Moth Drama: Transforming The Ordinary into Art

25 Jan
Click to view the full 9-image set

A moth in full drama mode. The ordinary becomes extraordinary through photography & apps. Click to see what went into creating this image.

Here’s a look at how a simple moth can serve as subject for a striking, dramatic image by way of a macro lens attachment and some basic iPhone app editing (mainly Photoforge2, which I review here). Through the course of nine images, I take you through how the ordinary transforms into a fulfilling creative experience.

The effect of the final image above reflects my initial vision: dramatic gravity drawing the eye to the fine and generally unseen detail in this humble moth. To me, this is a great example of how photography, especially when spurred by photo-sharing experiences like Instagram, can elevate our everyday surroundings to an evocative level of art readily appreciated by others.

Moth Drama Set
Click to view the step-by-step creation of the final image at top.
Instagram promo for this post - click to see series at Flickr

Instagram promo for this post - made with Phonto, Labelbox & Photoforge2 apps

In the  case of the final image, I got the texture I was after by shooting with Hipstamatic then adjusting the result of that with layers in Photoforge2. But I wanted more dimension than just grayscale, so I added some red. To do this, I duplicated the grayscale layer and added red via the “colorize” function. Then I then masked portions of the top (red) layer to allow the bottom (gray) layer to appear through, using varying brush sizes and opacities. Finally, I set the blending mode of the top (red) layer to overlay, and set the opacity to 75%. Same principles also work in Photoshop, which is one reason I so strongly endorse Photoforge2.

If the above description gets you excited (you nerd), definitely check out the step-by-step series with notes at Flickr.

What do you think? Have you taken the ordinary to an artful place through photography or some other means? Have you done any macro photography of your own, and if so what’s your experience been like? What gear do you recommend? What’s your opinion on creating art from the everyday world? Do you find tips/tutorials like this useful? Let us hear from you in the comments!
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8 Responses to “Moth Drama: Transforming The Ordinary into Art”

  1. Pigeon Heart January 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    Wowsa! All that with your iphone? Nice eye! I need to switch plans…

    • rsmithing January 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

      Thank you very much. Indeed, the iPhone 4’s camera is as good or better than a point-and-shoot, and apps only enhance the experience. I’d recommend anyone in the market for a basic digital camera consider just going for the iPhone strictly because it’s so convenient.

  2. MikeC366 January 27, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    Richard. I love your workflow for this shot. Where do you live, Elm Street? Shows what you can do with very little. Really a have-another-look photo.
    M.

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