Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Creative Photography: Siren

I like this photo because it offers a view into Siren’s world. It was taken at the onset of yet another one of the hellacious storms that passes by on its way to the shore. The distant rumbling of thunder makes Siren anxious and sets off bits of his old behavior.

I will spare you Siren’s entire life story (I can hear the sighs of relief) – and just mention the pertinent stuff. Siren was rescued by a NYPD officer. He was wandering about under the George Washington Bridge. Marks and wounds and his general condition led the vet to believe he had been abused by “human touch” and had been in a few fights – with other cats or squirrels.

I took him because the shelter couldn’t. He needed too much attention and the feeling was that he’d never “recover”, he’d never “be socialized”, and he’d always exhibit “fearful aggression” and would be “too dangerous and unpredictable to be around people”.

I do understand the shelter’s reluctance, there are just too many animals to save but I am thrilled to say …

They were wrong.

This photo shows a bit of how I see Siren’s mind working. I learned from him how off center and narrow his world can feel. I grew to sense his anxiety when he tries to blend into the wall. I recognize the look on his sweet beautiful face that tells me he feels exposed, all light and shadow is playing on him and there’s nowhere to escape but the darkness.

I rarely brag about meself but I am very pleased with my ability to “hurt whisper”.

It would be so simple if creatures (people too) would just tell us – I’m scared, I’m angry, I’m hurting. It doesn’t happen that way. If you pay attention the body language and the eyes and the words/meows/barks/chirps/etc. will clue you in.

The rewards for paying attention are glorious.

Please take the time to visit CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY. There are so many wonderful photos to appreciate.


Jennifer Robin said...

Wonderful picture and accompanying text. I really enjoy your artistic sense and ability to express it!

Knight said...

Wow. I love this shot. It really is a little snapshot into his world. Sometimes I see things this way as well.
It was very brave of you to take in an animal considered dangerous and unpredictable. I don't know if I would. Then again I don't have the ability to "hurt whisper". I am very impressed with that trait and might add it to my list of coveted super powers.

Charlene said...

aren't dogs awesome~~great shot~~

Leighann said...

I LOVE this shot. It's almost a little creepy, like Siren can see something we can't and he's trying to hide from it.

Or maybe I'm nuts. :)

Patti said...

You are indeed brave to take in a kitty considered unpredictable and aggressive.

But he has a new lease on life and that is wonderful.

Looks like he still needs to blend into the shadows, but I know he is content.

Daryl said...

Wonderful photo .. I think that Siren is extremely lucky to have found you to be his caregiving ...


Dianne said...

jennifer - thank you! that's a wonderful, kind compliment. Deeply appreciated.

knight - I see things this way as well. I think that's a big part of why Siren and I hit it off - actually you and me too :)
I was abused as a child and from that came my "rescue complex" so in many ways Siren has done more for me than I have ever done for him.

charlene - I LOVE you!! and yes dogs are awesome however, Siren is a cat.

leighann - remember the Billy Joel song "... and I might just be the lunatic you're looking for" - you can be nuts with me anytime!!
but actually - you're right. cats most definitely have extra sensory abilities.

thank you patti, he is content - it's just that some things set off instincts based on past experiences.

daryl - thank you! as I mentioned to knight, he's given me a lot too :) and I'm thrilled that you like the shot, your photos are sublime :)

Lori Stilger said...

Hi, Dianne! Thanks so much for coming and visiting my blog - I'm glad you liked the photo. :D
I really like yours, too - it's not so much that it conveys a THING, but a state of emotion, and of movement!
Thanks for sharing! :)

Vixen said...

Even not knowing his story, you did such a great job with the picture that I could tell immediately he was trying to shrink into the wall.

Siren is very blessed to have you.

Kim said...

I'd like to hear Siren's entire life story sometime...but then I did start out my blog introducing each of our six animals, one a day, telling their entire life maybe that's just me! Anyway, beautiful shot and lovely blog!

Shelly said...

Wow, I have that tight feeling in my chest that comes from being a bit overwhelmed - in a good way. I love the photo, the way you told a bit of Sirens story. Thanks for sharing your talent and your compassion.

Star8278 said...

Great post! Thanks for stopping by mine. Good luck and have a great holiday.

Kimmie said...

