Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cleopatra's Heart.

Lately i have been quite troubled by a few things i've discovered that relates to the heart. And it was this discovery that compelled me to have this Egyptian themed photo shoot. But i'll get onto that later in this post. 

I'm just gonna roughly spill out some stuffs i've managed to pick up along the process of this Cleopatra/ Egyptian lady self-portrait project - right from the photography to the end product.

Here are the useless secrets :

Make-up. I just slapped on a generous amount of basic make up such as concealer, foundation powder and brown brow liner onto ma face before highlighting the colors for the lids. The eye shadow colors i used were glittery bronze, ocean blue and a bit of maroon for the shadow effect along the crease line. Finished up with the classic Egyptian cat eye with a black liquid eyeliner. Never ever forget touching up on your lips and cheeks lightly with your preferred gloss and blusher. Also remember to highlight important areas such as the nose bridge, forehead and cheek bones, plus apply your bronzer below your cheek bones and the sides of your nose bridge - this gives your face more definition in pictures. I skipped the mascara (because removing it will be a PAIN), neither did i use fake lashes (enough drama already).

Hair. The bangs were clip-on a.k.a. fake bangs.

Decoration and clothing. For the head piece, i used a gold net lace/ribbon and gold chain i had lying around. The neck cuff was actually cheat made out of a headband, taped with a strip of gold ribbon. As for the blouse, it was actually long-sleeved, but what i did was to pull back the sleeves and tie it to the back. Then i used a white shawl and tie it in a way that looks like i have a new set of sleeves. Also i touched up the beaded blouse with more gold ribbon.

If you're familiar with the software called Lightroom for RAW editing, you may be familiar with the available settings in Split Toning. I just found out from youtube about how much it could transform a picture to look a little like those from fashion magazines!!

All you gotta do is tweak the 'shadow and highlight' a little by replacing the preset color grey to something else like the famous blue shadows and yellow highlights most people would opt for. Compare the two pictures above and notice how such slight changes could portray a completely different feel to the pic!

And of course, i had fun cropping and rotating pictures, saving many many copies of a same photograph which i would later filter out the not-so-nice ones. And oh, i used CS5 (for the first time!) to meddle with the shadows, highlights (actually did most of these two in Lightroom), and perfecting a bit of my skin flaws.

ALSO i played with the wind! Artificial wind from the fan! It was super difficult because i was doing all these stuffs ALONE, photographing on timer mode! D: I didn't even know if i got the timing to flip my hair right, or was the position of my fan directed at my head effective, or did the hair effect complimented my pose, and so on!!

I had no choice but to keep trying and probably the only way to minimize the number of mistakes was to keep walking to and fro to view the display screen and with much hope, be able to point out where i need adjustments on my pose or the hair or whatever. Tiring!

I guess that's all about the production part. Now its about the concept. Or rather, what was it that drove me into doing such a tedious project.

Basically the discovery that got me into doing this has something to do with Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt back in the days of Moses (should be around 1393 BCE), whose heart was hardened by the Lord as written in Exodus. And i thought this fact was traumatizing!

I mean imagine if there was someone out there that could make you really really stubborn so that you will stumble and fall and receive the worst series of events in your life which in Pharaoh's case was the 10 plagues that took away lives upon lives! And imagine having your heart hardened for not once but many times! IT JUST BOGGLES MY MIND!!!

Learning that we are actually the ones who would take control over our hearts would make this sound even more crazy, because it would mean that we ourselves are the ones who would actually allow ourselves to be stubborn. To decide to have a hard heart. To shut down to whatever goodness other people would wanna input into us. Oh goodness!!!

However, for Pharaoh's case (from which all these thoughts of mine began at) that God actually has a purpose in all things which He does, was quite comforting to know.

Exodus 14:4
"And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” And they did so. "

And to know that i've got such a great big wonderful God, is even more comforting. Because i know, if He could harden hearts, He'd be able to soften them as well - only if i allow it. (:

I guess by doing this photo shoot, it may perhaps remind me, to not be like Pharaoh, coming to a state where your heart hardens, eyes blinded, to have dull hearing and be darkened in understanding.

This should also be a reminder that if i do fall into such a situation, i should remember to turn back so that my heart may be allowed to be healed (as written in Matt 13:14-15).

Phew. It is not a dead end. Yet. 


This last pic... err... i think it looks kinda magazine-ish in terms of editing, though i am also fully aware of its imperfections which... i don't have to tell you. Hehe.


P.s. : The watermark in my pictures for this post is a bit different cause i edited them in CS5 instead of my usual editor, the Photoimpact. 


Lord Commander Calvyn said...

you probably need the Pharoah's implements to make that last pic look awesome. heehee XD

Anonymous said...

you're beautiful as Cleopatra. I believe that God can soften our hearts : )


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