Photoshop: Digital Collage (and Doctoring)

I abstractly based the following two “digital collages” on Brian Dettmer’s works, combining layers of letters, words, and texts from photographs I’ve taken with photos I took of my best friend last week for the class assignment, striving for a kind of cacophony of visual stimuli and symbols, mixing the amorphousness of people, the complexity of facial expression, with the concreteness and visual rigidity of letters, whether printed or scrawled. 

In the first piece, I layered several images of text on top of the portrait of the face, leaving the face of the subject cut out in each layer, so that it protrudes through the array of symbols and colors which surround it.


In the second, the layers completely cover the image of the subject’s mouth, obscuring and altering it in interesting ways. It seemed interesting and appropriate to have a mouth, obscured by layer upon layer of words, most incomprehensible, forming an impression of cacophonous speech, noise, and the difficulties of real communication in a stimulus-drenched world. I sort of liked how the overlay of textual images makes the image of the mouth itself look as though it has been created out of scraps of colored paper or like one of those pictures created by the arrangement of many smaller pictures.


In the process of playing around and experimenting with different features in Photoshop, I also tried doctoring a few photos, like the one below. The results, as you can see, are a little bit funny and a lot disturbing. I used a photo of me with my friend Peter and switched our eyes, putting my eyes on him and his eyes on me. I also tried one with another photo in which I transplanted my mother’s face onto my father’s body and my father’s face onto my mother’s body, but in the interest of preserving the dignity of the parties involved, I won’t post that one.

Before: The original photo 


After: swapped eyes=very scary 


Finally, here’s another sort of digital collage I sort of liked. I combined a photograph from last summer of my sister sleeping on a couch with a photograph I took recently of a rainbow reflected onto the floor of my bedroom. The texture of the wood grain in the floor combined with the vivid rainbow colors creates a nice kind of texture and visual interest, I think.



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