|A collection of thoughts
not in any particular order.
After a few years of making digital art montages I began to think that
there was lot more to it than the final single image. I found some code
that could be used to merge two images so that I could have a before
and an after. That satisfied me for awhile but even so I thought
something was missing.
At the time I'd got Windows Movie Maker 6 (still available for Win10
Google will find it) it's the best of the free programs. I was able to
make continual merges using it and found it very good indeed.
I wanted to do other things like have layers which WMM6 couldn't do and
looked around for another program. I found Cyberlink Power Director 14
after trying lots of 30 day trials. Even the most inexpensive version
has all the tools to make all sorts of effects using layers and masks.
Anything I can think of that I want to do can be done in it, it's a bit
like Photoshop in that respect.
I did wonder if using still images to make a video was actually a
video. I was fortunate to have my first screening at a Gallery in
Sheffield, the local university across the road has a film and
television course. I was able to ask the students who came across to
look at my video if indeed they thought my work was a video and got a
To say I was pleased about that is putting it mildly, I'd suddenly become a video artist and mightily glad to be so.
Using software I am able to create images that I would never have been
able to when I used film and a darkroom to print them. I can look at a
subject and think what I can make of it, the out of camera file is just
the start of my processes. Being able to do it this way gives me the
opportunity to make images from the most mundane subjects.
I enjoy posing for the figurative ones I feel a 'oneness' and a touch
by something infinite as I do. The history of the area I live in is
plainly visible from Roman mines to three hundred million year old
fossils. These thoughts influence me to make the very best of my images
Figure in the landscape
We are so attuned to searching for faces/figures that it makes it very
difficult to create a 'figure in the landscape' image, where the figure
becomes part of the picture and not just its subject. Is it possible,
I’m so close to these images that I am unable to give a definitive
The male figure
I do get 'stick' for posing as I do from males who think that only
"worthless women" should pose whilst they as 'superior males' should be
directing the shots from behind the camera and then I get the ageist
thing for being old and wearing a skimpy costume, 'you should not be
disporting yourself in this shocking manner at your age' The comments
are compilations and reductions of what I have had directed at me over
the past six years as I taught myself how to make montages.
To put myself in some sort of context I've posed for self images since
I had enough money to buy my first camera and darkroom stuff. I've been
married for forty six years and my wife is my severest critic, she
always says let me look now (at my latest image) and make up my mind
about it tomorrow.
In 1998 I came across the Digital Montage Art of Catherine McIntyre
made in Photoshop. 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 helped me with some
very basic ideas of how to cut out images using Ps. She said then that
the techniques are best learned by finding them for yourself. 13 years
later 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 2
years 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
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.
At last I've reached the stage in life when I don't care what other
people think of my images, I do what pleases me at a particular time, I
change my mind, I think of new ways to express my thoughts and images
and just go ahead and do it, with the greatest pleasure. If someone
likes my stuff I'm pleased and thank them, if they don't and say so
well that's fine I don't bother now to offer a rebuttal just explain
that they should go their own way too.
Most importantly for me I am one of those fortunate enough to have
found what I want to do photographically; it fills my mind like nothing
else ever has. I love posing for the figurative bits, I love the
countryside that surrounds us here, I like the towns not far away, the
scrap yards are wonderful places to find images and I love making
montages, above all I like to create images that I think are beautiful.
I work on each image separately and what I do varies according to how I
felt at the time I took the photo and how I felt when I posed for the
figurative one and how I felt the images should be combined. I make
them for myself they are my personal take on whatever I point my camera
at. I am a chancer rather than a photographer what the camera sees is
not what I saw but is only someway towards it. That's why I like to
take full control over the process from inception to presentation.
I heartily detest the word 'workflow' intimating that the same
technique can be applied to many images on a 'production line basis'. I
work on each one of my images as though it is unique gem and demands
special treatment. I can spend a whole day on one image and not get it
'right'. I have to leave it with the thought that there is something
good there I just haven't found the right way into it yet.
And what a glorious moment it is to finally see the image emerge just
how I wanted it to be. It's one of the joys in my life.