Free Bird

Taking a bit of a trip down memory lane tonight.

As I was looking fondly back through my old photography work, I came across a folder of personalised scanned calligraphy – yes, calling it calligraphy is a bit of a push, but I didn’t want to say “oh, look, pretty letters”. Anyway, I created them to layer over studio portraits, lowering the opacity and doing fancy blends so the lettering was barely visible over the portrait.

The idea was that I’d capture the portraits as normal, but ask the subject to name a song that meant something to them. I’d then write up a memorable verse, and layer it lightly over the portrait to show ‘a deeper and more important’ side to the subjects, than simply their face… or something like that.

Okay, okay, I know. It’s a bit rich – but this was 4 years ago, and I was still at college.

I tried to make them look a bit rushed, so the lettering didn’t look too digitally altered over a series of portraits, and I even splattered ink all over the verse as if they were covered in “accidental splatters”. The good old hand-made effect, eh. I can tell you this, throwing ink like a 4 year old is brilliant fun, but it doesn’t come off finger tips very easily…


I have a clear favourite though. It’s a verse from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird, and it’s perfectly imperfect:

Free Bird Lynyrd Skynyrd Lyrics

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be travelling on now
‘Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see.

But if I stayed here with you, girl,
Things just couldn’t be the same.
‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now,
And this bird you can not change, oh, oh, oh, oh.


I personalised one for myself with Steve Earle’s “Galway Girl”, as well as a pretty long section of Jimi Hendrix’s “Highway Chile” and couple of poems/inspirational quotes.

Sadly, I don’t have the actual finished products. I don’t know when or where they got lost throughout the years, but I can’t find them anyway. Shame!

Silver lining: At least I have a folder of awesome hand written lyrics and quotes.


7 thoughts on “Free Bird

  1. Pingback: Saturday’s Super Six | Books From School | The Secret Diary of a Computer Science Student

  2. Pingback: November | The Secret Diary of a Computer Science Student

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