Dianne, I am sitting here blubbering all over my keyboard. What a heartfelt story of both Siren and yourself. My heart is very heavy also. How courageous you are. I have alot of the same feelings that you do for cats. They have become my obsession so to speak. I want to save them all even though I know I can't. I do volunteer at our local cat shelter that has over 200 cats at it right now and 66 kittens. I go there to socialize them to get them ready for their forever homes. Some of them are so abused, scared, broken both physically and emotionally. I also believe that with patience and that special connection the unbelieveable can happen. Thank You for saving Siren, and it seems she has done quite the same for you. Big Warm Hugs.

Your photo is moving, especially knowing the story of Siren.

Good Luck Sweetheart!

Raven said...

"Hurt whisperer" - what a wonderful phrase. This is a wonderful mysterious, evocative photo. Beautiful. As is the text with it.

bobbie said...

Wonderful, Dianne. I love black and white to begin with, and I do believe you've captures Siren's feelings.

Good luck - and have a very happy and safe 4th.

Dianne said...

lori - a thoughtful comment and a huge compliment, thank you so much.

vixen - I love when a photo tells a story so thank you!!

kim - I remember that!! it's what I loved, still love, about you. I did tell Siren's story very early on - I should have linked it here. I'm going to post another Mi/Si slideshow soon, I'll link it then.

shelly - I know that feeling, it can be a good one and I'm honored that Si's photo made you feel that way.

Dianne said...

star - your photo is great!! such a beautiful building. have a fun 4th!

awwww kimmie - hugs to you too. and brava for the shelter work, I do some as well - it's hard sometimes but so worthwhile - good for the spirit and soul.

raven - one of the vets at a shelter I worked at - way back in the Brooklyn days - coined that phrase to describe me and the rowdy animals. I had no experience at all but they moved me to intake at this vets insistence since he saw I was able to calm the critters - 2 legged and 4 legged. I love the way you describe the photo - thank you.

thank you bobbie - I think some photos just demand black & white and this was one of them. Happy 4th to you too.

Greyscale Territory said...

This pic really is so emotional. How I love your detailed explanation of how it all came to be. I can feel your closeness to Siren! Wonderful!

Pagan Sphinx said...

That is an incredibly evocative photo of how Siren might be feeling. Wow. You are really tuned in. And from what I can see of you here and in my comments, you tune into what is really essential.


Sparkling Red said...

Thanks for being one of the good guys. There are so many sad creatures in need of a hero. Siren is lucky. :-)

Akelamalu said...

You obviously have the touch - both with animals and cameras!

Jackie said...

That is a stunning photo, really atmospheric. You're right, it does seem to convey something of Siren's world.

Dianne said...

greyscale - thank you for your thoughtful words.

pagan - thanks, I try :)
a person can learn a lot about emotions and healing from animals, they are quite open once they sense you're paying attention.

sparkling red - I wish there was a way to convey to more people how wonderful an adopted animal is. And it doesn't have to be as dramatic as Siren's story (I always go for the drama and the hard cases) - just adopting a newborn is a heroic act. thanks for your comment.

akelamalu - I'm confident with the animal aspect. After seeing the amazing entries in CP and all over the blog world I think I have some work to do with the camera but thanks, that made me smile.

jackie - considering how accomplished a photographer you are I take that as an amazing compliment, thanks!

Tammy said...

That is such a cool photo! It took me a sec to figure it out, really neat!!!

Napaboaniya said...

Looking at the picture and reading further makes me imagine Siren's body trembling in fright..

Ron said...

Beautiful photo, Dianne!

I so enjoy black and white photography. It feels so much more real. There's such a raw beauty to it.

Your words so beautifully match the image...just beautiful!

Bless you dear, lady...for your compassionate heart!

Siren is one lucky fella.

And you're so right...if we pay attention to the eyes and the body language!

Thanks for a great post, Dianne!

ETK said...

Why is it so much easier to be so kind and understanding to our animals than our friends and significant others too?

Point well made: It would be so simple if creatures (people too) would just tell us – I’m scared, I’m angry, I’m hurting. It doesn’t happen that way. If you pay attention the body language and the eyes and the words/meows/barks/chirps/etc. will clue you in.

Dianne said...

thanks tammy!

napaboaniya - I'm glad the photo strikes a chord, thank you

awwww ron, you're a good soul. I've always been fascinated by B&W and I love photos that tell a story

etk - I think because animals live in the now where people carry and expect and project. and animals are uncondtional and people - well there are condtitons. no easy answers kid.

Roger said...

Great Photo Dianne & accompanying story. Thank you for your Creative Photography submission.

Jeni said...

If only the animals could talk to us; if only people could communicate too with all others from little children up to the oldest. Makes me think of Kurtis especially, who still can't tell us what he wants or needs and we have to try to interpret for him. And also, tonight, Mandy and I were watching Mama Jorge as she interacted with two of her kittens. She was kind of playful with them but at the same time, by her gestures and sounds as well, she was also reigning them in. Kind of reminded me as she slapped a paw around the one kit, held it down, all the while licking it, then kind of chewing at it too of one of Bill Cosby's lines, "I brought you into this world and I can take you out too!" She was telling her baby to behave, stay still, all the while licking and nurturing the baby so it knew it was being loved and cared for. So neat to listen to the various sounds she makes to the babies too.
And one last thing -Girl, you really should "toot your own horn" a lot more than you do, cause you are definitely the "Hurt whisperer!" Great post about a great job you've done with Siren!

Cherie said...

Love that shot, Di! I love how cats lean into the door frame as they turn to go down the hall. It gives me the feeling of a five year old child that's feeling a little bit shy and hiding just a bit but is slying smiling as they peek out from behind the tree to see if you're still watching. And of course, I am!


Ladynred said...

Very cool and creative shot. Bless you on the contest!
Scrapbooking and Photography

The Quiet Rage said...

I love the way you think.

Michael Manning said...

dianne: You know I am SO with you about adopting Cats and Dogs. Your Love is so evident for this special little guy whom I feel was meant for you to save!

As long as there are people like YOU, dianne, the forces of evil within people who commit animal cruelty will never win. They are being brought to Justice every day thanks to our collective support of ASPCA. I love the name "Siren" too! Good Karma and lots of love to you and your special kitty cat, dianne!!!! :)

the walking man said...

"This photo shows a bit of how I see Siren’s mind working. I learned from him how off center and narrow his world can feel..."

Newsflash!...Dianne is Catwoman!

Patti said...

Dianne: I do understand about cats that have been abused/neglected. We adopted two brothers in January and it really took about two months for them to take over our household and our lives.


Diane Mandy said...

I love the photo and love the story behind the photo even more!

Hilary said...

Wow.. you've captured so much with that photo, your words and your sentiment. I'm happy that Siren has found you. Some relationships are just meant to be.

Dianne said...

roger - thanks, as always, for hosting. I'm really enjoying all the photographers and the tips and the just plain beauty :)

thanks jeni - my tootin' horn is a bit rusty but I'm working on it.

cherie - I love when you visit :)
Siren was definitely watching me watch him. I've learned to wait for him to tell me what's up.

thank you ladynred!!

Dianne said...

quiet rage - cool! cause I love how you think too.

love and good karma right back to you Michael - from the Mi/Si/Di comedy trio

Mark - that shot does have a Gotham City feel to it. If only I could be Catwoman but I don't think the catsuit suits me. Perhaps her lumpy sidekick? ;)

patti - and they do take over lol
bless ya for adopting - I have to come back over and check out their photos.

thanks diane! I'm hoping for another post from your nephew, his first movie was wonderful.

hilary - I'm happy he found me too. I can't imagine his life, or Mia's, without me and that makes me very happy. thanks hil!!

pink dogwood said...

I guess this was meant to be, you finding Siren - you are the only one who can love him like he needs to be loved :) and I love the way you write - ever think of writing a book?

Dianne said...

pink dogwood - such a lovely thing to say about me loving Siren, thank you. And thanks too for thinking I could write a book. I am working on a few things, I get more and more comfortable with the idea all the time.

Matt-Man said...

It's incredibly unique. I so like yours and others ability to take cool pics. Mine usually suck. Cheers Di!!

Charlene said...

dianne~~i'm a diamond~~you made my day~~i'm going to visit the FB coach on the 4th so i'll at least have some fun~~~
thanks for being such a great online friend

have a happy fourth

quilly said...

This is how I help heal the hurting and angry children in my classroom. Many graduate on to other grades, but they never leave me.

Dianne said...

matt-man - you can't be great at everything! you have so many other fine talents! ;)

you're welcome charlene!! have a great time.

quilly - teachers are so under-appreciated overall. my daughter-in-law teaches "at risk" kids and just saw some of her first students enter college! bless you for all you do :)

Jeff B said...

Playing catch up. What a cool post and the picture speaks volumes into the story.

I liked your Wordzzles this week too. The continuation of the story is a fun way to go.

CG said...

A great photo and a very moving post. Siren is so lucky to have you :)

Ralph said...

This photo, especially in B&W really shows the stealthy personality of cats. Being a small rescued being, the stealth works because he isn't always sure to trust his surroundings. Sticking to the wall and with the open door behind him, he has an escape route if needed.

He has no intention of escaping, just learned behavior. Trust, but verify.

He has found his home.

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Hello Dianne! This is a very good picture of Siren. You should brag about yourself. You took the time and patience on what, I am sure, most people thought was a hopeless cause and now reeping the rewards. Well said on your last paragraph. It makes me angry when people say animals are dumb and can't talk. Well they are the dumb ones. Animals talks. All you have to do is listen. Lisa

Dianne said...

jeff - thanks - I'm glad you liked the photo. As for the Wordzzle - Finola is just such a popular girl I had to keep her going :)

thanks cg - I keep telling Siren how lucky he is, and he yawns. lol

oh ralph - you so clearly understand!! trust but verify, that's it.

lisa - you got it! couldn't have said it any better. thanks.

Roger said...

Dianne congratulations! Your this weeks #1 in Creative photography.

Come on by and get your award!

Happy 4th of July to you to!!

dale said...

Congrats on your win in the Creative Photography Contest. I found your image and text to be very emotive and powerful. I can really feel your empathy towards Siren.


Greyscale Territory said...

Congrats on your win!

Strange, as soon as I saw your pic and quietly read your explanation, I had a feeling that this was definitely in the winning circle! Quite a moving pic!


Patti said...

Congratulations on your much-deserved win! I love that photo and agree with Ralph (my husband): "trust and verify."

Happy Fourth of July!

Kimmie said...

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S!!!

Dianne...I am so happy for you! I just knew this photo was going to make a big impression on the judges. It tells a story in itself, and that is a rare and beautiful find.

Big Hugs And Happy 4th Of July!

Dianne said...

roger - it takes a lot to make me speechless! and this did!! I'm honored - thank you

dale - thanks!! I was just happy to share my photos and learn from photographers like you.

thanks gemma - I appreciate that so much

patti - you and ralph are the best! such a way with words and such open hearts, I feel like I know you both

kimmie - I'm still shocked. The photos this week were amazing!! Siren is quite pleased lol
hugs to you too kimmie

Happy 4th everyone -

maryt/theteach said...

Congratulations Dianne! You deserve it!

Bob-kat said...

I love the photo - it kind of looks like a still from CCTV footage. You have a great gift for empathy and I suspect it was this that helped win Siren back. How lucky that he 'found' you.

Vixen said...

Congratulations on your win. This photo, as I mentioned before, so tells its own story and that is what makes photos great instead of just good.

Reb said...

Congratulations on your win. This is a wonderful photo and the story that goes with it is great. You and Siren were certainly meant to be together.

Lisa said...

This photo shows a bit of how I see Siren’s mind working. I learned from him how off center and narrow his world can feel.

Interesting photo, Dianne, and even more interesting commentary on it. Wow!

me ann my camera said...

This is a wonderful photo. At first glance I had to look for Siren but as I read your text I could find her trying to become part of the wall as she sought exit. Your words describe people as well. This is a touoching expression of emotion, both photo and text.

Dianne said...

thanks mary!! I love how supportive you always are.

bobkat - such sweet words, thank you. it's amazing how much we can learn from animals, Siren has definitely made me a better human :)

vixen - thank you!! I hoped it showed a bit of inside an abused beings emotions! I'm so happy that you saw that.

reb - thanks!! we certainly are a pair lol

thanks lisa!! appreciate that :)

me ann ... - it's funny - on my desktop Siren is far more visible than when I view this on my laptop. I don't know enough about resolution and pixies ;) and all that jazz to understand why. Or maybe it just was Siren lol