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PictureBook – The Sight of Envy .Babel – By Benamon Tame

We’re delighted to publish Benamon Tame’s second article to his new column PictureBook. In PictureBook Benamon concentrates on the the story behind the image. As Benamon himself describes it: ‘As Photographic artists we do not just capture stories but create them, the journey behind and the image we present. PictureBook draws on Images selected from my own story series but will also look at the work of the other story tellers within the community’.

Don’t miss this uber creative article from Benamon, fabulous piece. Over to you Benamon. (foreword by Joanne Carter).



“Babel raised his hands and blinked. He sat like a strange peacock and stretched out his vision, glass eyes that should have never seen now bright and focused on a horizon beyond the room, the games and toys around him fading into gray.

In his mind the toys stood around him like orbiting planets and moons, their position marked in the gray by the icons he had given them, their size and position giving tell to their power and strength. Babel saw the sun of himself, bright in the centre giving light in the dark.

He blinked and looked on, pushing his sight passed the order he had created into the chaos and swirl beyond, a sea of the unknown, beyond the Door. Gray gave way to black like bonfire smoke drifting into a night sky as he sought to extend his reach, but today the currents ran too fast and tomorrow could not be read. He closed his eyes and stepped back into his mind and back again into the room. His hands lowered and head sunk with the effort.

Like a blind man grasping for his cane, Babel reached out and took hold of the worn cards at his feet, Happy Family cards marked and drawn anew for his designs, perhaps the cards would work today and show a way out.”



© Benamon Tame – ‘The Sight of Envy’


The Lost Toy Room had given me Calopie and Syster and the start of the story behind it all, my note book filling up with not only ideas for more toys but a history and a timeline and the next one in my mind was Babel. My initial vision (?) was of a toy with cards scattered around him, a fortune teller who had no tarot so he had used what was left in the room, Happy Family cards, marked and altered.

In the end I decided to go for a simple portrait pose and keep the style of the series for the main shots and go back later to compose the card image, I was also still working on the look of the altered cards, finding the balance of giving them an occult feel but still retaining their original innocence. I have since bought a vintage set to work with and use as props or part of a physical art piece later.


© Benamon Tame – ‘The Sight of Envy. Typewriter remix’

As part of the occult link through Babel I also started creating the icons for each of the toys which I could use with the cards, within the images which I have done with Loki and Watervliet so far, and other pieces later. The first set of icons was created using Paper App for iPad.



© Benamon Tame – ‘Icons’


Babel is the keeper of secret and the teller of stories, he is the one who barters for questions and answers, favours and forgiveness. Whatever power brought the toys to life Babel still draws from, attempting to understand and shape the world around him. Hungry for knowledge, greedy and envious of those who have anything he does not.

Babel remade himself better able to bear all the eyes he had acquired but also so his form would be an expression of his name, fashioning himself as a tower and becoming his own icon. Babel read the story of the Tower of Babel and saw himself in the tale, made by the hand of man, more than the parts that made him and raised in defiance of greater powers. He read the fall not as a warning but a comment on the failure of man, he was in no danger for how can you kill a toy!? In crafting himself he drew from many strange books left in the toy room, the last Governess had that Victorian fascination with ancient faiths and new spiritualisms. Ancient man had believed the palms of the hands were a window to the soul while others believed it was the eyes. Babel combined the two and placed his eyes upon his hands to create windows to use, for windows can be looked out of as well as looked into.

Babel represents arrogance and confidence of the young, the belief that they know it all and do anything with impunity but he is also the wonder and magic in childhood. Believing that through actions and intentions we can change the world around us, sympathetic magic and gullibility, the willingness to believe in anything.



© Benamon Tame – ‘Happy Family Cards’


The image of Babel was created in Juxtaposer and Blender. Textures and final editing was done in Iris Photo suite, Snapseed and Pictureshow. The Typewriter remix used Lo-Mob for the frame with images added using Blender and text with Phonto and Labelbox. The sketch for the toys icons was made using Paper for iPad.


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Benamon is a UK based Photographer, iPhone photographer, writer and Gothic Surrealist. His work has been featured on iPhone photgraphy websites and blogs of note. International Galleried artist including the Mobile Photography Awards 2012, the International iPhoneography Show, LA Mobile Arts Festival 2012 and most recently the Light Impressions at Art Basel Miami.