<<< o >>>venezia #6 14 comments + add yours

As I was waiting for the guests to arrive at Venice town hall for the wedding I shot a couple of weekends ago I noticed some masks in a shop window. I took a variety of shots, from different angles, but wasn't convinced that any of them would work out as there was quite a bit of glare from the window, and I couldn't really get an angle I was happy with.

That said, I did try processing three of them, all of which are included on the following page:


Unfortunately though, despite the fact that there are some interesting elements in each of the three shots, none of them ended up being worth posting, and I was about to ditch all three when I realised that they might work if I combined them.

In terms of the post-production: first, I combined the three images by stacking them and using Soft Light blend mode and masks to create an image composed of all three originals. I then duplicated and flipped the image, then used another mask to blend this newly created layer with the three images below it. I then warped and altered the colour balance of the left side of the image and increased the overall saturation using the Channel Mixer. I also added some local contrast using the Topaz Adjust plugin.

I don't have a tutorial that covers this sort of montaging technique, at least not specifically, but many of the techniques I used to blend the original images are covered in my Working with textures: part one tutorial.

The end result is an image, in my opinion at least, that's faithful to the spirit of the original scene, but not the reality. As always, let me know what you think.

Oh, and this one works much better with the black theme.

3x2 + travel [Venice, Italy] + digital art
comment by Ilan at 10:08 AM (GMT) on 18 October, 2009

Most people coming back from Venice bring back about the same photos of the same masks.
And, I'm not a big fan of such a 'strong' photo manipulation, but I must admit that even though I've seen these masks thousands of time by now, the final result here is very appealing .
Nice work.

comment by Carlos Garcia at 11:17 AM (GMT) on 18 October, 2009

I like the original three "reality" shots as well, even though I can see the struggle with the glare. These masks are fascinating and a little creepy as well :) The processed image is intriguing... the conversation of the masks... great concept and great results!


comment by Krista at 02:32 PM (GMT) on 18 October, 2009

Hmmm... This is interesting. I like the colours and images, but not sure how I feel about the heavy processing.

comment by chiara at 04:21 PM (GMT) on 18 October, 2009

wow this is lovely

comment by Brooks at 06:20 PM (GMT) on 18 October, 2009

After staring at if for a while, I think I do like it. The only thing for me is the right side of the image is a bit strong. My eyes keep going back and forth between the two sides, like they can't make up their mind. All in all, I think you definitely were able to create a quite compelling image where there once was none. Nice ;)

comment by Enric at 06:39 PM (GMT) on 18 October, 2009

nice mask-mix :D I love the final colors, confusing but exiting

comment by April Pinsonneault at 06:56 PM (GMT) on 18 October, 2009

Although based on photographic images I use a different criteria than photography when I assess this image. For me, this falls into the graphic arts category and I think it is superb.

I have seen Italian Masks: a friend of mine made them and I sat and watched him sculpt them over plaster models in Mazatlan, Mexico; speaking of surreal experiences. Anyway, I wouldn't have guessed that this image was originally an Italian mask. The image evokes mystique and abstract expression although it clearly conveys theater, film, music and yes, I saw masks which I attributed to comedy and tragedy.

I also love the jewel type glimmer in the "forhead" or top of the picture...the glint of jewels speaks of illusion and fantasy and also the great expectations we all have and which we hope art will typify for us. I think it is a great piece and the choice of purple also adds to the ephemeral quality of the image.

I definately like this and somehow find this more user friendly as an addition to one's wall (than crisp clear images). Thanks for describing the processing to us Dave! This floats my boat and I was pleasantly surprised to see you create something in this genre. ***** 5 stars

comment by csj @ID7 at 07:19 PM (GMT) on 18 October, 2009

This image lifts from my screen, like a 3D image, the more I look, the more I see .... very of the season, it looks like it would go well with a glass of red wine and good log fire. It is haunting / musical / theatrical ..... there you go, my 10pence worth.... good stuff... CSJ @ID7

comment by Dave Carrington at 11:27 PM (GMT) on 18 October, 2009

This is an artistic flow worth developing: this has great depth, which is something that I find photography can lack. I admitted to someone recently that I'm a lazy painter who uses digital photagraphy as an easy means to an end: maybe I should re-evaluate my argument..? :-)

comment by Justin at 08:49 PM (GMT) on 19 October, 2009

I say bravo for creative forsight! Great photography and patient creativity together, I think, will always end up interesting.

comment by Nick Lewis at 10:33 PM (GMT) on 19 October, 2009

David - This is sensational and a great example of what you can do with images when they don't work on their own or as originally intended. The more I look at it the more I see and I am glad that I hadn't drunk too much wine this evening!

(.......or have I?)

comment by djn1 at 10:04 AM (GMT) on 20 October, 2009

Thanks everyone :)

comment by Andy at 11:52 AM (GMT) on 20 October, 2009

Very interesting visually; great concept.

comment by Anneli at 11:18 PM (GMT) on 2 November, 2009

WOW! This picture hit me in the stomach with the greatest force! I love the colours and the mysique! W*O*W!!!!!!