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PictureBook – ‘The Ballad of Leopold and Adolphu’ – By Benamon Tame

We are absolutely delighted to publish Benamon Tame’s latest article (his 31st!) to his PictureBook Column with us. PictureBook is full of creativity and imagery in words and in pictures. It is a complete joy to read, view and publish – thank you Benamon.

The concept behind the PictureBook column is not just about capturing stories but creating them, the journey behind and the image we present. PictureBook draws on Images selected from Benamon’s own story series and also looks at the work of the other story tellers within the community’.

Over to you Benamon (foreword by Joanne Carter)…


Leopold and Adolphus’ – ©Benamon Tame


The sound of wood on wood.
The points of two sets of stilts striking the toy room floor like soldiers drums marching to war.
Small steps back and forwards like the prancing of a impatient warhorse, clouds of dusk
kicked up and swirled around them as they moved into the clearing.
Adolphus was the first to step into the space, his stilts carrying him over the eager crowd,
a strange riot of toy and doll baying for spring and straw.
The Dreaming Troupe parted and from their ranks Leopold moved forward, his lance
steady and ahead as though it led the rest of him, eager to strike.
Above them both sat Loki, the peak of his white hat lending him a height that reached
even past the raised figures before him.
The two fighting frogs reached the centre of clearing, a riot of shape and colours filling the
edge of their visions as the whole room gathered to witness their duel.
They turned to face Loki and his court and dipped their lances in tribute before stepping
back to face each other.

In the first days of the Lost Toy Room when Barrow House moved and the Toys united behind Loki to push it back, it was Adolphus and Leopold who led the charge. Standing on tall stilts built by Syster and armed with long pencils they would dance around the slow lumbering building and push back its hungry reach. With the discovery of the Houses reaction to music, the Music Box wall was raised and it was the two fighting frogs that
stood alone to give the other toys time to finish it. It was Leopold and Adolphus who rescued the Myrme and had fought off the first Sneaking of the Wilder Ones.


Leopoold and Adolphus framed’ – ©Benamon Tame


Whatever life the two toys had before they awoke was soon forgotten as they embraced their new lives and took on the roles of Heroes. But Loki was a jealous toy and as their fame rose he began to fear them and began to plot their downfall. Rumours concocted by Narciss began to appear; that they were in league with the Wilder Ones, that one of them had made a deal with Barrow House or that they were not even real frogs.

On the opening night of the Dreaming Troupes new performance, the Ballad of Leopold and Adolphus (or Much ado about Stilts) it came to ahead and despite pleas of innocence the two frogs were ordered to duel to defend their names.

But the two frogs were too evenly matched and after several hours fighting it was apparent an end could not be found. One by one the crowd gave up and wandered off to play other games. Eventually even Loki lost interest and declared it a draw and that both of them were the innocent, knowing the damage had already been done to their reputation and their friendship.


Adolphus. Typewriter remix’ – ©Benamon Tame


The two frogs parted with their friendship broken, wary of the other and hurt by the rumours and the fight.The reign of Loki darkened and the frogs were too broken to stop him. Adolphus fell at the Siege of Toyland, holding back a column of Tin Soldiers while Loki and his Strange Company fled.

A grief stricken Leopold exiled himself beyond the Music Box Wall before Loki convinced him to return and sent him to petition the Queen ofHearts. Leopold was never to return.

The Ballad of Leopold and Adolphus was never performed and the original copy was destroyed under order of Loki. Only Babel holds a secret copy, its words found in the pages of another book and kept safe in Familiar.


‘Leopold.Typewriter remix’ – ©Benamon Tame


The Portrait of Leopold and Adolphus was a composite construction with several shots of the toy frog being taken on the purpose built stilts and then put together using Juxtaposer. The change in Adolphus’s coat to blue was done using Pictureshow’s IndigoGray filter and then blending in the new image with the original in Juxtaposer. The piece was then textured and finished in Snapseed. The Framed version was put together using an image of a lined table which was then mirrored in Leonardo. Texture was added using Iris Photo Suite and Pixlromatic. The selective desaturation was done on ColorSpash and the two images added in Juxtaposer. The script was added inPhonto.

The Found Poetry sheet was a screen capture of the text written in Pages and then circled using Pen & Ink. extra texture was added using ScratchCam and Pictureshow.


‘Found Poetry’ – ©Benamon Tame


Apps used in the pieces: Juxtaposer, ScratchCam, Pictureshow, Pages, Leonardo, Colorsplash, Pixlromatic, Snapseed, Pen&Ink, Phonto, Iris Photo Suite and Lo-Mob

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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.