how my fables work

ritual sacrifice, from hell to heaven - a fable in 42 fotos

From: Kelly February 25, 2004 N. Ireland

Per A Level art exam topic, "ritual": Your fable of the ritual sacrifice in 42 steps was quite interesting. I have tried to work out what way you have approached this, and why you feel each of the images connects hell, to heaven. I would like to know if there is a certain point you are making by using similar images for both the beginning of the collage and the end. What was your inspiration, and why have you used these images?

fair enough.

i start with a normal photo of the steps to my basement and a normal photo of the front stairway leading down to the street entrance. the steps-leading-down-to-the-dark-basement is a logical hell symbol - but the Gnostics say this earth is the real hell - and entering the everyday world with the wrong mindset creates hellish conditions, so the street entrance to this world is the entrance to another kind of hell (altho they're all of the same kind in that we each create our own hell). the "hide out" photo promotes the negative tone of the start.

the second line is flags = patriotism, war, nationalism - definitely hellish. being from northern ireland you might see my point on the damage governments can do. the sign with the man getting hit in the stomach... the false broken idols of money/power greedy religions... the unhappy stressed woman (a scene from the marvelous movie "Harvey")... the "screw" sign... man getting hit by lightning... etc - all these are negative, earthbound, fleshbound, money & power oriented. the turning point is the dead mouse. one must die to the old way to truly walk a new path. the 'exit exit' photo is exiting the old existence, the chinese character hints of eastern zen, the stack of books for learning a better path - all lead to the 3 columns of water which is satori, the moment of passage. all the images after that are positive, beautiful, calm.

in the final line, i invert my stairs-to-street photo so now it goes up to a place i cannot physically walk to, and i invert the steps-down-to-basement photo so now you can no longer walk down them to hell. and the 'hide out' is replaced by a "cool place".

to me these fables (all 3 of them) represent journeys from darkness to light, ugly to beauty, wrong to right.

in the 'Dark Passage' fable, the first 4 rows represent the path of darkness, the 5th line represents the process of philosophical reevaluation, and the final 4 lines represent the good, the light, the right.

the fable 'Countdown,' altho on one level a simple rocket ship taking off, on another the 12 photos before the bridge represent body while the 12 after the bridge represent spirit.

all 3 move from dark to light, flesh to spirit, the wrong path to the right.

of course all this is entirely in my head because a lot of the images can be made to represent the opposite of what i used them for. anyway, the prettier, more colorful images tend to be in the second half (or bottom half) of the 3 fables while the darker more painful images tend to be in the first part or top half.

bottom line - we start in darkness and flesh, we must move to spirit and light. and try to not hurt anyone along the way. it's something i've been figuring out how to do for 58 years. i may or may not be getting any better at it, but i am hurting fewer people along the way.

ritual sacrifice, from hell to heaven - a fable in 42 fotos

dark passage - a fable in 37 fotos

countdown - a fable in 25 fotos


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fotos of smith 1946-2004

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