For Part 2 of the assignment I have to create images using digital methods, so I decided to do some research into artists working in this space I included some of my favourites such as Brooke Shaden and I also found a lot more this was something of an enlightening exercise. Here is my list:
- Brooke Shaden
- Jason Hahn
- Brandon Cawood
- Adrian Sommerling
- Michael Herb
- Erik Johansson
- Dave Hill
- Erik Almas
- Josh Rossi
- Tim Tadder
- Ben Shirk
- Antti Karppinen
Next, I looked at each artist to help understand their methods and ascetic these are listed in no particular order:
Brooke Shaden has been one of my favourite fin art photographers for many years, I wrote earlier about her and my meeting with her, I will not reiterate those things here instead I will talk about her work and how she achieves her goals.
Brook is a digital compositor, and her work involves blending and masking layers to create the image she is aiming for, she tends to shoot a location as a base for the image and will shoot images of a model (usually herself) in different poses and mask and blend these into the main scene. Brooke also uses blocks of colour and texture and blends those over the image to get the right feel and colour tone she will often do this multiple times with different colours and textures to achieve the final result.
Jason Hahn is a photographer and digital artist living in Pheonix, Arizona. His work consists of combining layers and again masking blending and colour grading. His images have a painterly feel though are mostly photographic images. Jason uses a combination of stock and own photographs due to life and time pressures that prevent him from doing as many photoshoots as he would like. He also says that as he is somewhat stuck in Arizona, he finds it hard to shoot some of the background images he needs to create some of his work.
Jason’s work has exactly the feel I am looking for and some of his work is edging towards the kind of fantasy I am looking to create.
Brandon Cawood is another digital composite artist who creates work that is somewhere between the hyper-real and surreal styles he says he likes his composites to have a polished commercial look while remaining believable.
He likes to take elements from different images and pull them together to create a story, and he pays particular attention to perspective and lighting to ensure that the parts combine believably. Brandon says that because the human eye is so cleaver even the slightest misalignment of perspective and light can throw an image off.
Brandon shoots almost all of his own digital assets except for a few textures, working commercially for clients means that he has to do this as his clients are looking for his unique eye on a subject, it also makes IPR and licencing simpler.
He states that his method is to clip the digital assets before masking so that he is only dealing with the parts of the assets that he wants to use he feels it is cleaner than masking out vast areas.
Adrien Sommeling is a photographer and digital artist, graphic designer and web developer from the Netherlands. He creates fantastical composites in a realistic but painterly style. He often uses himself and his son in his composites I think he also shoots his own digital assets but I have been unable to verify that fact.
His inspiration is derived from newspaper articles and conversations with his son, who inspired the pyramids shot shown here by asking who built the pyramids.
His work is a definite inspiration to my quest for practitioners to inform my work his images are very clever as they use a sense of humour to answer the strange questions that pop up in life. They enable Adrien to explore questions such as what would it be like to fly on a drone or what would a medieval selfie look like. Adrien uses his wit and humour to answer these questions in fantastical images.
His work shows a perfect appreciation of light and composition that make his composites look real and his treatment of the images give them a professional painterly feel. I have just discovered Adrien’s work and I am already a fan.
Michael Herb is a Las Vegas-based photographer who shoots his own digital assets in relatively big productions. There is an insight into his work on youtube https://youtu.be/Ln0rV8ILz6o This is a film shot while he was making the desert warriors series in the Nevada desert, it is also a product review for the Westcott Zeppelin which is a huge 56inch parabolic softbox that costs almost a thousand pounds. I don’t think I will be investing in one of those without sponsorship, though it was a great performer in the desert.
Michael creates very painterly composites that have the very commercial professional feel that many of the best composite artists are achieving Michael is no exception his work is beautiful and he creates a perfect atmosphere that I completely aspire too
Erik Johansson Is a Swedish digital photographer born in 1985 living and working in the Czech Republic. His work is surreal and created by blending different digital assets. Much of his work has the painterly feel that is common in the digital artists that I have been viewing I have been referring to it as a commercial or professional feel that is hard to put your finger on but once mastered exactly seems to elevate the work of the artist beyond the average amateur.
Erik Johansson is making precisely the style of work I admire though I have no desire to duplicate his work. I would love my work to have a similar feel.
As I am working my way through these selected artists I am starting to see something at the core of all their work that I want firmly at the heart of my own, I am struggling to put my finger on what it is and find myself currently unable to articulate it but I feel like I am starting to circulate the problem and draw closer to its identification and hopefully adoption. I am finding this module to be an excellent vehicle for refining and identifying the voice that I have been aware of but has been just out of my reach for some time now. This is an exciting journey for me.
Dave Hill is based quite close to me in West Sussex he works mainly for the British national press and magazines. His images are very high impact some call his style HDR, but I do not feel that an HDR treatment is the whole story of his work.
His work consists of digital manipulations and layering quite a bit of sharpening and that feel of grunge that does indeed come with high structure often associated with HDR.
I think that high structure is more the key to Dave Hills work than HDR, which is a highly overused term in photography for anything a little gritty.
Erik Almas is a Surreal photographer artist. His work has a high degree of realism thought the subject is often fantastical or improbable. He uses digital layering masking and blending to create the fantastic in his images.
I have spent a long time trying to identify that quality that makes a lot of these images look painterly or highly structured, Erik does not do this in the same way his images often look very real even though you know the girl can’t be holding up a train etc.
Having said that when you look through the composites on his web site, you soon realise there is something about their treatment that gives them that professional polish.
Josh Rossi has secret sauce in barrels I find his work inspiring, partly because he tackles subjects I find close to my heart but also because he is doing work, I would love to call my making. His work is gritty and painterly and beautifully constructed.
On instagram, he goes by the handle of Photoshop Dad and you can quickly tell why his kids must be popular at school as he kits them out in various superhero costumes and adds his usual polish to them.
Josh Rossi has a style that comes out even in relatively normal images of people. His treatment of the image has a voice and style that quickly identifies it as his own. I am somewhat in awe of his work.
Tim Tadda Has an extensive portfolio and has clearly been experimenting with his art for a long time. Some of his work fits more into my study than other parts. He is a talented photographer and his series Tecate Zodiac I find particularly inspiring and in keeping with this study.
Again Tim has a way of treating his images that again, give them his personal stamp, and like others, I can best describe them as professional. I realise that all of these artists I describe as having a professional touch and a dash of secret sauce, the realisation is that the secret sauce is not the same in each case thus it is slightly harder to identify but makes having a unique style more viable.
Ben is known for his photoshop templates that he sells to other photographers. He has made a name for himself creating composites based on sports memorabilia images. He creates images of people that demonstrate their sporting passion and can be placed in a house or bedroom as a keepsake.
Ben translated this talent into a series of reusable templates that enable other photographers to create similar images with their own photographs.
Ben is a master of the green screen and has created several training videos on extraction using a green and blue screen as well as marketing green and blue screen extraction actions for photoshop.
Antti Karppinen is a Finnish photographer and artist who teache his way of working until recently his training has been all in Finnish, but he has now started teaching in English which should see his work become more popular as the man is a genius.
His work is again filled with secret sauce and embodies everything I am trying to achieve in my own work.
Antti Karppinen is a photographer and artist I certainly admire and aspire after.
As you can tell from this post, there is a lot out there that makes up the genera of imagery that I am keen to create and I am as a direct result of this course getting closer to my goal and a deeper understanding of my work and my voice, I am at last starting to make work that I am proud of and that fits into my desire to make art..