Tear You Apart

When I started taking these photos, I had a concept in mind:  Brady Bunch meets Addams Family.  A bit of a quirky idea I admit, but as I was putting together an outfit to go listen to the DJ’s at Unhinged this too-cute-to-be-goth look came together and that’s the first thought that popped into my head;  I look like Wednesday Brady. It seemed a perfect opportunity to use the free Bones pose prop from Glitterati and I started taking pictures.  This was one of the few photoshoots I’ve done that didn’t involve capturing a location so I decided it was the perfect chance to experiment with lighting, specifically over exposing some of my shots.  Bones, over exposed, get it? I know, it’s a groaner.

With the pictures done and posted to Flickr I decided to wait until the next day to write the post.  As often happens I got distracted and while hanging out with a friend this song came on.  Bing!  Lightbulb moment.  The lyrics so perfectly matched the pictures I had already taken I decided to go a completely different direction with the concept.  I put the same outfit back on, got a little crazy editing the Bones pose prop, and took one more picture.  I’ve used music as inspiration in the past, but this turned out to be a pretty literal translation of the lyrics into images.

Wednesday Brady

And they talked and looked away a lot, doing the dance
Her hand brushed up against his, she left it there
Told him how she felt and then they locked in a stare

Over Exposed

I want to hold you close
Soft breath, beating heart
As I whisper in your ear

Tear You Apart

I wanna fucking tear you apart

Now don’t go reading too much into this post!  I know the images look melodramatic but I had a blast doing this.  Granted, the original concept went from silly to dark somehow, but I’m really happy how it came together.

Credits:
Skin:  “Jane Smokey Teeth” by *YS & YS* (available at Unhinged)
Necklace:  “Jawbreaker – silver/fluorite” by House of Rain (available at Unhinged)
Mesh Eyes: “Najwa Blue” by Bilo (available at Unhinged)
Lashes with Skulls:  “The Skully Lashes 1” by Pin Me Down (available at Unhinged)
Pose and Skull in 3rd picture:  “Skull 7” by Pose Monster (available at Unhinged)
Boots:  “J-Rock Heels Noir” by :{MV}: (available at Unhinged)
Check out Unhinged until Dec 15th http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Port%20Seraphine/215/171/28

Dress:  “Montgomery.Ebony”   by ColdLogic
Skeleton Prop with three poses:  “Bones” free at GLITTERATI
Hair:  “Alexis-oasis” by Truth
White background with spheres:  Sparrowtree Studios Poses Globes  (past hunt gift)

One For The Guys

Do you know what most of the men in my life have in common?  No you pervs, not that, well… maybe… but if they did I wouldn’t blog about it.

What they really have in common is a lack of interest in shopping, or at least it seems so compared to me.  Don’t get me wrong, they have great avatars and good taste, but they just don’t seem to enjoy or spend as much time shopping as much as I do.  Perhaps it’s because there seems to be so many more options for women than men, perhaps it’s the frustration of using search or marketplace, whatever it is many of my male friends end up contacting me when they need something.  Sometimes it’s because they are changing RP genres and have to put together a new wardrobe, it’s often something simple like “Pancake, I need shoes, where should I go?”, other times it’s just an urge they get out of the blue for an update to their look.  I don’t mind helping them, but other than a few staple landmarks or store names, male fashion is not something I’m that familiar with so I decided to do a bit of research. 

Research, for me, involves blogs.  I suspect some of my friends look at blogs and see a style that doesn’t necessarily match their own and think it won’t be helpful. I’m not suggesting anyone go out and put together avatars exactly like any of the ones shown on blogs, I know I don’t.  However, blogs are a great source to browse and when a certain item jumps out at you as well made or interesting it gives you a starting point to go to that store or search them on the marketplace.  Even if you aren’t into reading blogs, it’s surely easier than typing “shoes” and taking your chances.  Here are a few that stood out to me and seem to be updated fairly regularly.

The aptly named Uncomplicated Guy http://uncomplicatedguy.wordpress.com/ leans more towards the fashion blogging style I’m familiar with.  Simple poses and backgrounds photographed with the idea of showcasing the clothing.  The new items are marked as such, everything is credited and includes SLurls. I think if someone was looking for a quick idea of stores to visit this blog would deliver.

