Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Macro (“Shadow of our Former Selves” Photomontage)

14 November 2016


Taken in Camera+, Mextures, Hipstamatic and Pixlr

Shadow of our Former Self.Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

“Shadow of our Former Selves” Photomontage; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Click on image to enlarge, which takes you to another page. If you decide to leave a comment, please return to this page.


As I completed my latest photomontage, I realized the greater role that my subconscious inserts in the image making. A few days later I gave the completed image the title, “Shadow of our Former Shelves;” the connection with this week’s historic campaign and election in my country suddenly was obvious.

My “subconscious” needed to create the composite photograph to reflect my inner voice’s texture and tone in the aftermath of America’s election. It’s a prime example of how the conscious can be influenced and swayed by the other layers of our brain/mind. It’s a complex and mysterious interaction.

During my walk in the beginning of the week my eye was caught by a leaf in a stage of decomposition, on the sidewalk and for the moment suspended in time. I was entranced with its aestheticism, its fanciful display in the last phase of its existence.

While the leaf still was recognizable, it was a shadow of its original self. Eventually, it would be without definition, and yet at that moment of discovery it spoke loudly about the life cycle, the autumnal season, and forces that conspire to change perception and perspective.

As I was contemplating the image’s transformation into other forms, I realized that it was a tout de force for my reactions to this week’s historic election—an election that catapults my country into a future that will carry a shadowy cloud for four years, and will undoubtedly redefine what our nation represents. I am anxiously agitated at the unknown, the possibilities of human rights and civil liberties being reduced. But also I am profoundly concerned about the health of the planet.

Clouds can exude all kinds of outcomes. There is no crystal ball that can predict America’s future. I only know that day-to-day life will be on the edge for many of us.

Still, I have the promise of nature’s offerings and her steadfast majesty. I plan to advocate more on her behalf, and through image making record her beauty and omnipotence

Tip of the Week:

“Sometimes I spend all day trying to count the leaves on a single tree… Of course I have to give up, but by then I’m half crazy with the wonder of it–the abundance of the leaves, the quietness of the branches, the hopelessness of my effort. And I am in that delicious and important place, roaring with laughter, full of earth-praise.” ~~ Mary Oliver

For something a little different I am introducing Mary Oliver (b. 1935), who is a popular American poet and essayist. Through her observant eye Oliver explores the natural world. The New York Times has called her poems “thoroughly convincing—as genuine, moving, and implausible as the first caressing breeze of spring.”

Here is a sample of her lyricism and devotion to nature:

I thought the earth remembered me,

she took me back so tenderly,

arranging her dark skirts, her pockets

full of lichens and seeds.

I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,

nothing between me and the white fire of the stars

but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths

among the branches of the perfect trees.

All night I heard the small kingdoms

breathing around me, the insects,

and the birds who do their work in the darkness.

All night I rose and fell, as if in water,

grappling with a luminous doom. By morning

I had vanished at least a dozen times

into something better.

from “Sleeping In The Forest” by Mary Oliver

© Mary Oliver

You can read more about Mary Oliver here. Recognition for her writing is wide and broad. She has, for example, won the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work is a gentle and strong reminder of Mother Nature’s power to change our own lives.

View other entries for this week’s challenge:


As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog. My photographs for the mobile photography challenge are taken with an iPhone 6.

****If you would like to buy a print of any of my photographs or have any questions, please view the Contact Information found on the masthead. Thank you.

If you’d like to join this Mobile Photography Challenge, please click here for details and history of the challenge. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming challenges:

1st Monday: Nature.

2nd Monday: Macro.

3rd Monday: Black and White.

4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Panorama, Portraiture, Photomontage, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.

This entry was posted in Digital Art, Macro Photography, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Photomontage, Poetry, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Macro (“Shadow of our Former Selves” Photomontage)

  1. Love the way you captured and processed your photo as well as your thoughts from it. The challenge is to keep creating work so that we may encourage each other in every way. So happy to hear you will continue to advocate on behalf of our natural world with your talents. I frequently return to Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Journey” for encouragement. Thank you for sharing her “Sleeping in the Forest.”

