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PictureBook – Paper steps – Familiar – By Benamon Tame


We’re delighted to publish Benamon Tame’s fifteenth 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).



Familiar winced at the sound of paper tearing.

Babel paused with the newly torn sheet in one hand, watching a book wince never ceased to amuse him, before feeding the page into Familiar.

Babel resumed scanning the pages of the book, running his hands over them like a blind man reading Braille, the eyes in his palms drinking in the words.

Obscure diagrams and charts, forbidden hierarchies and apocrypha were pulled and added to Familiar. Page by page Familiar grew, his cover stretching with the weight of knowledge, fat and fed on word and design.

“Well done. Soon we will have to find you some more legs as you have grown so much. All those words kept safe and so much more to find”

Babel whispered to Familiar as he laid down the emptied book , his words part whisper part memory as they fell out of his mouth. Familiar bobbed in agreement, too big now to close and two legs starting to struggle beneath the weight.

Both of them briefly wondered how much bigger Familiar could get, would need to get until Babel had all he needed.



‘Paper Steps – Familiar’ – ©Benamon Tame


Familiar is a new toy, constructed by Syster for Babel from parts she had gained at the expense of others. Babel had confiscated a book of magic from the remains of Delphi’s supporters who had not disappeared into the walls and was eager for more. He had begun his own studies and wanted somewhere safe to keep his findings and also the information he had gathered from other books he discovered in the library. Familiar also acts as servant for Babel and keeps his body safe when he goes into a trance.

Familiar was named by Babel and sometimes in the secret places between the books he has another name. Grimoire.

From Familiars point of view there is not much to tell, he had no existence before the room was lost and so his first memory is of begin opened and his only goal is to please Babel. Occasionally he will become distracted by some of the contents of the book but as he cannot read it is more the shapes and diagrams that affect him, some of them still itch or wriggle, even after the rest of the page has settled.

As a treat Babel sometimes feeds Familiar with portions from other books, sticky sweet romances or intoxicating poetry, bitter mysteries and tragedies or adventures that filled him with spice and sharp flavors and lingered within him for days. Sometimes it was yellowed sheet music, each note sounding before disappearing within him.

When happy Familiar will often flick through his pages over and over and a purring sound.
Familiar started out with only one leg but as time has gone by and Babel has added pages from other books or his own notes and workings Familiar has grown. At first there had been two books but Babel had wearied of them both hopping around after him so he got rid of Vague and gave his leg to Familiar. Familiar is now to full to close and two more legs have been added which seem to have only reinforced Familiars pet like personality.


‘Papersteps. Typewriter Remix’ – ©Benamon Tame


The other toys stay clear of Familiar, partly because of his association with Babel but also because he is a new toy, born lost.

The initial inspiration for Familiar came out of my desire to give Babel a sidekick, every magus needs a lackey and with the Toys, form often mirrors personally. I must give credit to the work of Terry Pratchett and his discworld series which features a multi-legged luggage chest, though the luggage is a far more independent and chaotic creature than Familiar.

Familiar was the name given to little creatures kept by witches according to medieval mythology, Spirits that had taken material form and served the magic user in their workings and errands.These familiars could take on more natural form, like the traditional Black Cat or toad but also more outlandish like little puppets or small human form. Grimoire is an old word for Spell book.

Portrait of Familiar taken with beneficent permission of Babel.


Apps used Juxtaposer, Iris Photo Suite, Snapseed, Pictureshow, Phonto, Lo-Mob, Labelbox and Blender

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.

One Comment

  • Catherine

    Absolutely wonderful!!! You are weaving such a rich and fantastic story, Benamon!! <3