In a previous post I offered some thoughts and images in a series called The Accidental Artist. What I found myself doing was simply opening up my camera to objects, twigs, trash etc around me that had gathered randomly into a pile of art. It’s purely a photographic journey for me that will continue. But what it’s done is also wake up some images that are in more familiar territory: Digital manipulation.
I seldom know where the piece is going to end, but I’ve gotten better and better at following the story as it unfolds.
For the past few years I’ve been artistically intrigued by describing the world in heavily layered images. Some of the layers are very simple and totally relate to one another, some are parts of the same picture but many are simply emotional responses I may have to the developing piece. That emotional element is explained by a color or a shape or even my attempt at a picture of an idea.
Dobbins Point is a piece that I finished recently and is made up of a landscape shot of downtown Phoenix, another photo of trees and scrub surrounding a stone building, NASA galaxy images and a fractal that I generated.
Each of my digital collages has, of course, a beginning point. So I thought it might be interesting to see a before and after of a few pieces I’m working on right now. With The Accidental Artist post I introduced some photography that got me going back into manipulation, so here’s some of the images from there — followed by some early layering I’ve done to each.
On this piece I’m actually only doing color and contrast manipulation. I really just want to emphasize the lines, texture and color then abstract it to a much simpler level. Oh yeah, and I flipped it 90 degrees clockwise.
I like the original photo enough that I’m not sure about the digital work I’ve done. We’ll see.
Here’s a very simple layering effect that I do like.
This is pretty obvious but it does seem to fit for me. I simply took the name of the original piece (Sidewalk Andromeda) and made it literal. Another beautiful NASA image overlaid on the cement sidewalk. This is all about color and texture to me and I’ll keep it pretty simple I think.
This photo was all about the movement of the rebar as lines through space so I just continued that idea. I tried to emphasize the lines of the metal and in the process the rusted rebar popped out in color and texture … so I went with it.
I first took out the background and replaced it with layers of rusted metal, old wall paper and general grunge. I then manipulated color more to try to tie it all together and added hard shadows from the rebar to emphasize the lines even more. It kind of makes me think of an old beat-up iron bed in a crumbling tenement bedroom. Or that may just be me. I smoked a lot of weed in college.
OK I’ve taken a lot of liberties with this one. The photo was so very macho that I wondered if I could soften it up and pull out some lightness. So, what I’m trying to do is manipulate the image with strong distortion and color change to find a sort of ethereal overlay. This is what’s occurring so far, and I think there’s a bit of a sprite that’s coming out of the bolt when I overlay it onto the original photo. Yes? I think the colors that developed also add to a less muscle-bound-ness. (Is that a word?)
Here’s just a very simple graphic that’s coming out of the Sydney Opera photo. Small overlay but mainly it’s about abstracting the iconic lines and bringing it down to basic black … and white.
The original photo is all about curves and movement to me so I’m trying to emphasize that again and again. I trashed the background, leaving me with the simplicity of the metal curves, the danger of the razors (that I highlighted) and the wispy fragility of the plastic bag remnants. Because of the barbed wire and razor wire I added a very light cage-like overlay in the background along with deeply colored curves and circles to give it some heat and immediacy.
I liked the photo so much that I never imagined where it would take me on my computer … but I do like the road I’m on. Not better, just different.
I’ve got a lot more work to do on these and a bunch of other Accidental Art to work with — so back to it. I’d love to hear from you with any reactions whatsoever you may have of this and other posts. Till then.