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When Editing Confuses…

I will be the first to say that planning a shoot ahead of time will not only save an artist shooting and editing time, it will also be more likely to make the process go smoother as well. However, there are times when, despite thorough planning, an image just doesn’t come out as you envisioned. It happens to me sometimes. I only share about 50% of what I shoot because something isn’t quite right, or it just wasn’t as striking as I had hoped. I recently embarked on a new photo series where I would be using a collaging method in editing of putting one picture on top of another. The nature of this compositing wasn’t as cut and dry as it normally is for me. Instead, I had wiggle room to play with where the different elements of the photo would go, and that is a whole new ballgame.

This is the first picture that I edited. Through each of these three edits, I use largely the same images to put them together. Because of making different choices of where to place the different elements, the pictures came out quite differently. In this first edit, I was worried that the burnt paper would seem heavy-handed, like I slapped a texture onto the photograph. I liked all of the pieces individually, but when it came together it didn’t feel quite right. I decided to have another go at it, this time identifying the problem of the heavily curled paper. I decided to go with a more minimalist approach and have the actual paper on fire, mimicking the sun.

In this second attempt at an edit, the image felt too blank as well as too busy at the same time. How, I thought, could an image seem to encompass two opposite aesthetics? The fiery paper was a bold choice, but the image itself was perhaps not the right one to try it out on. The image is, at it’s core, minimalist in itself. A girl lying nude in a field does not require theatrics to make it stand out. I went about asking myself what I liked from the first and what I liked from the second. My favorite aspect of the first was the way the burning paper overlapped the subject. My favorite thing about the second was the minimalism of it and how that allowed the subject and surroundings to shine through.

These decisions caused me to put together the third and final image shown here. It was a combination of careful thought and experimentation. Finally I feel as though the final image has enough balance to be visually pleasing. It keeps the technique of the overlapping paper which I was initially attracted to, yet also does not feel as heavy-handed as the others. Looks like I’ll have to think up a new image to use a fiery-sun-hole-ball in.

{ 4 } Comments

  1. Jarka H. | November 2, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Amazing idea, Brooke! It´s nice to see how you think while creating your pieces :)

  2. Maria | November 2, 2011 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Brook, thank you for sharing with us! It was so interesting to read about how you came up with this idea. These three variants arouse completely different feelings from the observer. I especially like the one you have chosen because it looks harmonically. But I also like the first variant as it so to say ‘heavy’ and grammatical.

  3. Lash | November 2, 2011 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Thanks for showing us how you edited the image. I do think your final choice is the best of the three. Congratulations on the careful work.

  4. Caitlyn | November 2, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    I really enjoy the second one. Thanks for this insight Brooke!

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