Exercise: Photomontage

For this exercise I was asked to create a political photomontage. I decided to google some environmental issues as they will always be a current concern. Fossil fuel and fracking for shale oil and gas was one of these issues that kept coming up high in the search results. I imagined my image being used to accompany an article on drilling for crude oil or fracking, I didn’t prepare any sketches for this, I wanted to search through images and pull an idea from the collected elements.

I know of a site where I can get royalty free stock imagery so I started by selecting some I started by selecting planet earth some environments, cloud sky, one of the articles related the oil industry to the human heart, saying that “oil was the life blood of industry” I decided to use this idea as it would surely produce some strong imagery. I then selected an image of a heart, I thought that earth as a fragile hollow egg would also look quite good and serve the narrative. I selected many images only some where of use, I have included these below.

Of course just the right images weren’t always available so I did need to adapt some for purpose, such as a stack of maple syrup soaked pancakes.

I worked in photoshop, I created an art-board and added all the images I had gathered next to my working space, I used these images at their full size and set them as smart objects, this meant I could scale up and down without any loss of quality. As this document would serve as a live sketch this would ensure that I have the flexibility to re arrange all the elements I was using.

I removed backgrounds and any unwanted parts of the images with layer masks, again I did this so I could add or remove and adjust as needed. but during the first stages I didn’t focus on accuracy, as I knew it would be time wasted if I spent any length of time and decided to remove the layer as the idea took form.

I cut around the outer egg shell and made a copy on a separate layer, I used this as a template to cut out the earth and lay this over the top. I wanted to show the earth hollow and vulnerable, its heart exposed and the life blood being drained into a fuel pump, the egg itself was intended as a symbol of life. I used the cityscape and a paper texture as a sandy desert.

Once I was happy with the composition I refined and finessed any rough edges with a fine brush in the layer mask. Finally I made some slight colour adjustments to the overall image to unify all the elements into one common theme.

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