  2. Tina Schell says:

    Lovely capture Sally – expresses the beauty as well as the sadness that autumn brings. Remember the only thing constant is change. Fear and anxiety only make things worse – this too shall pass.

    • Tina, I do like your attitude. I’m having difficulty with the uncertainty. Actually, the last few days have told us much, and that adds to the unknown ahead for our country and the world. But there’s lots to comfort all of us.

  3. Aquileana says:

    “Shadow of our Former Selves”: what a title: I love it, dear Sally 😀
    Also great poem at the end… I´ll check out the link you added to Mary Oliver´s poetry-
    Wishing you a beautiful Friday and weekend ahead!!!! 🙂

  4. I love your play with layers, pattern and structure. And then the title suggest something deeper and more fundamental that just the pure forms, a universal cycle of life.

  5. thirdeyemom says:

    Sally this is so incredibly moving and symbolic. I feel like the decomposing leaf is like the decomposition of our country. We are so divided. So much darkness and destruction. You know where I stand on these issues. Your post has truly touched me. Thank you!

    • Nicole, you’ve in turn touched me. I feel as thought the spirit and soul of our country is being dismantled. WE must turn to nature and also protect her. Thanks so much.

      • thirdeyemom says:

        Yes so true. Without our planet every single thing else is gone including us! It is so grave and I still can’t believe the people who don’t believe in climate change. Did you ever watch Gore’s documentary ?

      • Nicole, I watched it at its release. I do hope that he surfaces in the limelight to be one of the continual advocates for this crucial world issue. I’m going to become more active locally too. Who are these non-believers–those linked to big business who makes profits from their products at the expense of the inhabitants of Mother Earth.

      • thirdeyemom says:

        On the good news, I hear the drilling in the arctic was banned thanks to Obama. Hopefully it won’t be reversed under the new administration. Yes, Gore’s movie is incredible. He spoke at the Social Good Summit a few years back on Climate Change and he is a powerful voice. Same goes for Joe Biden who spoke about his new cancer research initiative. He was so incredibly powerful he brought me to tears with his work. We need more people like this in the world making a difference!

      • I’m on edge about anything that has been put into law. These ———– have too much power now. No checks and balances. I’ve been signing petitions and filling out surveys for organizations that want to know “our” response to the election and what is most precious to us. You probably know that I live in Delaware, where Biden resides (and will be returning). When you live in Delaware, there are always six degrees of separation between Biden and the rest of us who live here.

  6. Sue says:

    I love the textures and patterns of leaves in decay, and you have created an almost wistful image here, Sally

  7. Lignum Draco says:

    A beautiful photomontage and a very apt title, particularly when considered in the light of recent events as you have stated. The times they are a-changing.

  8. Angeline M says:

    A wonderful post for the week that has gone by as many of us contemplate what is to happen. I have truly found solace out in nature this past week, taking many walks with my camera, and reminding myself that there is such beauty out there, and trying to concentrate on that as much as possible. I’ll leave you with Toni Morrison’s quote currently making the rounds out there that says in part “This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair….we speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal”. And I will add, we take photographs.
    Your photo speaks to this.

  9. restlessjo says:

    The poetry is wonderful, Sally. So descriptive! I like the idea of vanishing into something better. 🙂

  10. Pingback: Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Macro (“Shadow of our Former Selves” Photomontage) — Lens and Pens by Sally – alexi1872

  11. I enjoy your photography!! Keep up the good work.

  12. The leaves seem to be embracing one another….Mary Oliver Rocks My World!! Great choices of poem and image.

  13. Allan G. Smorra says:

    I like the way that you laced the texture of the leaves in and out of the shadows and the branch. A fitting image for the month of November, Sally.

  14. Love Mary Oliver’s poetry as well as your image, Sally.


  15. Your image somehow reminds me of Chinese calligraphy.

  16. pattimoed says:

    Your post resonates on many levels. It’s the time for the shadow-side of America to come to the forefront. Who knows what ugliness will be revealed. Here’s hoping it’s a healing process too. I especially like how you expressed it: “Clouds can exude all kinds of outcomes. There is no crystal ball that can predict America’s future. I only know that day-to-day life will be on the edge for many of us.”

  17. MissKymmiee says:

    Amazing post, have a beautiful week ahead❤️️

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