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PictureBook – ‘Black Day Dolls’ – By Benamon Tame

We’re delighted to publish Benamon Tame’s sixteenth article to his column PictureBook with us here at theappwhisperer. 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).


The Black Day Dolls


‘The Black Day Dolls’ – ©Benamon Tame


One is for Sorrow who watches over us all

two is for a boy who still walks the Hall

three is for a funeral and to the House we will sleep

Four is the mothers who relentlessly weep

five is no more and lost to the lake

Six is the sacrifice for the family sake


Seven; taken by the secret never to be told

The dolls are part of a wider collection which were commissioned by the 25th Lord Thorn to challenge the Family’s historical misfortunes. The Lord was a keen anthropologist and drew on the South American Worry Dolls and the ancient Egyptian Ushabti dolls who acted as servants to the dead. Known as the Black Day Choir, the heads of the choir are said to be carved from the bones of dead saints. The figures are kept in a room known as the Choristry which is accessible though a hidden door in the main library. The exact number of the dolls is unknown as every count has always given a different total, the story is that there are always some elsewhere serving the family.

The traditional nursery Rhyme ‘One for Sorrow’ was adapted into the family mythology and was used in reference to the Black Day Choir and the five dolls loaned to each child on their third birthday.

(Kanly, Elliott. The Thorn Legacy.A History of the Thorn family and Ravenna House)


‘One is for sorrow’ – ©Benamon Tame


The Dolls are an aloof and secretive group who have had little to do with the other toys or wider events, even Loki refrained from trying to bring them under his control and Babel still hopes for answers to the questions he has laid at them.

The Dolls have held their memories from before the awakening and have a telepathic link not only with each other but the rest of the Choir. They wish to go home and be reunited with the others but the link is too weak and a way has yet to be found.

The dolls carry the secret whisperings of the Thorn Family, every guilt and fear, every hope and desire.


‘The Black Day Dolls. Choristy fragment remix’ – ©Benamon Tame


The Black Day Dolls are my 28th portrait for the Lost Toy Room and came out of the background work I did on my previous piece Kelpie. Although set in the toy room the majority of Kelpies story is based on events before, when the room was still part of a wider house and family. For Kelpie I started thinking about events before the Toy Room, building a picture of the family and events, which might impact on the toys or other characters.

I had already created a timeline and history for the Toy Room, the portraits so far being pulled from several periods, and now added even more history. Some of this I will use in the characters descriptions or the excerpts here as well as keeping me consistent in what I create and allowing me a framework to build the connections between characters and stories. The notes also help to generates new stories and characters for me.

Growing up I used to play D&D and Games Workshop and with those came the source books filled with histories and backgrounds that I always enjoyed the most. My interest led me to study History, Religious Studies and Sociology at A- Level and later read Egyptology at University. It that style that I want to present the Lost Toy Room, fragments and hints, stumbled upon bits of story and loose ends that only make sense at the end. Collected notes and musing.

The Black Day Dolls show The Lost Toys never had a chance and are a product of the family they belonged to. The memories of children’s games an echo of the dark machinations of their parents.


‘The Black Day Dolls. Typewriter Remix’ – ©Benamon Tame


The figures started out as one of my vintage dolls with the legs covered up so it more closely resembled a traditional worry doll. using a draw to act as the box for them I took several shots of the dolls in different positions to be blended together to make the set.


‘Doll 1’ – ©Benamon Tame

The composite image was made up in Juxtaposer. Numbers were added to their chests using Photo Editor FotoLr and then ageing was added using Iris, Snapseed and Pictureshow. After reviewing the image I felt I wanted to bring a darker more Reliquary appearance so replaced their heads with skulls from a shot I took at Bodmin jail!

The wrappings also add to the funeral feel, that they at holding something together.


‘Doll 2’ – ©Benamon Tame


Apps used in creating the images: Juxtaposer, Iris Photo Suite, Blender, Pictureshow, Scratchcam, Labelbox, Phonto, Photo Editor Fotolr and Snapseed.

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Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website—— TheAppWhisperer platform has been a pivotal cyberspace for mobile artists of all abilities to learn about, to explore, to celebrate and to share mobile artworks. Joanne’s compassion, inclusivity, and humility are hallmarks in all that she does, and is particularly evident in the platform she has built. In her words, “We all have the potential to remove ourselves from the centre of any circle and to expand a sphere of compassion outward; to include everyone interested in mobile art, ensuring every artist is within reach”, she has said. Promotion of mobile artists and the art form as a primary medium in today’s art world, has become her life’s focus. She has presented lectures bolstering mobile artists and their art from as far away as the Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea to closer to her home in the UK at Focus on Imaging. Her experience as a jurist for mobile art competitions includes: Portugal, Canada, US, S Korea, UK and Italy. And her travels pioneering the breadth of mobile art includes key events in: Frankfurt, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paris, Brazil, London. Pioneering the world’s first mobile art online gallery - has extended her reach even further, shipping from London, UK to clients in the US, Europe and The Far East to a global group of collectors looking for exclusive art to hang in their homes and offices. The online gallery specialises in prints for discerning collectors of unique, previously unseen signed limited edition art. Her journey towards becoming The App Whisperer, includes (but is not limited to) working for a paparazzi photo agency for several years and as a deputy editor for a photo print magazine. Her own freelance photographic journalistic work is also widely acclaimed. She has been published extensively both within the UK and the US in national and international titles. These include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Popular Photography & Imaging, dpreview, NikonPro, Which? and more recently with the BBC as a Contributor, Columnist at Vogue Italia and Contributing Editor at LensCulture. Her professional photography has also been widely exhibited throughout Europe, including Italy, Portugal and the UK. She is currently writing several books, all related to mobile art and is always open to requests for new commissions for either writing or photography projects or a combination of both. Please contact her at: [email protected]