<<< o >>>urban canvas 35 comments + add yours

At the risk of boring you all, here's another image that combines a portrait and, for want of a better term, an urban texture. As with yesterday's shot the texture was adapted from a shot I put up a while ago – killa bunnies #2.

As I also mentioned yesterday, I've taken my inspiration for this style of image from Mike Regnier, though I've realised today that I'll probably take my attempts in a slightly different direction to Mike. His images begin with a pre-existing photograph, which is then reworked through the application a variety of textures and colours, the aim being to enhance or reinterpret the original image – and if you take a look around his site you'll see that it's a very effective technique.

This one though uses one texture, from a pre-existing scene, and in my opinion has a slightly 'grittier' feel than Mike's – grunge art rather than fine art perhaps – and is more about using the texture to anchor the other image rather than amend it. I didn't put that very well, so don't worry if you don't know what I'm talking about ;-) Anyway, I'm definitely enthusiastic about this approach and will be shooting a range of portraits and textures over the next few weeks.

Personally, I prefer this one to yesterday's, but do let me know what you think.

Update: I've put both original images here:


These were combined in a variety of ways including setting the blend mode to the area over her face to 'overlay'. Subsequent work included multiple Curves, changes to the colour balance, and so on.

3x2 + people [portraiture] + digital art
comment by Larry at 07:22 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

Hi Dave,

I am curious as to your post processing technique on this? Very nicely done.

comment by djn1 at 07:24 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

Larry: it's basically a combination of two images, blended together. Come back in about an hour, maybe two, and I'll put a link in my description to both the originals.

comment by Andrew at 07:25 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

I prefer today's as well. I'm not sure what I don't like about yesterday's image, but there's something that bothers me about it. Maybe it's just the look on her face. Today's image is a little less errie than yesterdays. Interesting technique, almost as if a grafiti artist brought out his/her airbrush and did some detailed work on a grungy wall.

comment by jgarcía at 07:27 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

David ,this is a great photo.


comment by Storm H at 07:40 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

What an interesting effect! Having also seen your previous image, I do however feel that this one might be taking things a bit too far. Less is more, I would say. Then again... this is what experiments are good for. Experimenting.

If you are looking for inspiration when it comes to overlaying textures to images, then maybe you should have a look at some of Mark Tuckers work ( http://www.marktucker.com/ ). You have probably already seen it. I'm fairly certain he has done this on some of his images, such as maybe some of the newer Jack Daniels series, because I remember reading many posts of his where he discussed his methods in the photo.net forums.

Here is another site that comes to mind. It may be relevant: http://www.darrenholmes.com/

Anyway... keep shooting! Everything is looking great!

comment by Brandon at 07:48 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

Before I read your description, I thought this was an image projected on a textured wall (like concrete or stucco); possibly even a movie. I think both images are definitely interesting and it's refreshing to see people experimenting with new techniques.

comment by emma at 07:58 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

interesting technique, worth exploring some more i think!

comment by Napfisk at 08:19 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

Simply put: wonderful. Yesterday's one had something 'wrong' with the structure of the tiles in the back. They seemed to break with the posture of the girl, as if they were pasted there. Perhaps if you got rid of those?

comment by Marcus at 08:25 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

Very beautiful. True art. Greetings from Finland.

comment by Thomas Solberg at 08:28 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

Nice portrait. I really like the "noise" if you can call it that in the photo. Makes me wanna try out some more portrait photography! Kudos

comment by Gavin at 08:53 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

I didnt feel I could explain how much I loved yesterdays photograph, but this one has given me some confidence in what to say about both. The texture is fantastic, I feel it would take a certain type of portrait to pull these off and this is perfect. Her expression suits this so well. It's almost like painted art on a gritty wall. Superb.

comment by Vincent at 09:21 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

Great picture! all the thing that I was less enthousiastic about yesterday's background are gone in this picture. Meanwhile I prefer yesterday's portrait though. She was more faded and pale, more ghost like. ''magical' '''mystical'' :)

comment by Roy at 09:22 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

I'm preferring yesterday's, for some of the very reasons that others give for preferring today's. I liked its ethereal, other-worldly quality.

And I meant to say in yesterday's comment - thank you for introducing me to Michael Regnier's work, I'd not seen that before. Definitely worth pursuing this technique as it produces some quite fascinating results that remind me of the bromoil process.

comment by Robert at 10:04 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

Great image blend; the her pale skin, hair color, and the color of her clothes plus the shaggy texture in her hood work great with the background image.

comment by Jessyel Ty Gonzalez at 10:19 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

Absolutely way better than yesterday's; I actually see the processing here enhance the image, rather than try to get rid of faults as I saw in yesterday's version. Reminds me a lot of the recent work KKY has been doing at Overshadowed as of late. Well done, David... Can't get over her eyes.

comment by eterisk at 10:25 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

I like this new approach in portrait taking. This is both interesting and scary, the red splatter behind her face and the expression in her eyes do it for me. You can see a lot of this kind of images over at DevianArt. Looking forward to more of pictures like these.

comment by Jonathan Fleck at 10:29 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

Defintely a case of the image being greater than the sum of it's parts. Like the approach, and I liked yesterday's shot, although this is just that little bit better.

comment by Violet Lavendar at 10:34 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

The layering seems inappropriate for this particular portrait.

