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Mobile Photography/Art – PictureBook – Midnight Thorn – TheAppWhisperer

We are absolutely delighted to publish Benamon Tame’s latest article (#36) 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’.

“Midnight holds a singular place within the Thorn household, a family well known for its affinity for Ravens. Looking through the records and pastoral scenes from the family’s extensive collection of paintings reinforces their connection to Ravens but also to the Black Cat. Hunting scenes are in abundance as you would expect from a family of their station but dogs and Birds of Prey are noticeably absent. There several scenes of archery and boar hunting and horse riding which on close inspection all show a single animal in accompaniment in the shape of a Black Cat”.

Image ©Benamon Tame

The Black Cat goes back to the very roots of the Thorn family and it’s founding by the mercenary Captain Corvus Thorn. The story told is that when the general was fighting in the Italian Wars he had been leading an advance party, several days lead over the main force, and they had been ambushed. During the attack his horse had been killed and in the fall he was knocked unconscious. When Corvus came too he found himself pinned by the body of the horse and the only man left alive.

Preparing for the end, Corvus was surprised to find the eyes of a wild cat were upon him and over the next couple of days the cat remained by his side, sharing his catches and even defending him from a snake and other creatures drawn to the easy prizes of a battlefield.

Corvus named him Midnight, partly because of his black coat but also because he appeared when he expected to die, saving him in his darkest hour.

Corvus was saved by the arrival of the main army and the cat stayed with him for the rest of the campaign, fighting by his side and returning to England with him and his new bride.

Since then Midnight has been a permanent part of the household and is awarded all the privileges and deference afforded to any other member of the Family.

As with many traditions within Ravenna Court, what might seem peculiar elsewhere raises no dissent here and the sight of a maid or footman paused and bowed as Midnight passes is a common fact.

…details on how many cats have taken on the place of Midnight are unclear as both the Family and servants will only acknowledge the current cat as if he was the original and even changing age is accepted.

An anecdote from one grounds man exemplifies his status;

‘ When Midnight was getting on a bit about three year ago he got quite temper some.

He got himself to biting one of the young maids, could not abide the sight of her. Covered in scratches and marks like she had been taken through a hedge.

Got so bad they had to let her go and she had to find service elsewhere.

He is much better now, and a couple of years off him has been a tonic for his mood’

…looking at successive portraits does seem to indicate a similarity of size and countenance, especially the longer fur on the lower jaw and from the ears, would indicate direct or close descent. There is only ever one cat visible so one could speculate on a discrete nursery or resting place elsewhere but the matter has been placed beyond our inquiry and this author did not desire to place a burden onto the Family’s generosity.

( Extracts taken from Kanly, Elliott. The Thorn Legacy. A History of the Thorn family and Ravenna Court)


Behind the Lost Toy Room is the Thorn family, an extended family bound by its own history and traditions. Caught up in elaborate rituals that bind its members to the past and absolute loyalty to the Family and its ends. Mr Tangle, The Clown in Yellow, The Black Day Dolls, the stories of Livia and Augustus and now Midnight Thorn reveal another aspect of the dark family and the foundation of the Lost Toy Room. The children had never stood a chance and nor had their toys.



Image ©Benamon Tame

The portrait of Midnight Thorn was created in the same way as the Portrait of Livia and the aim to recreate a 17th century style oil painting.

The initial image was of my cat, whose actually called Midnight and who was fairly obliging for a short time before giving me a withering stare and wandering of in disgust (normal behaviour for midnight really!) I had started out with him with the ruff on but between trying to position it and him it got a bit pointless and just settled for shooting him and the collar separately.

In the end I settled for a composite cat, the ruff added on using Juxtaposer and I then mirrored the image in Leonardo.

Image ©Benamon Tame

I then set up the background with several props, a ‘Sat in’ pillow to blend in and added them altogether in Juxtaposer with the image of the cat. Reading the piece symbolically, the soft furnishings represent the wealth of the family, the bricked up window its closed and insular nature. The empty birdcage and skull signal Midnight (and the family’s) predatory nature and the book their knowledge and their ritual.


Image ©Benamon Tame

The image was then filtered in Glaze and the oil Painting Filter in Photoforge (the original app no longer available) and blended in with the original image using Juxaposer. This was repeated several times and then finished off in Snapseed.

Apps used: Juxtaposer, Leonardo, DistressedFX, Glaze, Snapseed, Photoforge


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.