Tag Archives: Jerry Uelsmann

Dream Theater After Uelsmann: Learning From The Masters

11 Oct

So I thought it would be fun to do another photomontage along the lines of my favorite visual artist, the amazing Jerry Uelsmann. Here’s my version of one of his works:

Dream Theater After Uelsmann

“Dream Theater After Uelsmann”
Click to view in high-resolution (way more interesting than the size shown here)

Here’s the original by Jerry Uelsmann:

Dream Theater by Jerry Uelsmann

Dream Theater by Jerry Uelsmann, 2004.

And here are my source images, all photographed by me over the last few years, with links to the full-size versions:

Originals for Dream Theater After Uelsmann

Original photos by me. Click for full size view.

Uelsmann is The Man

I hope to make it abundantly clear that the inspiration and vision for this image is 100% Uelsmann — I take no credit for the origination of the composition, and I’ve made efforts to make this clear in a number of places. My effort here is strictly a study of technique and a visual challenge, with full respect and homage to someone who inspires me. It was fun to do, and I’m pleased with the result.

What do you think? Have you ever photographed, drawn or painted after one of the masters or someone who inspires you? What was the outcome? Where do you go for inspiration? How does that take shape? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Artwork Feature At Lensblr.com

27 Sep

Many thanks to Lensblr.com for featuring my photomontage art today! The folks there were kind enough to highlight my recent piece, “Find What You Love,” which I created earlier this month. Here’s what it looks like at Lensblr:

"Find What You Love" by rsmithing

My art featured at Lensblr.com. Click to see more of my art at 500px.

Lensblr is a site that, in its own words, “advocates the original photographers on Tumblr — the ‘creators’ in the Tumblr world.” The site focuses specifically on Tumblr, where it seeks to “bring more attention to the creative works of the content creators on Tumblr.”

Social Media, Art and Blogging All In One

This is great for a Tumblr newbie like myself, since only recently do I understand Tumblr – which is exciting for more reasons than just having my artwork featured. I never would have discovered Lensblr were it not for the direct suggestion of another Tumblr user at Darkdisturbingbeautiful, who suggested I submit my art to Lensblr after having followed my blog and then messaging me through the site. Thanks again, Jason!

Adding to the experience, Tumblr user zombodystripe messaged me asking about how I created the piece. My reply made for a neat post on Tumblr all by itself, since adding images and links in replies is just as easy there as blogging. Here’s what I said about my process:

Q via zombodystripe: How did you do Find What You Love on your iPhone? Is there an app? What is it called? I’d love to try it!

My reply via Tumblr

My reply via Tumblr

A: For Find What You Love I took three photos with the Hipstamatic app: the treetops, the peeling paint and the flowers. I put them all together in a now-extinct app called Photoforge2, but you can use any app that supports layers (like Filterstorm, Superimpose, others). I set layer modes according to light/dark for blending — mainly using overlay mode. Finally, I masked out areas I wanted to keep or erase, then merged all layers and did overall sharpening/exposure adjustments to bring it together. I use things like vignettes and textures to unify also, so everything has a similar feel. If you like this, definitely check out more of my photomontages at 500px, and especially the work of Jerry Uelsmann – he is the grand master of montages and my inspiration. And he does all this by hand with film in the darkroom. More on him at this post I did at my blog: “Learning From The Masters.”

Sites like Lensblr greatly enrich the Tumblr experience – and I don’t just say that because they featured my stuff. Definitely check it out if you’re into creative photography and images.

What do you think? What’s something you’ve been turned on to by way of social media or a blog? Was it a temporary interest, or did it further a lasting connection? Let us hear from you in the comments.

 

Find What You Love

18 Sep
Find What You Love by rsmithing
Find What You Love, a photo by rsmithing on Flickr.

And let it set you free.

This is a play on the phrase by Charles Bukowski, “find what you love and let it kill you.” I like his phrase, but I also like the idea of setting something free or being set free in the name of love. This is a montage I assembled on my iPhone using a shot of a couple of treetops at sunset (with the moon rising), a roadside view of some wildflowers, and a gash of peeling paint in a parking deck. I also consider it to be in the style of my favorite visual artist, Jerry Uelsmann, whose work is endlessly inspiring to me. Click to see the originals and full-size version in greater detail at my Flickr photostream.

