Sunday, September 16, 2018

Foco Tonal and the beauty of bad photos

Fashion Fairy (More at Digital Art Gallery above)
I love bad photos … sometimes the worse, the better. Blurry, badly composed, tilted horizon; it doesn’t matter. It’s a good thing I like them because I take enough of them.

When most people are looking for that crystal sharp picture with the subject smack dab on the rule of thirds grid, why am I fond of the rejects? Because they invite me to play. 
When a photo is really good, it’s almost a sacrilege to change it. When it’s all warty and lopsided, I can mess with it, stretch it out of shape, smush it together with another misshapen image and see what they do together.

A symbol from Foco Tonal
A few weeks ago, I journeyed to a strange place … Foco Tonal, a flat place with an echo when you stand in the exact right spot. It has been turned into something like a spiritual Disneyland complete with multicolored towers. I still haven’t figured out why my voice resonated when I stood on the special spot, but it was a lovely place to walk quietly in the gardens and meditate on the mysteries of life.

From the Elf Garden
I almost missed the elf garden, but someone pointed the way and I found a glade strewn with broken toys and candies left by visitors. This is one of the little scenes I photographed and the Barbie elf charmed me with her flowing gown and beguiling look. However, of course, this was not a “good” picture; nothing more than a casual snapshot. I was surprised when she clambered into a photo and demanded my attention.

Foco Tonal
Several hours later she had become the “Fashion Fairy.” You can only do this kind of stuff with bad photos. The good ones want to be cherished for what they are, maybe tweaked a bit or cropped a little, but no rough stuff.

Fortunately, I have a life time of bad photos to play with. 


  1. "When it’s all warty and lopsided, I can mess with it, stretch it out of shape, smush it together with another misshapen image and see what they do together". Joyce, to me this is a terrific metaphor for the reframing our life stories and for the whole ongoing creating of our stories, using experiences that may seem to be warts, using whatever experiences/materials/photos come to hand! I adore the Fashion Fairy. is she not one of the Muses you were working on? (I eagerly anticipate the post about them, want to know each of their names.)

  2. Susa ... thanks ... I think you're absolutely right about bad photos being like "bad" life events/experiences. I need to play with this idea. And as for the fashion fairy being a muse, she may not speak to me but she probably is one. I need to find her name. Thanks for seeing things I miss.

  3. Love the recreation. Love the metaphor. Re-framing is so useful!

  4. Becky ... how true about metaphors and reframing. Thanks.