|Jem Raid self portrait figurative
I've been an amateur photographer since I was a kid and went through all the usual; night school for a couple City & Guilds qualifications, had fourteen exhibitions in the 90's. I made my own 4x5 wooden field camera and I've taken the Cyanotype printing process to making permanent Tannin toned prints. All old stuff and as far as I am concerned now blind alleys, in 1998 I came across the Digital Montage Art of Catherine McIntyre made in Photoshop version 4. I was utterly and completely bowled over by the beauty, harmony, colour and sheer audacity of her images.
I got in touch with her later that year and she was able to help me with some very basic ideas of how to cut out images using Photoshop. She said then that the techniques are best learned by finding them for yourself. Late in 2011 I got so angry with myself and my failure to create anything I decided that I must push everything else to one side and concentrate on montage.
Catherine is quite right with some knowledge of the very basics it is possible to make a start. I knew that I'd 'arrived' one day about eighteen months later when she said this in a message, "It's great you're reaching into yourself for something far more expressive and exciting (than straight photography) And what a brilliant thing it is, an artistic development - it's the best thing one can possibly do with one's time, imho! Enjoy!" I treasure these words.
This is, "The soul of the blasted pine" a self image made by Anne Brigman in 1908
I first saw it in a book of photographs about the members of the Photo Secession whose work was originally published in the magazine Camera Work they strived to have photography accepted as a Fine Art.
This image has remained in my consciousness for the last thirty years or so and my prevarications prevented me from making my own self images until now.
Influenced by Anne I search through my 1,000's of images to find those that will be a suitable 'locations' for my poses.
It occurred to me in 2015 that if I could find the right code I would be able to cross fade two images to create a before and an after. After a lot of Googling I found some CSS code on Rich Bradshaw's web site http://css3.bradshawenterprises.com/cfimg/ it works very well indeed and I'm very grateful to him.
Going on from there I thought of putting a series of images into a video using the software that comes with Win 8.1. This works very well and is fairly easy to learn there being a lot more to the program than I realised after first looking at it. The crossfades though are very short and I soon realised that I wanted long fades to gradually merge the images.
After trying lots of free programs and the trial versions of ones for sale I settled on Cyberlink Power Director 14 Ultra, the program is very good indeed and if I can think of something that I want to do the tools to create it are there within the program. Many programs offer piles of 'effects' this one doesn't I have to create my own and I can tailor them to exactly what I want.
Many of my sound tracks are created using the free music obtainable on You Tube I edit them to suit a video using the free audio program Audacity http://www.audacityteam.org/. Recently I have been using Drone FX https://www.dronefx.com/ a wonderfully configurable synthesiser for those like me who wish to create their own audio tracks.
Cheers - Jem