What do you think? Are there any litereary quotes that have stuck with you through time? Have you ever been inspired visually by something from literature? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Christie’s CEO Justifies Social Media in 5 Seconds

17 Jul

In an interview with Marketplace, The CEO of auction house, Christie’s, Steven Murphy, put forth one of the best justifications for businesses getting on social media there is. It stood out to me for its utter salience and logic. Here is the exchange:

Marketplace: Christie’s on Twitter? I think the world just exploded.

Murphy: Yes. Well, why not? Our customers are on Twitter. We should be too. Our clients are spending 60 percent of each day online with some screen, so we need to be there too.

Jerry Uelsmann, Untitled, 1969

Who says montages aeren’t profitable? Here’s one offered by Christie’s from my all-time favorite artist, Jerry Uelsmann

Simple as that.

On the surface, a company founded in 1766 wouldn’t seem to be the case study for social media, but if that’s where your customers are — well, that’s a pretty good justification.

Christie’s is also on Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook, among others. I think these highly visual networks are the perfect showcase for the treasures coming through Christie’s that much of the public may never have the chance to lay eyes upon. Check out their profiles for a look at some highly compelling art.

Going once, going twice….

What do you think? Do you know of other companies making strong use of social that might not “fit the mold” on the surface? Ever purchased anything at auction (besides eBay)? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Artwork Feature at Xaxor.com

3 Jul

Many thanks to XAXOR.com for featuring my photomontage art today! The lead image is my experiment in understanding the work of  Jerry Uelsmann, documented here at “Learning from the Masters.”

Xaxor.com features my artwork today

My art featured at Xaxor.com. Click to view. See more of my art at 500px.

I happened upon XAXOR.com by way of Pinterest, and enjoy the mountain of interesting visuals there – all neatly arranged in categories. The site describes itself as, “a gallery of the most awesome pictures online. Our frequently updated database contains over 40,000 articles and 1 million photos.” Definitely worth a look if you’re into that kind of thing.

Learning From The Masters

12 Apr

As a young guitarist, I learned how to play by listening to my favorite songs and figuring out the riffs. As a young graphic designer, I figured out techniques by recreating ads and absorbing the principles of layout. I sought out the occasional tutorial and picked up things along the way, but a large part of what came to be my creative expression has it roots in studying and emulating the work of others.

Comparison of "Untitled 1989" by Jerry Uelsmann and my own study after.

Comparison of “Untitled 1989” by Jerry Uelsmann and my own study after.

That’s the approach I took recently with my growing photomontage fascination. Over the past few years I’ve been making photomontages with my iPhone and image editing apps like Photoforge2 and Dynamic Light. It’s been particularly rewarding when developing pieces along the lines of my favorite artists, one of which is the great Jerry Uelsmann.

So I was looking through one of my printed Uelsmann books for inspiration and came across this image:

Click for a closer look at Uelsmann's work at Faded & Blurred

Untitled, 1989 · ©Jerry Uelsmann

I then decided to make it a weekend project to emulate the image in an attempt to gain experience and get closer to the techniques involved. Of course, apps and and iPhone are no darkroom and enlargers, but some fundamental composition principles carry over, as I discovered in creating my own version:

My take on Uelsmann

My take on Uelsmann. Click to view at full size. Created via iPhone.

This consists of a view of the sky from downtown Winston-Salem, about 14 stories up; a house from Old Salem, (historical area of my city); my own hands, and my flannel-shirt-wearing self at sunset.I had some help on the portrait and hands shots with the CameraSharp app’s timer, along with a tripod.

Four Source Files

My source files for this composition. Click to view at full size.

I can say that it was at once freeing and challenging to work toward a specific vision, bringing these elements together. I make no claim to total originality here, since the idea is obviously Uelsmann’s, but I’m satisfied with how it turned out. I may yet use the elements in future compositions, and I will probably revisit the challenge again one day of emulating and learning from the masters.

What do you think? Have you ever created art after something or someone that’s inspired you? Do any other examples of this come to mind? Let us hear from you in the comments.

