Creative Prompt: The missed shot

This year I’ve been experimenting with creating creative prompts for other creative folks by taking photographs of strange or quirky things that I see when I am out and about. My general format is then to post the photo along with the story of the picture, or some thoughts that the picture provokes in me. In last week’s creative prompt I briefly mentioned the sometimes transient nature of creativity, and this weeks photo is a really good example of that.

I first saw this broken pair of sunglasses on the road a day before I took the photo. My initial response was that they weren’t that interesting to me, but then when I found myself thinking about them a bit later in the evening knew that they had caught my attention after all. When I went looking for them the next day I was relieved that they were still there, but they were not arranged as I remembered.

When I first saw them one of the lenses was still in place in it’s frame. While I like this shot with the strip of yellow running through the photo, it’s not as good as that first glimpse. Basically I missed the shot because I didn’t take advantage of the moment.

I’m sure I’m not the only creative with experiences like these, and would like to hear about other similar experiences in the comments below. What was your best (worst!) ‘missed shot’?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you want to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Creative prompt: I see you

I was walking my son to nursery earlier this week and I saw this googly eye on the pavement. At the time I didn’t stop to take a photo, but managed to snap one the next day instead. It’s not a great photo, because for some reason the camera on my phone seems to have focused on the pavement instead of the eye itself, and while I have made a few enhancements to this photo, but it doesn’t really make the image as clear as I would like.

I could try to go back and take another photo, but on this occasion I don’t think I will. The street where I saw this is kind of busy and I’m still building up my confidence when it comes to stopping in the middle of the pavement to take photos of strange things, in front of strangers. There is also the issue of whether this will even be there later. Lost things on the pavement tend not to stay where they were dropped. I think this relates to the sometime ephemeral nature of creativity. Sometimes you need to capture a thought or and idea, or a picture, in the moment, because if you try to come back to it later that moment has dissipated into the breeze.

There is something about this eye that I particularly like, the scrapes on the plastic bubble make me feel like it may have seen a few things.

What do you think they were?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you want to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Creative prompt: a sign of our times

Recently, while out and about, I have felt compelled to take pictures of masks I see discarded on the street. These have been strange times, and while I’m not quite sure why I feel the urge to do this, I am sure part of the impulse is to document this historical moment a little bit.

Most of the photos I have are of different coloured versions of what is essentially the same design of disposable masks. These are clearly not designed to last more than one wearing, and I feel kind of sad that we’ve found yet another reason to litter the streets (at least near where I live).

However, on occasion I see masks that are obviously lost, rather than discarded. Those masks are obviously built to last, and often include vibrant fabrics as a kind of protest against our often gloomy situations.

This mask, dropped in the road on a sunny day, caught my eye in particular. It looked like it may have been sewn by hand, with the intention of lasting a long time. The bright colours suggest the person who made it may have a more hopefully outlook, too.

It makes me wonder who made this mask? Who did they make it for? How did they choose this particular fabric?

Drop any ideas or flash fiction in the comments below.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you want to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Creative Prompt: left broken on the tarmac

This isn’t the best photo I’ve ever taken for one of these posts, but it was the best I could manage in the moment.

I saw this record in the middle of the tarmac on a busy main road. Not far from that spot is a set of traffic signals, and then a bridge. The cars emerge over the crest of the bridge in waves as they accelerate away from the lights. I was out with Baby Magpie in the pram, and found myself hovering right on the edge of the pavement trying to take the photo in between clumps of fast moving cars.

I was intrigued by this record. You seldom see discarded tapes or CDs these days, let alone a violet vinyl record on the floor. It left me wondering what kind of scene would have led to it being ejected from the car.

Was the record as casualty of a long running argument?

Or was there and accident in the car, resulting in the break on the records edge, resulting in it being discarded out of the window?

Maybe someone in the car simply got fed up of the songs?

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you want to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Creative Prompt: Don’t slip

When I was a kid I used to spend my weekend mornings watching the TV with my sister. On the UK terrestrial channels we used to get mornings of programming that included a range of different programmes and quiz shows, and these frequently included slapstick inspired cartoons like Tom and Jerry. We used to watch a lot of stuff, and much of it I cannot remember. But do remember moments from the cartoons, and it was not unusual for these cartoons to feature a banana skin and a crucial moment in the chase.

It’s been a long time now since I saw a chase scene in which a crucial moment depends on an unfortunate encounter with a banana skin. However I recently saw this actual banana skin on the road and felt compelled to take a photograph of it. I was very attracted to the bright warm yellow on the grey of the pavement.

