25 March 2012

Claudia222 Jewell's Spirit (and How It Intimidated Me) ;)

Forgive me, but this post is probably as much about me as about claudia222 Jewell and her groundbreaking work. ;)

A ton of bloggers have written about claudia222 Jewell's remarkable spirit installation at the Art Screamer sim, which opened last month, and there are dozens of extraordinary photos on flickr (I'm particularly taken with those by my friend PJ Trenton). And yes, first of all: go and go now, because it's really fascinating, and claudia's work is experientially unique in Second Life. It's incredibly rich, texturally dense, with a perspicaciously Hieronymus Bosch-like eye toward minute detail and the larger picture at the same time. It's a tapestry so complex you don't even know where to start, and the more you zoom in on singular objects the more you realize how complex the place really is.

In a curious personal way, though, claudia's work felt confronting. I'd visited a number of times and just couldn't figure out how to take photos of the place. (I even got gently prodded by another resident and photographer, Nathaniel Pevensey, to visit spirit—thanks Nathaniel!)

I had the same experience with claudia's work at The Path. That's not to say I don't appreciate claudia's work—on the contrary, I find it amazing. But rather I simply couldn't figure out how to photograph it, how to do it justice—and for better or worse when I go somewhere nowadays I often see my surroundings through a camera lens. I tried repeatedly to capture the essence of spirit and gave up. And I'm still not sure that I'm convinced by what I'm doing, but finally I went ahead anyway.

If you know me and my work, you know that over the past year I've been experimenting with wide horizontal images. It all began with this photo of AM Radio's The Ferry last May, and really started to click with this photo taken at tram in June. I was trying to capture the sense of distance and horizon so remarkable in AM's work (most now sadly gone from the grid). For a long while I immodestly thought myself a pioneer in this form (now I see others exploring it too, which is lovely), but recently discovered that Alir Flow had been doing the same thing, with spectacular results. But even when breaking away from this format I couldn't figure out, at least not to my satisfaction, how to capture great images of spirit.

Anyway, enough self-reflective babbling from me, and pardon my self-indulgence. Head over to spirit, say hi to claudia (she's often there), and soak in the beauty of that amazing place. Oh, and leave a tip if you can!


  1. You got some AMAZING photos here, Ziki! And I hadn't known you were having (really) the same problem I did- it's such an immersive environment, it's hard to pick what one should focus on. :)
    I THINK that Spirit comes down at the end of the month- readers will want to get themselves out there soon!

  2. Love your work Ziki! You managed to captured Claudia her amazing spirit installation. Supa!
    I joined your blog. Like you I love exploring SL, take photos and blog to inform others about the amazing stuff there is in this virtual world.
    dikke kus

  3. I am not entirely sure when Spirit will go away. I think everyone has time before it disappears.

  4. Thanks very much, Nathaniel and Dido. :)

    claudia tells me that the sim will be around for another month or so—she's not quite sure of the timing but thinks it will be around until late April.

  5. I love your wide lens shots, they are breathtaking. Great composition, great lighting and your work is beautiful.

  6. Thanks, Yordie! :) They don't always work, but I enjoy finding places where they do.