Little pearl


Little pearl (revisited), originally uploaded by Becca Ashbourne.

One of the attributes that defines art is that it is open to different interpretation. Art should elicit an emotional response, should engender debate, perhaps even controversy.

By that criteria, this picture is possibly the closest I have come to creating art.

The picture had its genesis in September 2010 when I found the oyster and pose at a Japanese sim. However, whilst I loved the picture that ensued, I never felt that my skills with GIMP were sufficient to do it justice and I posted it pretty much “as is”. However, things have changed a lot since then. For this revisit, I masked out the blue background so that I could add a new one in, used the distort tool to painstakingly push and pull all those horrid straight edges and angles into beautiful curves, sorted out the terrible clipping issues on the girl, and added a shadow to the shell so that it blended in with the new background more.

You can see the original picture here:
Little pearl (original)

Sharing the photo with my friends has provoked some very interesting responses. Apart from the usual (but ultimately dismissive) “well done” or “cool”, I’ve had people perceive cuteness with an “awwwwwwww”, another friend ask me if I was ok, as they saw the girl curled up in the foetal position and interpreted that as her sobbing and trying to shut the world out. Another saw the girl as being precious because pearls are precious.

For me, the latter is most close to what I see. There is a phrase – “a pearl of great price”, which derives from one of Jesus’ parables in the Bible (Matthew 13:45-46 according to Wikipedia) which denotes something of great worth that is to be treasured. For me the picture shows the girl as being a pearl of great price, but also very fragile and vulnerable too. Something to be prized, cherished and adored. I also see elements of birth in it, as a pearl is grown inside an oyster like a baby in a womb, so the girl being in the foetal position is appropriate. Of course, there’s also the practical consideration of fitting the girl in the oyster and the foetal position is the most compact!

But what do you think? What does the picture say to you? Do feel free to add what you see by commenting – I’d be really interested to hear.