TIAA #48: “Waiting for Ebenezer”

Tosin’s Images & Anecdotes (TIAA) is my self-assigned photography challenge of 2022. The immediate objective is to select one image from my inventory (a cityscape, landscape, portrait, oddity, etc.) each week and write something about it. This “something” could be the story behind the photo, a triggered memory in relation to the photo, or simply a reaction or reflection based on the subject matter featured. The long-term objective is to encourage myself to add more content to “La Vue Atypique”, which celebrates its first decade in publication this year.

“Waiting for Ebenezer” / December 10, 2022

What can I say about the photograph above?

“A Christmas Carol” is probably my favorite novel by Charles Dickens. I enjoy many of the television portrayals and movie interpretations of the story that are featured during the holiday season each year.

There are many similarities between
the Grim Reaper and the Ghost of Christmas Future.

From childhood, I’ve often been fascinated by the portrayal of the Ghost of Christmas Future, the final and most ominous of the three ghosts who visit Ebenezer Scrooge to issue a dire warning about his moral character. There’s often a debate about whether or not Christmas Future (CF) is evil or a villain. The more I consider the argument, the more I disagree. One may think CF is evil because of how the ghost is portrayed, similar to that of a Grim Reaper or wraith. Personally, I’ve resolved that CF is merely a messenger to Scrooge. Nevertheless, I’m fully cognizant of the optics. The fact remains that most people would probably never want to cross paths with CF at any time, day or night.

I recently watched “Scrooge: A Christmas Carol”, an animated version of the story on Netflix. By the time I had finished watching it, I felt inspired to portray one of two characters for this week’s TIAA photo challenge.

One important note to keep in mind was that this inspiration came shortly after midnight today (December 10th).

Jacob Marley (left) and Ebenezer Scrooge in the animated movie “Scrooge: A Christmas Carol” on Netflix.

Initially, I had considered recreating the character of Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s late and unscrupulous business partner. I was intrigued by the numerous chains enveloping his entire body when Scrooge first encounters Marley in the story. However, the more I considered Marley for a photograph, I knew I would have to change into a suit and tie, find the right wig, bring out the set of chains I have in my hardware set, and rearrange furniture in my home to achieve the portrait. Again, it was after midnight. Even though I was temporarily inspired, I was not nearly motivated enough to do a costume change and create a makeshift photo studio in my living room. This stuff takes a lot of time to execute. (Those of you who think photography is as simple as “pushing a button”, please invest a few moments to reassess this unequivocally false notion).

That’s when I started to think about the Ghost of Christmas Future. Interestingly, this character’s outfit is fairly simple — a hooded, black or charcoal grey robe. I didn’t have a robe, but I considered a blanket or quilt to wrap around my body. When I started to visualize the image I wanted to create, I realized the simpler the costume, the better. I donned a hooded sweatshirt and my black winter trench coat. I took a few shots in the main corridor of my place and got to work on post-processing. This involved utilizing two stock media images: one featuring a spooky interior of a castle and another of a funnel of smoke.

The final result is this week’s image at the beginning of this article.

It’s now after 3am and I’ve decided — albeit under mildly groggy circumstances and for the sake of humor — to share the original photo that triggered the effort. Enjoy and feel free to chuckle.

Original photo for creating “Waiting for Ebenezer” / Captured around 12:30am, December 10, 2022

49 articles down for the TIAA challenge. 3 remain!

One thought on “TIAA #48: “Waiting for Ebenezer”

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  1. I’m amazed at how you transformed the original photo of you take after midnight into what looks like something in an animated film! Super cool! 👏🏾

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