Marie Miller  


Traditional Tea Time by Marie Miller

November 2020 - Traditional Tea Time

About the Image(s)

Traditional Tea Time is a story of Japanese tea among best friends, although the friend is not in the picture. They are wearing masks because of the pandemic and feeling nostalgic because American travelers cannot travel to Japan due to high U.S. Covid numbers. Customary Asian traditions, such as serving tea to guests in our homes have continued during the coronavirus pandemic. When the guest is visiting a home where one of the family members is sick or has recently had surgery, the guest now remains masked out of respect for the family. This triptych shows a masked Japanese-American woman pouring tea from an antique cast iron Japanese teapot into two tea cups. She steadies the cup and then offers the tea to the recipient with her head bowed in reverence of this special time shared between best friends.

These images were taken with my Nikon D810 camera and my new 85mm 1.8 lens using GODOX flash, Shutter at 1/250, F6.3. I used an interesting pinkish overlay from Topaz Studios. I liked the effect of the overlay on the green background. I created the border using a stroke around each picture, then dropped each picture on a texture layer slightly larger than the picture.


This round’s discussion is now closed!
14 comments posted




Lauren Heerschap   Lauren Heerschap
This works very well as the essence of a cultural triptych and sharing a story. I really like the tones of pink and green, they reflect the color of her hair. The way that you made the border ties it together. The only thing that bothers me is that she picked up the teacup that would have been closer to the friend?   Posted: 11/09/2020 18:19:41
Marie Miller   Marie Miller
Thank you Lauren. Yes, she is offering the tea to her friend. In Japanese culture, it's customary to pour beverages for each other and the guest gets the first cup. The host usually pours the tea for everyone. When drinking other beverages, you would pour for your friend and wait for your friend to pour for you. Also ensure your friend's cup is never empty. When you've had enough, take tiny sips so your cup stays full.   Posted: 11/09/2020 22:16:54



Valerie Pohio   Valerie Pohio
Hi Marie...what a lovely series of photos depicting a Japanese tea making ceremony and to make the triptych so current with the wearing of the mask. History!
I think you've done a great job.
Just a couple pf comments; I would keep the mat placement consistent throughout, so that the focus remains on the subject and the teapot and cups. I would also try to balance the tea maker's head. You have 2 going to the right and 1 central. Picky I know, but it affects the overall balance of the 3 images displayed together.
Overall, I think the series works well!   Posted: 11/09/2020 23:43:33
Marie Miller   Marie Miller
Thanks Valerie. It was my first triptych. I agree about the mat placement. As for the head location, I was showing progression to the actual serving from start to the actual serving. The real deal was that my friend came to my home to drop off food for me and my husband. He became so sick following his recent surgery so she wore her mask while visiting. Although, I was the actually the host, she's just like family and made the green tea in my home and served it to me. The shoot was impromptu because I had just received my new lens in mail and couldn't wait to use it.   Posted: 11/10/2020 02:00:26
Peter Newman   Peter Newman
Hi Valerie, your comment about placement is right on for a pictorial image. However, I would think that Marie enhanced the story telling value by showing the natural flow of events.   Posted: 11/12/2020 17:37:13



Judith Lesnaw   Judith Lesnaw
Marie, there is a powerful story in this beautiful triptych. I love the old kettle and the stream of liquid caught mid-stream in the central image. The colors in the background subtly repeat the flowers, leaves and hair. What a tender way to remember a dark time.   Posted: 11/10/2020 15:27:24
Marie Miller   Marie Miller
Thank you Judith!   Posted: 11/11/2020 23:24:59



Peter Newman   Peter Newman
Marie, I agree with Judith 100% and have nothing to add, except that I think your image should do very well in the "fiap" competition. The theme is "The world in 2020, and there is no entry fee.
<http://www.fiap-earthin2020.net/fiap-TWI2020.php>
  Posted: 11/12/2020 18:24:38
Marie Miller   Marie Miller
Wow, thanks Peter! I didn't know about that competition.   Posted: 11/12/2020 19:33:55



Peter Newman   Peter Newman
Marie, I agree with Judith 100% and have nothing to add, except that I think your image should do very well in the "fiap" competition. The theme is "The world in 2020, and there is no entry fee.
<http://www.fiap-earthin2020.net/fiap-TWI2020.php>
  Posted: 11/13/2020 11:24:16



Karl Leck   Karl Leck
Hi Marie, A beautiful contemporary story of a tradition that works well as a three part 'story'. The person, the setting, every item in the image contributes to the story detail. It's technically well done in a straight forward manner. Modern composition ideas might crop part of the wall at the top of the image. Having the woman's head in the center is more simplistic and old fashioned which helps the concept of age old tradition. Well conceived and executed. Karl   Posted: 11/14/2020 10:51:20
Marie Miller   Marie Miller
Thank you Karl!   Posted: 11/14/2020 15:01:55



Sandra Irwin   Sandra Irwin
This is a lovely and tender triptych! I am just shaking my head and saying-- how can she even smell or drink her tea with a mask on? So I agree with Peter's suggestion, tho I don't know anything about competitions.   Posted: 11/22/2020 15:58:57
Marie Miller   Marie Miller
Thanks Sandra. We use loose tea. Unlike American style, we pour the tea into the cups almost immediately after putting the hot water in. We know it will taste good based on the kind of tea we have used and the color in the cup. We only took our masks off when sipping the tea.   Posted: 11/25/2020 01:01:46