Exercise 2.3

In your exercise for this section, you’ll produce a piece of work that either explores the family album and its iconography or reflects on representations of the self in digital culture.

Do ONE of the following:

  1. Produce a series of six photographs (these can be photomontage, staged photography,
    work using found images, work including images from your own family archives, etc.)
    which reference the family album in some way.


  2. Produce a series of six photo-based self-portraits that use digital montage techniques to explore different aspect of your identity.

Produce a 500-word blog post outlining your working methods and the research behind your final submission. (Whose work did you study in preparation for this exercise? Why did you choose the techniques that you did and how effective do you think your choices have been, for example?)







I produced this exercise based on the idea of using comic fantasy and the sci-fi world and developed it from the previous work I did with 3D modelling and face transfer.

I took a selfie of myself in my studio against a green screen and used that image to create the images above digitally.

Last year I worked with a consultant who helped me set up my photography company, during this process, I did an 8-hour soul searching exercise with one of the consultants that looked at me my life and my motivations. We developed a set of six personal core values, which were:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Strength
  3. Justice
  4. Love
  5. Kindness
  6. Peace and Nurture

I used these core values as the seed for my self-portraits.

I took each word and imagined a scene that connected in some way to each of the terms.

The first image is me dressed as a wizard looking at a book which is synonymous with learning and knowledge. This was the easiest image for me to conjure up.

Strength was rather direct, putting my face on a bodybuilding warrior maybe a bit obvious, but it is at least effective.

Justice was demanding I imagined scales and swords then I remembered a quote from Alec Guinness “For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times, before the Empire.” So putting a lightsabre in my hands and putting on a Jedi robe seemed the right thing to do and was in keeping with the whole Sci-Fi genre.

The Love image uses my face and my wife’s face so that I am dressed as a knight kneeling before my queen. My wife ask who on earth is the girl I said you and she melted, so that worked!

Kindness was complicated but in my image, I placed a baby dragon in my hand to give the impression of a kind act and to bring in the fantasy element I also dressed the character in a roman gladiator garb.

Peace and nurture came from the idea of peace from prayer. It occurred to me that meditation creates peace and is a way of developing the mind, so it fits well with peace and nurture.

I created each of the self-portraits in DAZ 3D studio as a 3D model which I could pose and render, I rendered each one as a PNG file that allowed me to drop them into a scene in photoshop. I rendered each portrait with the shadows turned on and set a single light above each one at roughly 45 degrees this gave me a transparent shadow beneath each image that blended with the background to add some realism. I took a set of coloured base layers and applied a series of noise and cloud filters blending and blurring them to create that studio background look. I took a copy of this layer and distorted it to look like a floor plane and blended that with a gradient fill mask to make a depth feeling to the background. I dropped each image on top to give the feeling that they were all taken in a studio.