Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

An old jewelry holder turns eerily gothic under Topaz Labs “simplify” filter. I love how the filter kept the touch of dainty rose on the flower, while converting the rest into black and grey tones. “Simplify” removes details and smooths the pixels. Another good look for this photo was the “gritty” i used on the display i showed last week, the flapperish girl with the sculpted hairstyle. A program of plug ins (plus the standard filters that come with Photoshop Elements) can change your photos in amazing ways. Don’t be afraid to take a favorite photo and apply a bunch of filters to it. This photograph was taken at ARTpool Gallery, as usual, the wonderful vignettes are made possible by the magnificent styling of Marina Williams.

This vintage gal wearing a starfish reminds me of the 1920s. The original shot was much smoother and the red was more of a tomato color. I altered it with Topaz Labs filter “gritty 2” which changed the red to this burgundy and the creamier skin tones to a greytone/sepia look which i thought fitted the referenced time frame. I found her at the fabulous ARTpool Gallery in St. Pete on my last visit. Posting to the blog has slowed down reflecting my current activities of cleaning house, decluttering rooms and garage and working on the runway show at ARTpool in July. We have our photo shoot the last of June and all looks have to be complete for that. I ended up using drink umbrellas and party flowers for the accessories and silk flowers for the headpieces. Working primarily with a geisha inspired theme. It’s been a fun experience even though it is out of my customary box. Special thanks to my sister Linda and mom for all their support. Plus husband Bob of course.

Playing around with a mannaquin image shot at the marvelous ARTpool Gallery in St. Petersburg. I flattened the image by pushing the contrast, highlight and shadows to the ends of the scale, creating a less detailed surface. Then I applied the Lomo filter from Topaz Labs, making it look sepia, vintage and edgy all at once. I like the stuff in the background playing across the flat look of the profile, and the detail in the jewelry. This kind of altering, using filters and pushing the lighting levels takes only a few minutes and gives you many options for one good photograph.

I’m working on several tote bags for the Trashion Fashion show at ARTpool Gallery in July. This one features an original photograph, Asian newspaper, napkins and tissue. I put a very thin wash of gesso over the top of all the components and scrubbed most of it off, to unify the elements a tad. I will probably do some additional surface design to soften the edges of the photo, perhaps some stenciling on the darker parts of the photo or some stamping. I found these totes, about half a dozen all the same, at a thrift store for $1 each. They are canvas-y material and had the company’s imprint on them. Easy to cover that up with a photo. I usually start the process by gesso-ing the front of the bag in white and I leave the sides black for the graphic quality.

Look closely

Posted: May 15, 2012 in photography
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If you look closely at this photograph, taken by an unknown shooter many years ago, you will see a very clear double exposure image. While we can produce these kinds of things in Elements and PS, there is something magical and just a tad creepy about a double exposure produced in camera. This is a found photograph and one that I treasure, not just because of the double trouble but because I enjoy the guy leaning up against a huge tree on a lazy afternoon out with his peeps having fun and somebody snapped the pix. This image has found it’s way into three canvases so far and I do not tire of him. Don’t overlook not so early photos. The rage for a long time has been late 1800s, but mid 20th century photography has a more accessible quality. I grew up with photos like this and will always love them and now I use them in my art because it is becoming a lost art.

I picked up about half a dozen black edged canvas totes at a thrift store a while back and decided to alter them with photography and mixed media. The mannaquin photo is an original, altered a bit in Elements. That is a flattened drink umbrella in the upper right corner and a sassy crow image from Kerry Carbary in the upper left. The rest is tissue paper, asian newspaper, stenciling and rub-0n letters. The other side is collaged in a similar manner. This bag is about 4 years old but I notice my style hasn’t changed all that much. These materials remain favorites, as does my love of mannaquins as photo fodder. This tote and several other altered purses will be featured in the Trashion Fashion show at ARTpool Gallery in July. The first time any of my wearables have been in a show. Yippee!

This is not a great crop. While the chain is interesting and most of the focal points are in the rule of thirds, there is an annoying plant from the foreground surging up on the left, and the dribs from something that should have been entirely cropped out on the edge of the middle bottom. The chain is beautifully done but there isn’t enough variety to hold the interest of the viewer. In this case, a little too much repetition, so much so that we find the distracting plant and darker element almost a relief. The artist is not to blame for the lack of interest. This item was at the very bottom of the wall, it was never meant to be a focal point, but rather (in my opinion) a filler. Yes, a very well executed filler, but a filler. I do love seeing the patterning on the wall behind the chain, but again, this is background in a very small area, not meant to have our undivided attention. My point is this. Just because I am in love with something, like the look of this sprayed chain, does not mean it can carry a crop. There must still be an adherence to rules of good composition, plus a little more to look at.