The Met goes Online for the Photo-Sharing Masses

24 Oct

Instagram, meet your ancestors: an exhibit’s digital version bridges the generations of old school photo manipulation and our social media-fueled image sharing obsessions.

There’s an astounding display of pre-computer-era photomontage and photomanipulation now exhibiting at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City: Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop. It’s got everything from vintage trickery to surrealist expressions, all done before the advent of digital tools like Photoshop. In a beautiful irony, the exhibition is made possible by Adobe, makers of the Photoshop software.

But you don’t have visit NYC to see it…

What’s amazing to me, and what inspired this post, is that there’s an equally astounding digital representation of the works available for your browsing pleasure – more than 200 in all. Online, for free. Which is pretty darned sweet.

Faking It - Manipulated Photography before Photoshop at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's website.

Click this link at the site and enjoy.

An innocuous “Works in the Exhibition” link just above the fold at The Met’s website takes you to an incredible look at what’s inside. I call it incredible not just for the content (which is beyond incredible to me), but because it exists online for our easy perusal and sharing. I’m thrilled not only to see such amazing art here, but also to see The Met’s embracing of the digital community in order to promote the exhibit.

The site features an elegant photo slide show, complete with sharing functionality to Pinterest, Tumblr, StumbleUpon and other networks. They even offer hi-res jpegs of some of the works for extra-close viewing or downloading via fullscreen mode.

Download select images from the exhibition

There’s an app for that, of course

Perhaps you would prefer to view these works on your iPad? No problem. The free iPad app accompanying the exhibition offers easy browsing of a handful of the included works and an interactive quiz exploring the motivations and techniques.

There's an app for that.The app’s target audience seems to be the kids, and I bet this would make a fascinating case to a young creative mind about the power of photo manipulation as art and the importance of questioning what we see – with the latter becoming ever more important considering the issues raised by digital photo editing and popular notions of beauty.

More than just “fakes”

Long before Instagram or Photoshop, there was darkroom wizardry. What got me interested in the exhibit in the first place was its inclusion of amazing photomontage art from the likes of Jerry Uelsmann (my all-time top inspiration) and Angus McBean:

More than just "Fakes"

Jerry Uelsmann, “Untitled,” 1976.                       Angus McBean, “Christmas Card,” 1949,

In my opinion, the app and companion website add tremendous value to the whole endeavor, allowing people to connect and interact with historically relevant art in ways that are common these days because of experiences like InstagramPinterest – and especially Photoshop. Huge props to Adobe for sponsoring this.

Thanks to the Met’s generous actions in the digital realm, I’m even more inclined now to physically visit the museum, see these works in person and probably buy a catalogue in the meantime (and speaking of catalogues, check out these other more than 300 Met Museum catalogues downloadable for free).

Having been a graphic artist for many years, I’ve practically lived in Photoshop as an operating system, and working there is my favorite part of design, more so than typography or arranging layouts – leading right up to today with my own iPhone photomontage creations:

The Aha Moment - Richard Smith

“The Aha Moment”
More of my stuff at Pinterest or 500px.

I’m happy to have signed up for a My Met membership thanks to this excellent digital representation, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of what’s to come – something I hadn’t much considered until discovering the online component of this exhibit. Props to The Met for harnessing and embracing the power of the Internet for cultural benefit. Now go visit The Met’s site, metmuseum.org and discover something cool for yourself.

What do you think? Does such open sharing increase or decrease the value of museum offerings? Or is that a non-issue in our world of mobile photography, photo-sharing networks and interconnectedness? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Belief in the One True Power: Foto Fridays

19 Oct

Belief in the One True Power

Belief in the One True Power
Click for full-size at 500px

Here’s a photomontage I did recently using my iPhone and some choice apps. I was visiting the Grove Arcade in Asheville, NC a few weeks ago and noticed the sunlight looking interesting around this stairwell, so I snapped a black & white with Hipstamatic. Later in the week a gnarled tree trunk in my neighborhood caught my attention, so I snapped that.

