My daughter is singing in the kitchen as she collects candles and sets them up on a white sheet with an arrangement of dead leaves and a bruised flower for her latest photo project. She has to compare the madness of Ophelia and Hamlet for an English assignment.
For Ophelia, she borrowed a waterproof camera housing from one of her friends and filled the bathtub with water. Earlier she went to the corner to buy exactly three blooms, a white Anastasia, a red rose and an orange flower. All afternoon she has been drowning the blooms in the bathtub and taking underwater pictures of them to approximate the river where Ophelia suffocated her unrequited love, or something like that. It's been a long time since I read Hamlet.
The prince's madness is more angry and destructive, she says, so she wants to use some sort of fire motif to represent that. Hence the gathering together of candles. She plans to make collages from the photos she is taking and then write something that explains how they represent the subjects at hand. I find her imagination and determination to create the pictures in her head so exciting to watch. I particularly love when she says Can you hold this for me? and What if I do it this way? and Hmmm that's not bad at all.
The images are moody, which I find so at odds with the winter sunlight streaming through our window today, and my daughter's cheerfulness as she works. But her subject is madness, loss, grief, destruction. Ophelia and Hamlet would understand the images.