Another crop of the magnificent graffiti wall shown earlier in the week. This crop follows the rule of thirds, with the lightest toned part of the image (mountain) on a third. We have an off centered crop and the repetition of the shape of triangles three times in the focal points. When selecting elements to crop, a good rule of thumb is to use an odd numbered amount of focals. We have lost and found. Keep in mind that the eye goes to the lightest color first when viewing an image, so the lightest should be well placed. There is a hierarchy of what the mind wants to see and how it orders it. Light color, face parts (human) face parts (animal) face parts (babies). Of the facial expressions, eyes then mouth. Hands and feet are important. Light colors moving to dark, other body parts. So if you want to crop a face, always try for the eyes first placed on a third, using the mouth on a third or eliminating the mouth for a stronger crop. That way the mind doesn’t have to play the choice game of what to look at. As I view this crop I notice a lack of emotional response. I was more interested in yesterday’s reptile tail. I believe that is because of the curvilinear look of the tail as opposed to the very linear shapes of these buildings. Also, these buildings are man made, the tail is natural and belonging, we assume, to something live even tho we couldn’t see the entire animal. We can appreciate the skill needed to create these buildings ON a building, the texture mixes, the shading for the windows and door, etc. But the image does not stir me like yesterday’s crop. Perhaps it is my skill in cropping, perhaps this crop is not as good as yesterday’s. But if it wasn’t for the mountain (nature) in the background, if that had been another man made building and not a mountain, you probably wouldn’t be looking at this image today. The mountain saves this crop from being a study in architecture.

From yesterday’s full document style picture of graffiti in St. Pete, we have today’s first crop of crops. When I was looking at the full pix yesterday the most intriguing part for me, being a reptile lover, was the tail billowing from the back of the Viking warrior. The artist rendered the scales most beautifully, and I love the shape, which reminds me of an upended infinity symbol. I wanted most of the tail to show, but not all of it, so I sacrificed the very end. This creates the desirable effect of “lost and found”, which is also in play on the right side of the crop. It is more intriguing for the image to “wander off” the page, and return, than to see the whole thing, perhaps smaller, in the shot. Of course, this could have been even further cropped by showing only the one top curled part of the tail…there are always several good options when an image is well composed to begin with. But I liked the blue against the grey-the yellow against the blue-and the part of what might be a shield in the very bottom right, with it’s runic suggestion. Please notice that the middle of my crop is nearly empty of interest. What is there is merely moving the eye to something more interesting. All the action is in the thirds and in the very bottom corners. While the viewer has no real idea of the magnitude of the original “document”, the crop is satisfying on it’s own and that is what I think makes a successful vignette. It creates the desire to see more, but not an empty desire.

Elizabeth from the excellent Glowing Wheel blog sent me a thoughtful comment yesterday after my post on cropping artwork. I appreciated the comment because it reminded me of how difficult it can be to get the original photo composed well, whether it is a found shot as above or a shot (scan) of our own artwork. Or composing the artwork to begin with is often a challenge. So I thought, on my 101th post, I would discuss the rule of thirds.

The rule of thirds is this: Imagine two equidistant lines vertically and horizontally over top of your image. Where these lines intersect is the most advantageous point for your main focus. There can be more than one focal point in a composition but one should be dominant and there should not be too many! For more insight than I have space for, check out “rule of thirds” on Wikipedia for a good explanation plus examples. The rule of thirds applies to photographs, collages, paintings and mixed media pieces as composition is always rule one. It doesn’t matter how fascinating or beautifully rendered the subject matter is, bad composition will not convey it.

The photo above documents what I saw on a wall in St. Pete approximately two years ago (sadly no longer there). The artist composed well and your eyes move successfully around the image in a satisfying way. One feels one has seen the entire composition in one look. This is good. As one who likes to crop, however, I see many intriguing areas, both inside and outside the “thirds” that I would like a closer look at. As the week progresses, I will do some cropping that satisfies my curiosity, and perhaps yours as well. I will try to explain how and why I cropped as I did. And you will get a closer look at this excellent artwork.