My friend, Antonio, is an Art Director and and Graphic Artist who likes to create concept art (posters, CD covers etc.) by blending photographs and other graphic elements. He usually gets the photographs from friends and then builds the graphics around them himself.

Lasts night I got a message from him which read:

Howard think of story, novel or poem you have read, and pick one of your images from your Instagram that you think reflects the words. And once you do I will make a design with the image you pick and the title you choose. Take your time it’s a fun project and you act like the art director and I am your graphic designer

My initial reaction was that I would find this difficult. I usually take photographs because there was something about the subject that caught my attention. I don’t think “Oh, that would look nice on a Vogue cover”.

I quickly realized, however, that I did have something that might fit the bill.

The other day, while browsing YouTube videos I’d come across an audio book or Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. I’d read the book and seen the 1940s Hitchcock movie (A 2020 Netflix version is available. I watched it last night and didn’t like it much) several times and liked them both. While browsing YouTube recently I came across an audiobook version of the Novel. I thought I might like to hear someone reading the book aloud so I watched the video. I was really enjoying myself when the video suddenly came to an end. I quickly realized that the audio book covered only one Chapter. This left me feeling frustrated that I hadn’t been able to listen until the end. I found other audio books that contained the full text, but by then I was feeling annoyed and didn’t want to watch any of them.

Over the next few days the haunting words of the first sentence of the book: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again” kept going round and round in my head so when I got Antonio’s message I immediately thought of “Rebecca”.

Now, did I have a photograph that I could use. I quickly realized that I did: the photograph above. While far from being my best work I thought it would do. For those who don’t know it “Rebecca” is a Gothic novel, much of which takes place in a spooky old house in England, the “Manderley” of the first line. The house above is not in England, but it is suitably spooky. It’s the former Jay Gould Mansion, Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, NY and it was used It was used for the exterior shots in the two early Dark Shadows movies, House of Dark Shadows (1970) and Night of Dark Shadows (1971).

I’m now keen to see what he does with the concept and the image.

Picture taken with a Konica C35 film camera.

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