The original, unprocessed image brilliantly conveys the shock upon being confronted by an angry, combative girl encased in the soft facade of her clothing. In it, everything is soft, soft, soft...until you get to her dagger look, sharp nose, and leading forehead with dropped, protected jaw - the look and stance of a professional prizefighter.

The processed image obscures all that and thereby hides her intense character as well as the viewer's immediate, intense response to her.

The original image is far more affecting - and, to me, preferable.

comment by David at 11:01 PM (GMT) on 29 May, 2006

Interesting process... Like a ghost... passing through a wall!!
Great shot and post processing !

comment by Jamey at 12:14 AM (GMT) on 30 May, 2006

I was just catching up with people's blogs and spotted this shot and yesterdays. Both are good although this one is excellent in my opinion and much better than yesterdays. I've actually been wanting to try texturing shots (not necessarily portraits, just anything really) for a while but not had the time to experiment. That's easy to say now, obviously but it's true. However now I think I might have to rethink it a bit as I don't want to be accused of copying you, or John for that matter (if I was to add text, I mean). Anyway well done.

comment by Marius Muscalu at 12:20 AM (GMT) on 30 May, 2006

absolutly stunning ....

what programs are you using for editing ?

comment by mihai at 12:32 AM (GMT) on 30 May, 2006

cool shot, very different from the other one...love the tehnique...amazing as always...

comment by Chris at 12:41 AM (GMT) on 30 May, 2006

Brilliant processing.

This is much better than yesterday's.

comment by Kayleigh at 01:04 AM (GMT) on 30 May, 2006

I like this style... I look forward to see more of it from you. I also really love being able to see originals of your images, I think that's a great feature and you should make the originals available more often.

comment by Bob at 06:08 AM (GMT) on 30 May, 2006

I'm always happy to see someone of your caliber and following expanding the boundaries and presenting new viewpoints. The two images you've presented in this series so far are very compelling and emotionally charged.
Yesterday's image, if not the crowd favorite, did seem to elicit the more powerful reaction overall.
While today's is a stunning image, it didn't make the jaded critic in me stop in my tracks and catch my breath the way yesterday's did.
For many reasons I "feel" yesterday's on a much deeper level. Some of which I understand, some I don't. The most conscious reason is because the subtlity of the composite didn't make it apparent at first glance that it was a contrivance, as this one does. And I don't mean contrivance in any sort of negative sense, only in the sense of your intentionally putting elements together.
More specifically, my impression here is: a pretty girl, dirtied up. It works, it's a powerful portrait indeed, and I like it just fine. But yesterday's was possessed of a special aura and made it rocket fuel for a million fantastic stories.
OK, lighten up, already. On a more mundane note, then, I'm really very curious why you've chosen to include the same horizontal line in both images. Any particular significance, since I know there's never an accident with you?
Oh, and one last thing. I'm especially grateful that you've chosen to refer people to the work of Mike Regnier because as you might note, in his artist statement, he offers the most simple, suscinct, and intelligent rationale for pushing photography into new territory that I've ever run across. Every mediocre purist should check out his photography and read why it's OK, even for the best photographers, to think outside the box.

comment by navin harish at 06:29 AM (GMT) on 30 May, 2006

You are getting good at this.

comment by derLitograph at 08:07 AM (GMT) on 30 May, 2006

I like this one better than yesterday's. I'm also interested in combining different layer's and pictures in Photoshop. And it's interesting what you can do with the layer mode. Yesterday i went to a site which explains a similar kind of way to merge two images. If you want to take a look, here is the WMV-file. But be carefull. It's size is 51,7MB and takes about 27:08min to watch it: Radiant Vista

What do you think about it, Dave?

comment by Sysagent at 09:23 AM (GMT) on 30 May, 2006

Mmm I can see the quality of the image like yesterdays for instance but this kind of photography etc doesn't really float my boat as much as some of your other portraits and images.
But it looks good from the post processing point of view :)

comment by m at 01:01 PM (GMT) on 30 May, 2006

Prefer this one of the two, although the jurys still out overall.

comment by m at 01:03 PM (GMT) on 30 May, 2006

Both shots are better than the original, but not sure that's a compliment though ;-)

comment by Isabellnecessaryonabicycle at 01:26 PM (GMT) on 30 May, 2006

Nice shot, but a shame you spilt your coffee on it. ;-)

comment by JELIEL3 at 02:19 PM (GMT) on 30 May, 2006

That's a great picture. I love it. Doesn't hurt she's pretty also.

comment by chris at 04:48 PM (GMT) on 30 May, 2006

I think you describe the process extremely well (the title caught my attention as an apt descriptor for this kind of image, not just the image itself). :) But I like "grunge." This is an amazing image. Looking at the two originals, I would say that having a fantastic texture image like killa bunnies #2 (which I think is the stronger of the two) is crucial. The combo is simply stunning.

comment by Roger at 05:27 PM (GMT) on 30 May, 2006

Great shot David. I think it's great when you post your originals. It's great to see your processing.

comment by djn1 at 06:09 PM (GMT) on 30 May, 2006

Thanks everyone.