I’m pretty sure that Catharis http://www.carthalis.com/ is going to be a big hit with a certain group of my friends.  There is a great diversity here that includes skins and clothing that could easily translate into a variety of roleplay genres, plus some posts on furnishings and fun accessories. 

On a personal level, I enjoyed Irregular Guy  http://irregularguy.wordpress.com/  It looks like the blog was on a break for a while, but he seems to be back.  I love the way he can mix and match and includes accessories that really customize or personalize the looks, something I am not that good at myself .  With limited options in Second Life, it takes a bit of effort to personalize a look or make it unique and this blog shows ways that adding a few different accessories can do that.

Another option is Just Mens http://justmens.wordpress.com/. Once again, that straight forward format of picture, credits, and slurs that I think those who are shopping with purpose and aren’t generally blog readers will find useful.

I have actually been reading Chance Raynier’s blog http://chanceraynier.wordpress.com/ for a while now.  You see, I like to read and enjoy blogs that are a bit chatty.  I’m amused by the stories he tells and the bit of personal touch he adds to the posts.  Chance’s blog is more than a fashion blog, you’ll read about events, places to visit, but he does a good job of showing clothing and furnishings in SL so it’s worth peeking at for shopping ideas.

I had to chuckle at the name of Nerd Finds http://nerdfinds.blogspot.ca/ and investigated it purely for the title, but these looks and photographs were well worth the visit.  This blogger includes both the simple fashion shots and a mix of on location pictures with a variety of lighting. 

For those on a budget, and I know I always am, you can easily update your look by adding a freebie to the mix.  Don’t worry, I’m not talking about your circa 2007 biab freebies, these are group gifts, hunt items, and sales events.  I only know of two blogs dedicated to male freebies http://ffform.blogspot.ca/ and http://topsecretfinds.blogspot.ca/ but FabFree also has male bloggers http://fabfree.wordpress.com/ and it’s worth having a glance now and again to see what gem you can incorporate into your wardrobe.

Last, but most certainly not least, is The Slipsters http://slipsters.wordpress.com/

This is a new to me blog and I spent a fair bit of time going through all the back posts.  This blog isn’t just about fashion, not to me anyway, I’m enthralled with the images themselves.  In my last post I talked about photographers who have a recognizable style to their images, this definitely is one of them.  I’m guessing postprocessing is involved, as I’ve never seen SL look like this, but I don’t have the skills to figure out how it’s done.  I have this urge to contact the blogger and ask him to photograph me.  I’m so curious to see how he would see me or make me look. I’m guessing it would be vastly different than the way I see myself on screen or the way I photograph myself, but then I’d be able to pick his brain and find out how he achieved those differences.

I haven’t yet figured out a way to contact him without coming across a bit strange.  “Hi, you don’t know me, but I stalked your entire blog and was wondering if you’d take my picture then tell me your tricks?”  Probably needs a bit of polishing, but I’ll let you know how it turns out if I decide to do it.

I’m sure I’ve missed some great blogs about male fashion, but this should be a solid start for anyone on a shopping mission.  Don’t worry guys, you can still contact me if you want some company shopping, just know that I’ll be coming back to this post to research where we’re going to go.

Unhinged: My Way

When I first signed up to be an “official” blogger for the Unhinged Gatcha Festival I had no hesitation or reservations.  As a general rule I don’t commit to things in Second Life, especially not blogging, because I can never guarantee my online availability nor can I predict when the mood to write or take photos will strike me.  From roleplay to relationships, events to photography, if I’ve learned anything on this journey it’s that when I have to do something I get stressed out and in turn fuck it up.  Can I swear here?  Oh well, too late.  Unhinged was different though, not just because it was a charity event, but as I mentioned earlier this felt personal and I wanted to help.  I wanted to be a part of this and all I had to offer was this blog so I immediately signed up.

Gatcha

Unhinged opened on November 15th and I’ve spent the vast majority of my online time over the last few days hanging out there, meeting all kinds of wonderful people, playing the gatchas, admiring everyone’s creations and admittedly, having WAY too much fun dancing and listening to DJ’s.  About the only thing I hadn’t done was blog.

I contacted Ely in a bit of a panic.  I wanted to photograph everything, I wanted to write about every single DJ, hostess, and creator who made Unhinged possible.  I knew I committed to doing this, I felt it was my obligation to give everyone exposure and do their products justice but I was paralyzed by my own good intentions.   Ely has a knack for calming me down and this was no exception.  She reminded me that the event was on for a month and that there were several bloggers signed up representing a variety of styles and blog types.  She told me to take a deep breath and do it my way.

Right.  My way.  That’s exactly what I need to do.  Except… what is my way?

Dance of the Butterfly

A quick glance through my blog or Flickr stream and it’s obvious I don’t have a particular avatar look or style in Second Life.  I think that’s exaggerated if you only see me here because I purposefully create characters and looks that suit the places I’m visiting or photo sets I’m trying to do.  In my day to day Second Life I do gravitate more towards a certain style, but still, I’m not one of those residents who you can see and immediately identify or recognize.  That doesn’t really bother me, all the years as a gorean character every one of my purchasing decisions was heavily influenced on whether or not the item fit the genre or the character.  I wouldn’t buy something if it didn’t “make sense”.  I’m revelling in the freedom from that, completely changing every single item on my avatar sometimes several times a day.  It’s what I enjoy, it’s what I do, maybe that is my way?

As for a photography style?  I don’t have one.  Nope, none, zero, I don’t have a way.  I admire those who do, as I glance through my Flickr contacts I see photos and even from a thumbnail I know whose work it is.  I envy that a bit but I’m nowhere near there yet.  I’m still deliberately experimenting, stretching myself trying to learn new techniques.  Every set I think about composition, angles, lighting, depth of field and save dozens of images to my desktop to review later.  I chose the ones that feel right,  the ones that tell a story.  The ones that best match the environment and what I want to write about.  Those images rarely have any relation to previous posts or photographs but that’s ok, this whole process is about learning, and for as long as I have new things to try I won’t know what my way is.

That brings us to my blog.  I’ve invested a lot of time into this Renoobed Project over the last year, it’s so intertwined with my Second Life experience, with not only what I do but who I am.  I don’t have a lot of readers, the majority of friends never read this unless I sent them a link, and even then I think it’s polite obligatory skim read that usually results in feedback like “Nice”.  Gee, thanks guys!  I can’t really blame them, some people aren’t into reading blogs and heaven knows I ramble like it is my job.  Still, those two or three people, and you know who you are, who notice on their own that I’ve posted, who contact me to discuss what I’ve written mean more to me than I adequately express.  There is nothing more truly personal, more special, than someone taking an interest in what you do, in what’s important to you, and I treasure them for it.  Since this blog is such a big part of what I do, surely I can clearly identify my style as a blogger and the purpose of this site… right?  Well you’d think so, but apparently not.  I do try with most posts to include something to do or see in SL, but the topics range from breedables to music to fashion to photography and like this post, a heavy handed peppering of my ramblings.  It certainly isn’t a fashion blog, there is too much writing to be a photography blog, and though I hope people get ideas of places to go in SL it’s not really a travel and exploration blog either.

Powerpulse

Well isn’t this a predicament.  I have no look, no style, no voice.  How the hell am I supposed to have a way?  As I chewed on those questions I retreated into my comfort zone, inertia.  As I danced the nights away at Unhinged, trying on the various items I’d been collecting, I felt the inspiration gathering in the corner of my eye but it wasn’t quite ready yet.  The sounds of the Gothika DJ’s who came to spin combined with these Butterfly Wings from Fairlock Industries to tickle my creativity in a way that I can’t force, that I can’t do on my own, that I rely on others to feed off.

When Shane Fairlock himself appeared before me I showed him the look I was thinking of blogging but explained to him that I was missing one final piece in order to make it happen,  I didn’t know where to take the pictures.  He had a solution for that, and teleported me to his club and store.  The minute I arrived the hypnotizing effects of the ever changing colored lights and the music stream pulled the vision that had been dancing in my peripheral vision into focus and this post was born, complete with soundtrack (thank you to DJ Tracer).

So, in the end did I discover my way?  Oh I don’t know… a panic attack, identity crisis, support from friends, procrastination masked as socializing, overthinking to the point of paralysis, a collection of inspiration from creators, locations and DJ’s in Second Life that resulted in a photoshoot and verbal purge of a blog post?  Yup, I’m pretty much sure that is my way.  Patent pending.

Unhinged was supposed to kick off with one 24 hour party, but DJ’s are continuing to sign up.  You can see a list of upcoming set here.  http://unhingedsl.com/2012/11/18/new-sets-added/

The Unhinged Gatcha Festival runs until December 15th and you can see a list of Unhinged Merchants and photos of their booths is here.  http://unhingedsl.com/2012/11/17/all-merchants-booths-for-unhinged/

A special thank you to my family, the Happy Clams of Organica, for the generous donation they made to this cause.  Thank you for your support.

Credits:

Hair:  *Alice Project* Steph II – White/Violet (available at Unhinged)
Butterfly Wings: [FI] PowerPulse Butterfly Wings by Fairlock Industries (available at Unhinged)
Eye Piece:  [FI] – PowerPulse  Optik by Fairlock Industries (available at Unhinged)
Skin:  Skin Monster Silver 4 (available at Unhinged)
Makeup Tattoo:  PMD The skully lashes #8 by Pin Me Down (available at Unhinged)
Mesh Eyes:  Najwa Eye (Mist) by Bilo (available at Unhinged)
The Unhinged Gatcha Fair
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Port%20Seraphine/215/171/28

Other Items
Mesh boots, Waist Corset and Neck Corset:  VIRON M by  [ROSAL]
GynoiD Black Latex by  [NeurolaB Inc.]
All poses by Del May

Photo Location Fairlock Industries Store and Nightclub
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Sensual%20Fantasy/157/31/25

My Own Shades of Grey

I actually don’t have much to say today, imagine that. This post is primarily to show some of the photos I’m working on because I’m in love with how they turned out.

A moment of monochrome

I wish I could take credit for artistic vision, but alas this was completely accidental. I was standing 1300m in the air above a sandbox unpacking recent group gifts from Magika and Glam Affair, testing out the tub prop I picked up at Baffle’s closing sale and things just sort of came together in this monochromatic pallette that really appealed to me.

The first image was barely post processed, a bit of cropping, smoothing some hair and contrast. The rest was just achieved with lighting in SL and, as I said, the colors of the items themselves were in these grey tones.

This next one I went a bit wild with picmonkey. I suppose to some it could look morbid, but that wasn’t my intent. I thought it was serene.  It’s funny how we all see different things in images, even ones without color.

Colorless

I guess you just never know what’s happening on the platform above you in a sandbox.

Credits:

Skin:  Roza Unnamed  – Glam Affair Group Gift (Happy Birthday Aida!)
Hair:  [Blood] Faint – Magika Group Gift
Bathtub with animations:  Baffle (now closed)

Last Chance To Get Baffled

Let me start out by saying that tomorrow, November 11th, is the last day of Baffle’s 55L closing sale that includes poses, props and even prefabs.

Go now, you can read this post later.  I’ll wait.

Baffle on the Marketplace https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/14053

Baffle in Second Life  http://slurl.com/secondlife/van/53/189/22

Baffle Paper Butterflies

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. I couldn’t do half of what I do without pose makers. Sure it’s important to find the right skin, hair, clothing, location and lighting, but so often it’s the pose that tells the story. Baffle was one store that really spoke to my dreamy silly side and I’m going to miss it. I not only bought well over half the poses and props, I also bought three prefabs. Yes, yes I realize I have nowhere to put them, but one day I will and I’m going to kick myself if I don’t have them.

Baffle Symphony

I’m also taking this chance to show off my new boots. These were absolutely an impulse buy that is unlike me. I tend to hem and haw and debate a purchase, look through my inventory and see if I currently have anything that will do instead and to make sure I have multiple ways to re-use an item before I do buy it.

Not this time.

I walked into this month’s Collabor88, saw these Amargosa boots by Schadenfreude, and they came home with me. The rest of the look was built around them and lucky me, this week’s color challenge is a blue/grey called Juniper.

Juniper Baffled

Available in 5 different colors, both men’s and women’s sizes, they also have a hud so you can chose which parts to apply the pattern to and which parts to leave plain.

Credits:

Boots: Amargosa Boots by Schadenfreude (available at Collabor88)
Hair:  >TRUTH< Cyanne w/Roots – oasis NEW
Earrings:  MIEL UVA (subscribo gift)
Tunic and Belt: .:* LOULOU&CO MOJO :: Purple (available at Perfect Wardrobe)
Necklace: Rashida Necklace (part of Rashida outfit from Luas)
L.Fauna EXTRA FRECKLES [Pale]
[mock] Watermelon Lipshine [lip 2]
Al Vulo! MEsh Lashes
Eyes: [LeLutka]-Ellis-Lavender/M
Skin: *League* Isla Medium Peach Blonde
Pose and Prop 1: Paper Butterflies by Baffle
Pose and Prop 2: Symphony by Baffle
Pose 3: Whispering Winds by Baffle
Location: Baffle

Bittersweet Virginia Alone

I don’t think it’s overstating to say that Bryn Oh is my favourite SL artist.  I’m fascinated by the way in which her offline art becomes digital creations and how she uses those same SL builds to create Machinima which she then presents back to the real world.

I’ve been working on tackling my SL bucket list so this weekend I stopped in to see her creation entitled Virginia Alone.

This might be one of the most successful blurring and bridging of real world and second life art that I’ve experienced.  Like most of Bryn’s work, it’s not something you just see, it’s something you experience.

Virginia Alone

Virginia Alone is based on the true story of an 80 year old blind woman living alone in a farm house that has been taken over by her hoarding and feral cats. She spent years making hundreds of tape recordings that you can listen to by clicking on the cassette tapes when you visit the build. I admit, I couldn’t listen to them all, it’s quite difficult.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Bryn to meet Virginia, explore this house, and listen to the countless hours of tapes before creating all this.

Often it felt like I was unraveling a mystery. On one tape I heard talk about her feral cats killing and eating another cat outside her door. On one of my visits I discovered the remains of this cat which was almost like reading a history book which didn’t become real until I actually saw the evidence that it really did occur. There were some incredulous looks when I made it known that the bones would be coming home with me that day, but for me it was essential. The bones represented the harsh realities that existed in her environment, there were no dogs wearing jackets and boots nor kittens being carried around in purses like I get in the city. It was a forgotten pocket with few civilities where the inside of her house was overgrown to match the outside.  ~ Bryn Oh

You can read more about this moving story and see some of the video and recordings on Bryn Oh’s Blog.

http://brynoh.blogspot.ca/2012/06/virginia-alone.html

http://brynoh.blogspot.ca/2012/09/width640-height360-srchttpwww.html

I can’t take any credit for the photographs I took.  This is how it looks in Second Life.  This is how it feels to stand in this digital house and listen to Virginia’s real voice.  The pictures really just took themselves.

Virginia

It’s a strange experience to be in awe of a beautiful creation, to admire the quality of work, while at the same time disturbed by its content and saddened by the story.

To shake off the lingering feeling I had after this photo shoot I went to see what Luna Jubilee had as a color challenge this week.  It’s a peachy pink color called Bittersweet.  As has happened countless times with the color challenges, it’s the name of the color, the word itself, that inspires me as much as the shade or hue.

This challenge felt easy, natural, right.  All I did was change my shirt and walk upstairs to Virginia’s bedroom to bring you Bittersweet.

Bitter Sweet

Credits:

Skin:  *League* Isla Medium Peach
Lashes:  Al Vulo! Mesh Lashes
Tears:  ~Mynerva~GG-Tears
Eyes:  [LeLutka] Ellis Lavender
Hair:  >Truth< Evelyn w/Roost Oasis
Jeans: Mon Tissue Lou Lou used
Shoes: ::Duh!:: Slip on White Canvas
Shirt (sweater and blouse combo):  coldLogic cook pink
Pose: Adorkable Floored 3

Location: Bryn Oh’s Virginia Alone
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Immersiva/19/127/21