Some days you just wake up and decide to make psychedelic patterns out of your dusty old photos. Here are a few of my pictures with a newer, math-rockier lease on life.
I have about a hundred of Chris Spooner's design tutorials bookmarked in Chrome right now, but when I saw this one, I dropped everything and had to try it then and there. The only question was what photo to choose.
In my gigantic folder of as-of-yet untouched images, I pulled out a neat little shot I took of myself in a mirror at Goethe's house over in Frankfurt. Something about the lighting and the old mirror gave the image a really flat look that seemed wonderfully surreal.
I followed Chris's instructions exactly and produced the image above. Once I got the hang of it, things moved along at a pretty good clip, using the magic wand to select the in-between areas, move the selection elsewhere, copy it, and then pop it back into place . The only problem: I got addicted. I needed more, more, MORE!
What I liked about Chris's piece was his use of the blue sky as big chunks of the final design, making it look more like a pattern than the fractured-mirror effect from above. Naturally, I looked to the animal kingdom for answers.
This shot is from the wonderful Safari Park in San Diego. What's not pictured? A women taunting the lion, and the lion's bellowing roar in response to her. Public service announcement: People! Do not tease the lions! Despite how majestic they look when they roar, it's simply not a good idea.
In this photo as in the one above, I left the faces and bodies intact and created an abstract frame around them. Because I wanted to give both a mirror-like refraction feeling, I used pieces of the subject elsewhere, like the lion's muzzle and my own hands. I was glad I tried this, but I wasn't sure if using a subject-centric photograph was even the right idea in the first place.
That's when this happened:
This is an iPhone photo I took about two years ago of a beautiful tutu at my beloved ballet studio, Berkeley Ballet Theater. At the time, I'd just downloaded a photo app that added a sparkly dots of light as a filter, which I thought was pretty cool — and then quickly proceeded to get tired of. But as an abstracted photo collage, this old image takes on a whole new life.
For this (and the lion), I created my own shape templates in Illustrator, pumping up the stroke quite a bit to give it more impact. For the tutu, I made it my goal to abstract the image as much as possible, leaving virtually no space untouched. This is harder than it seems! But I think the tutu piece stands out as the strongest of the three because there were simple more colors in the original image to choose from, and the eye doesn't get distracted by any portion of it that is representative, like a face, muzzle, or hands. (Or paws!)
This technique is pretty exciting to me, and I'm already dreaming up new ways I can use it to spike the proverbial punch of some of my dustiest, mustiest photos.
Thanks for reading!