Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Masquerade (Obscura) Thoughts

It's a good thing

Between posting "Time to get the dust off the furniture" and now has only been a week, and I've only made four "Masquerade" posts, but it's also been a week and I've put a lot of thought into this (which is funny if you consider that I'm trying to make up a format that doesn't require a lot of thought!).  I figure it's time to talk about it a bit.

First and foremost... I enjoy doing this again.  'This' being making posts here.  It's fun, it let's me contribute to this community of blogs and bloggers, and it's something that I believe I can continue doing.  That's an important part as I don't want to make any commitment to making posts only to find out it's a struggle.  After a moment of thought I should also add this... I don't want to make any commitment.  I may love doing this for another week and then back off and not post for another month.  I have to be fine with that.

I guess I should talk a bit about what exactly a 'Masquerade' post is going to be.  The most overt definition would be;  A TG related post that doesn't involve a true caption or a personal essay.  Those are really what I've done here in the past... Caps and Essays.  For the personal side, I have the other blog where I can be far more personal.  For the Caps... well, I still may make some of those.  Hell, some of these Masquerade's may evolve into caps.    But that's something that I want to remain separate.  In a more general sense, a Masquerade post is going to be a less than fully formed idea or presentation.

Quick side note... I wish I had never titled these 'Masquerades'. It's not a word that flows from my mind, to my fingertips, to my keyboard without getting all jumbled up.  More often than not, I'm copying a version where I'm sure it was spelled correctly, and then pasting it back into the graphic/title/post.  

These 'less than fully formed' ideas may be close to a finished product.   That's kind of what I've done so far.  A saw a picture, it inspired a basic idea, and I went for it.  But I didn't stop there, I wrote it out.  I didn't edit.  I didn't try to have a cohesive narrative, and I didn't try to tell the whole story, but I DID write out more than the basic idea.  Lemme give you an example:

In "Masquerade - Unwanted Attention" I started with this picture:

Actually it was slightly different, but all I did was crop out the watermark.  When I saw it I had the idea "It's a guy who's been dressed up by his girlfriends or co-workers and now he's stuck while a stripper dances for  him".  I can't say that's exactly what I thought, but that's the gist of it.  When I had the photo ready and tried to turn that idea into a statement... well I expanded upon it.  That idea fairly quickly turned into 175 words.

Now, I've made caps with less words.  But this is an image and an idea that I would have never made a cap out of.  First there's the image.... it's not my style.  It looks more like a snapshot rather than a photograph.  It's a picture that was taken while the action was happening and not posed.  I like the posed.  I like the perfected.  Then there's the story... it's not all there.  Sure, we never get to tell ALL of the story, but if this were going to be one of my caps, there would be more... FAR more... to tell.    And lastly, I have no idea how I would marry the story and the photo together in cap form.  Would the story go to the right?  Would I crop it in further... say having the right edge just behind the man and then the story could go to the left?  Maybe the other way, crop it so that the left edge is just behind her and the story would be behind him?  Where would the title go?  How would I design the title?

Back 'in the day' this may very well have turned into a cap.  It wouldn't have been this image, it would have been a more detailed and more polished story, and I would have spent quite a while getting those two parts together into a true cap.

But that's not what a Masquerade is ever going to be.  It took me all of 20 minutes to do that post.   That's 20 minutes from me deciding to try this new endeavor out, to posting the final version.  That includes making the title graphic, and deciding what to call this new 'form'.

So using that post as a starting point, a Masquerade may be shorter.  It may be just the image and a quick single line.  As some of the other Masquerades have shown, they can also be more.

Prison Reform has an almost PERFECT image.  Beautiful, posted, perfectly lit, and almost perfectly laid out with space for a title and a story.  But the story... man I left a lot on the floor there.  I feel that what I posted would be the 'set up' for a cap story.  Most of my caps involve a person, and this just doesn't have that.

How Could I Deny Her on the other hand is just about ready to be made into a cap.  In fact I had to stop myself from doing just that.  The only reason I didn't was that I wanted to explore this idea of 'non cap no essay' posts.  The story just wouldn't stop and I felt compelled to keep writing.  I even went back and edited it a bit.  The only real problem I would face is that the picture doesn't leave a lot of space for the story.  I'd have to cover up something or add a second panel.

Now, while this is fairy easy and eminently 'doable' for me, it doesn't mean that I will or even can post one of these every day.  That was part of the experiment.  You can see, I posted on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday.  It's not that I didn't attempt to do so on Sunday.  I just couldn't do it.  I couldn't find an image that gave me any idea or was worthy of any effort.  I did try to force it and spent about an hour looking at all manner of images... but at the end of the day nothing came through.  I won't try to force it like that again.  In fact if nothing comes up almost immediately, then I won't post anything.  There will of course be days where I won't even try.   I'll still have to be in that TG/sharing mood to every attempt a post.

One other thing that's going to separate Masquerade posts from my regular postings is the conversation.  These require almost no thought and there's almost no decisions going into them... so there really isn't going to be anything to write about.  The posts will almost all be the same short format... a header image, the image itself, and the story.  I may also include a link to where I got the image.  I feel bad that I didn't give any credit AND cropped out any watermarks.  In case you're curious, all of the Masquerade post images came from fuskator.

As always, if you have an idea of how I can improve this format, I'd love to hear from you.  Hell... I always love to hear from you!


Edit 6/8/15

I decided to follow Dee's idea and call these "Obscura" instead of "Masquerade".


  1. Instead of a masquerade .. why not call it an Obscura ??

    It relates to photography, which is both something you like and something you are using, at least a piece of the photo, and not looking at it directly, but alighting the focus elsewhere.

    It also resembles obscure, which is the disguising of true intentions, which goes along with your "mask" theme.

    Technically, you are taking an image, and writing a story, illuminating some pieces, while blurring others .. only allowing the indirect light to shine through.

    1. This is an incredibly interesting and insightful observation Dee. As I read Caitlyn's discussion I was wondering what I'd say. In the end, I was going to say to go with it and see where it leads. But you have given a concrete and viable suggestion. Camera Obscura! By the way, a great band too!



    2. I like it Dee! Not just because it's far easier to spell, but because when compared to Masquerade it feels like something small. Something quick. A Masquerade feels like something big. Something grand.

      I'll give it a try on some new ones and if I like the way it looks, I'll change over the older ones as well.