfelt sympathy Love & HUGS Jan & Mike

    • Oh thank you for saying hello Jan and Mike. Yes, tough times… I am really struggling. Our cruise with my sister seems so far away now, but you are right, they are precious times. I have been working on an Album Works photo book of our voyage – it helps drag me out of the darkness. Hoping to finish it shortly and we will put a link to it on the website.

  12. Sorry to hear of your loss, Chris. This exercise in working through your grief by expressing your feelings through art is beautiful and heart wrenching. Loss does throw you out of your normal world and puts you in a strange place that feels like you will never recover from, time seems to be the thing. No, it will never be the same again, but brighter days will come and eventually you will be able to think about the good times without crying. Sending you thoughts of brighter days.

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