Click to see the ingredients at Flickr

I knew I wanted to do something with the tree and the stairwell, but it looked incomplete when editing just those in Photoforge2, so I snapped a candle that happened to be burning when I was working on this. Finally, I added some texture with the TtV Photo Studio app, then some magic from the universe… and there we go.

But What Does it Mean?

The title of this image is from a lyric in a song by one of my favorite bands, The Deftones, titled, “Pink Cellphone.” It’s an airy, dark, and experimental-sounding track – qualities also applicable to this image, so I thought it was an appropriate fit. It’s not my intent to promote any belief an any kind of power whatsoever. I just like the sound of the song and the pairing with the image.

If there is any one true power as far as this kind of thing goes, it’s the brilliant photomontage work of Jerry Uelsmann. If you like my humble creation here, definitely check out his stuff. This piece in particular reflects my appreciation for his art.

Thanks to Mitzi Rice, who suggested this image for blog fodder over at Instagram. Check out her blog, Mit Lear Moments.

What do you think? Ever made a photomontage? Do you see a connection between visual art and music? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Up With The Sun: a MobileArtistry Feature

4 Sep

The Instagram-based group, MobileArtistry, includes me in their gallery today as a featured artist. I created this montage as an example of my style for the feature and did the following writeup on my technique. My huge thanks to them for the highlight.

Up With The Sun - click to see more like this at Pinterest

Up With The Sun – click to see more like this at Pinterest

Ever since seeing a book of Jerry Uelsmann’s photomontages in college, I’ve been fascinated with the art form and have since become motivated to become a professional graphic artist, designing for over 16 years now. Manipulating reality for artistic effect in Photoshop has always been my favorite part of designing, so when I discovered iPhoneography, and especially the app Photoforge2, which is very similar to Photoshop, I was hooked. It was seeing the evocative iPhoneography of Sion Fullana that inspired me to give it a go, and Sion was even good enough to share his guidance with me on what apps to get started with.

Repost of Up With The Sun at MobileArtistry

Repost of “Up With The Sun” at MobileArtistry

How The Magic Happens

I basically take photos all the time with my iPhone 4 of whatever I find interesting. When the urge to create strikes, I’ll mix ’em up and see what happens. It’s really as simple as that. Sometimes I know exactly where I’m headed, and other times I’m just along for the ride, letting magic from the universe do the driving.

For this montage, I combined two photos I took on a Saturday in late summer: one of a wig mannequin at a beauty supply shop, and another of a rising cloud at a winery out in the country. Both were shot originally in with Hipstamatic, using the John S. lens. Wig girl was shot with Rock BW-11 film, and the cloud was shot with Blanko film. You can see the originals at my Flickr stream.

Originals for this montage - click to view at Flickr

Originals for this montage – click to view at Flickr

I brought wig girl into Dynamic Light and gave her the Solarize treatment. I also used Noir to get the right mix of monochrome highlights in the cloud scene. Next, I brought both images together in Photoforge2, each on its own layer. I set wig girl’s blending mode to Overlay, then selectively hid and revealed bits of each layer via masking. Finally, I did some minor cloning cleanup in Filterstorm, then added the copyright & signature with Phonto. I named this after a U2 song lyric in “Gone,” an expansive rising track that seemed appropriate for this composition.

What’s amazing to me is how, as I’ve become adept with a few apps, I can pull techniques from each of them almost like selecting colors on a palette. It’s like having a box of tools to achieve an artistic vision… that fits in your pocket and makes phone calls, too.

Thanks very much to MobileArtistry for featuring me – it’s an honor to be included with such beautiful, creative art. Definitely check out their great gallery for consistently innovative creations.

Image

Dream Catcher – Single Image Sundays

3 Jun

20120603-222100.jpg

I put this montage together over the weekend. I shot the elements separately with Hipstamatic, adjusted lighting in Noir, then assembled everything in Photoforge2. Inspired by the work of the great Jerry Uelsmann.

If you like this, check out the full-size version at Flickr, and follow the “My Creations” board over at Pinterest.

What do you think? Are you into montages and/or collages, and what is your opinion on the difference? Have you ever heard of Jerry Uelsmann, or been influenced by another artist? Let us hear from you in the comments!
%d bloggers like this: