Every year the Carroll County Arts Council holds a Peep Show. Not that kind of peep show. At this peep show everything is made of marshmallow peeps. I posted some pictures of the art at the show a few blog posts ago, here. Anyone can enter an artistic creation, from children all the way to serious artists. Of course, how serious of an artist can you be if your medium is marshmallow peeps? But I digress.
This year, I created an entry of my own for the show. Now that the show is closed, I will post my creation for you.
Are you ready?
Ok, but before you see it, I do need to clarify something. The one small flaw with my picture is that the peep itself is hard to make out. It looks like a giant yellow blob, and if you don’t know it’s a peep, it can take a while to understand the picture. I wasn’t worried about that for the Peep Show. At the Peep Show, my picture was surrounded by thousands of peeps, so anyone viewing the picture would immediately recognize the yellow blob in my picture as a peep. You, innocent reader of the blog, may not have recognized it without the heads up.
With that clarified, here it is:
And now I’ll tell you how the creation came to be. This particular picture was a collaborative effort. I don’t often ask for help for these types of pictures, because I want my work to be my own, but in this case, I had lots of help.
First, I needed an idea for the Peep Show. I’ve done a few humorous storybook character photographs in the past, and I know that if I mull over the story long enough, inspiration will strike. In fact, I wrote about the first one that I attempted back in January. Here it is if you feel like looking at it.
Peep. Little Bo Peep. Lost sheep. But how to turn that into something humorous? It’s only funny if something bad happens to the sheep. Maybe they could be stuck somewhere. Maybe Little Bo Peep doesn’t want anyone to find her sheep, so she hid them.
I asked the kids, “Hey kids, if Little Bo Peep’s sheep weren’t really lost, but something else happened to them, what could have happened to them?”
And like all sweet and charming children, the boys immediately said, “She ate them!” and then they gave Doctor Evil mwa-ha-ha laughs.
Little Bo Peep ate the sheep!
Yes! That’s it! Little Bo Peep knows exactly where the sheep are…because she cooked them in…
…in what? What’s something she could cook them in that I could take a picture of?
An omelet! I could have chopped up veggies and my little wooden sheep mixed into the eggs. I started working on the wording for the caption, “Contrary to popular belief…”
When Darling Husband got home I couldn’t wait to tell him my wondrous idea. But when I did, he gave me a frowny face and said something like, “Isn’t that a little macabre? Don’t children come to the show?”
“Macabre? Sure. But it’s funny!”
“Yes…it’s funny…but what if the Peep Show won’t accept it because it’s too creepy for families with children?”
So I started brainstorming with Darling Husband for alternatives to the cannibalistic peep. I still liked the caption, but other than in a frying pan, where else could the sheep be?
She could be selling them! Darling Husband came up with the words “Cash for Sheep,” which was just beautiful.
I decided to photograph both ideas and see which one worked better. If the Peep Show people rejected my cannibalistic peep, then I would have the Cash for Sheep as a backup.
First I took the Omelet pictures, because frankly, I still liked that idea best. I decided to have Bo Peep frying her omelet on the grill outside. It seemed fitting that Bo Peep would be out in the fields making her omelet.
I took the picture, and let Darling Husband look at it. Here it is:
He didn’t like it! He said that the sheep looked like a yellow blob and no one would know what it was. I said, “It’ll be at the PEEP show and everyone will have seen a billion PEEPS so when they get to my pictures with the caption reading about Little Bo PEEP….they’ll get it.” Yes, I was snippy. Darling Husband just shrugged and said, “You still can’t tell what it is. Where are her bonnet and crook? Not to mention that the pools of blood are creepy. ”
Pools of blood?! Those are tomatoes. I think he was just trying to rile me up at that point.
So, I sent a copy to my friend Jo-Ann cold, with no explanation, just the picture and the caption, to see if it would make sense.
And it didn’t make sense to Jo-Ann, either, so Darling Husband was right. Jo-Ann thought the sheep was an artichoke.
Back to the drawing board, and this time I started working on the Cash for Sheep picture. I sent this one to Jo-Ann.
She liked the Cash for Sheep better than the omelet one. She said, “There’s something about the sheep in the pan that makes it get a little lost. Although I like the concept. I like the bow & crook addition.”
And then I sent them both to Scott for his critique of the execution of the photography. He gave me a bunch of very helpful pointers (as I knew he would), which required that I re-take the pictures again.
After Jo-Ann and Scott’s assessments, I decided to forget about the omelet idea and focus on the Cash for Sheep idea and, after a total of 147 attempts, including the omelet pictures, I finally got the version that I entered into the show. Here it is again, so you don’t have to scroll back up to see it:
What makes the last one work better than the 146 others? A bunch of things:
The crook is well placed.
The sheep that is watching looks concerned, “Where are they taking the other sheep?”
The Cash For Sheep truck is somewhat blurry, but not too blurry, so that it takes you a beat to read it and get its implications.
The placement of the truck on the background left and Peep in the foreground right gives the picture a nice symmetry.
The low angle was juuust right, not looming above Bo Peep and not so low that the grass gets in the way. It took me a bunch of shots to get the angle just right. I had to lie down in the grass to get it, to the bemusement of my neighbors. Yes, they did come out to see what I was doing.
In the end, people seem to have enjoyed the picture. When I went to see it at the show, I could hear a number of people chuckling over it, and that was gratifying.
And now I just have to find a place in the house to hang a 16×20 photo of a marshmallow peep.