Many good stories start with someone making a mistake, or slipping on a banana skin of a problem intentionally placed there for them by someone else. Perhaps this particular banana skin will be luckier for you?

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you want to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Creative prompt: Green Dragon Court

I came across this street sign when I recently went for my Covid vaccination in Central London. It is very close to borough market. In the day you can wander among the stalls smelling all the wonderful cooking smells, and buy expensive hand crafted food stuffs.

At night the market is empty, but in non covid times there area a number of local bars and the customers spill out into the space. For me though this street sign reminded me of the brilliant Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (affiliate link). If you have not read this book and you are at all interested in fantasy, I strongly suggest you give it a try.

It kind of makes me wonder if in another reality there would be a resident green dragon who holds court here.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you want to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Creative prompt mini-series: paying respect to trees #4

I quite often see trees that people have decorated with one or more objects, and they always catch my eye. For this reason this month I have been running a mini series of creative prompts about trees and the way people appear to honour them. You can see the other three posts here, here and here.

For my final prompt in this series I wanted to offer you this photo of a tree I saw on the side of one of the Cotswold Hills near where my parents live. I was out walking with my partner, and my parents were looking after my son so we were able to get into places that were a bit too hilly or muddy for the pram.

It was a really hot day, and we mostly chose to stick to the cover of the woods, but found this tree on the side of a field on a hill near a local monument. The sun was very strong that day on my skin, and so bright that it was difficult to take this picture because of the reflection in the screen of my phone. But it seems I did manage to capture this arrangement.

There has been a strong theme of of pagan or druidic traditions in the area since long before I was born. At the time of taking this photo it was not long before the summer solstice, and I imagine that these symbols do have meaning for whoever placed them there. But it is not a meaning that I understand. Perhaps someone who sees this will understand it better and be able to explain it to me.

In my own creative writing at the moment nature plays a strong part of the belief system of the shadow world I have been trying to build. I like seeing things like this, particularly when I don’t actually understand the intention of the person who made the decoration, as it sparks my imagination. I hope that this picture of symbols on a tree may spark something for you, too.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you want to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Creative prompt mini-series: paying respect to trees #3

I saw this tree in a street near where I live over a year ago. It’s not a great photo, as it came out a bit dark. Fiddling with an edit seems to cause more harm than good by bleaching out the image, but I’ve managed to enhance the range of woollen decorations hanging in the tree.

On the actual day the weather was quite gloomy and cool, and it was spring but not really near Easter or any other festival that I know of would explain these objects hanging in the tree. They really stood out to me as a bit special. Someone, or a group of someones had spent a chunk of their time hand making these decorations for a tree in the street.

This is the kind of thing that really sparks ideas off for me. Who would spend the time to do such a thing? What meaning might these objects hold? Are they left over from a festival, or just there because someone simply wanted to honour the tree?

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you want to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Creative prompt mini-series: paying respect to trees #2

I imagine that someone decorated this tree around Christmas with these sparkling snow flakes, but it was some time after the end of the holiday season when I took this photo. It was a bright crisp winter day and the snow flakes stood out more brightly than the photo does justice to here.

I have spoken before about my somewhat romantic relationship with a snow and ice. In the UK the summer has just arrived, and our final frost is long behind us. The trees are growing green and many plants are in full flower now, so perhaps it was a little odd to include this picture in this mini series, but I felt that it was an oddly good fit here. I often find that some of my better ideas come from seeing something familiar in a different context, where it suddenly sticks out as a poor fit.

The decorations on this tree seem slightly wild to me, like an offering made to the local tree nymphs, left out in the wind, sunshine and rain. They remind me of how humans have celebrated in the depths of winter with feasting and gifting long before Christmas was established as a Christian festival.

I hope that they will provide inspiration for someone, what ever the weather.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you want to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Creative prompt mini-series: paying respect to trees #1

One of the things that really catches my eye when I am our and about is where people decorate or otherwise mark local trees. I frequently find the way they do this to be interesting and mysterious, and it allows my mind to wander into spaces that are both ancient and mystical.

This tree is close to our house, and has been marked with this ring of stones for some time now. I frequently walk past it, and wonder who may have put these stones there. What do they mean to the person who placed them?

In my own work in progress (Feeding Jasmine Valentine) natural cycles, and plants and trees play quite a big part in my world building. One of the things I want to do a bit more with this blog is to share some of the things that are feeding into my ideas for that work. So over the next four weeks I’ll be sharing some photographs of trees that may spark your imagination.

I hope that this mini series will provoke new ideas for you, too.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you want to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.