The Making of "Technologic" Gold at the South Australian Professional Photography Awards

Technologic was a massive project to take on, especially considering the message I wanted to convey and the ideas I had in my head for the end result. I knew from the get go this was going to be a challenge - but I didn't really know in what ways. 

For reference this is the final shot:
 

Gee_Greenslade_Technologic_Gold_Award_SAPPA_South_Australian_Professional_Photography_Awards

I called upon the awesomeness of my friend Demi who has super glorious long hair. I thought at the time this piece would have long sweeping locks throughout it, but as time went on I recognized they may not fit what I want to do, so Demis hair got lopped off half way through the making of this image

Gee_Greenslade_Original_Technologic_Gold_Award_SAPPA_South_Australian_Professional_Photography_Awards

I wanted to make an image that talked openly about the tension between the life we have on screen and the natural world, in a way that wasn't preachy, didn't tell anyone what to think, but simply just aknowledges that this exists.

I started with I cutting Demi out, Putting her on a white background and threw some branches over her. I cut her body off because I knew I just wanted her face. 

I followed the same process as the Carl Sagan piece (see previous blog) by dodging and burning these branches to dead black and dead white. These branches were quite literally the tree outside my house looking up

I followed the same process as the Carl Sagan piece (see previous blog) by dodging and burning these branches to dead black and dead white. These branches were quite literally the tree outside my house looking up


So far the process was much the same as my Carl Sagan image. I made everything black and white so that I could add the colour washes using blend modes. My choice of colour wash this time was some images of an amazing sunset I took early this year. 

Seriously how amazing is this sunset? Words cant describe the fun I had that night right outside my house!

Seriously how amazing is this sunset? Words cant describe the fun I had that night right outside my house!

From there I made some colour changes with hue and saturation and a fair amount of curves. 

Heres where everything got super fun and interesting. I had the major base of the image all set out. I had mirrored the sticks and framed Demi in the centre. 

I feel especially in photography we are caught in a bit of a loop, the same ideas about our craft are being preached time and time again, so many people lament a time in photography (the film era) that I feel for myself never left us - we just have to see digital differently. 

For me the one thing I missed was the physicality of negatives (film for those playing at home). I loved doing all that crazy dumb stuff like scratching my film or destroying my negatives, playing about with developer and chemistry. There felt like a randomness to it that digital was always missing.

However about two years ago, inspired by a book I had bought from Stolen Projects called Alphabent (check it out here: http://stolenprojects.com/store/alphabent) I began to experiment with data bending or glitch. I cant even explain the fun I had with this process, it felt like I had a chance to re-connect with that hands on feeling that film once had, but in a digital way. 

Glitch or Databending is the process of deliberately corrupting images. Corrupt files is usually something that every photographer DREADS, but in this case I got up close and personal with my images in notepad, a sound program called Audacity, kicking about old scanners, pulling out memory cards before the whole thing had loaded - almost anything I could do to corrupt files. You can check out some of this stuff for yourself here:  Be sure to back your files up! I absolutely always had multiple copies of my images because it is super easy to ruin them completely. 

So I began the process of glitching this image in as many ways as I could. I cant tell you exactly what techniques I used on each piece, honestly I go into a crazy breaking things frenzy when Im doing this stuff and so I really lost track of what did what. But here is some of the glitched images I ended up with

From there it was a simple case of picking the glitch parts I liked and adding it into the piece using a mixture of masking, opacity and blend modes. 

The final touches came in the form of a bit of binary code... because why the hell not! I knew I wanted the binary to be fuzzy and imperfect, maybe wizzing past the image a bit. I also REALLY wanted you to be able to see the pixels in the binary, so I photographed it with my phone up close to the computer screen. I then inverted it and used blend modes and dodge and burn to overlay it onto the image. 

 

The final step was to break one of my cardinal rules when using Photoshop... AVOID THE FILTER MENU (Aside from blurs and noise) but in this case the Mosaic filter with its pixelating effect was a perfect addition. I wanted one side of the image to be falling out into pixels and the other to remain solid, so I made a copy of the entire image, pixelated it and brushed it back where I needed it. 

Then our image was finished! For reference this image got a Gold at the South Australian awards and a Silver with Distinction at the National awards. Whilst it didn't do as well as I wanted it to at a national level, this one is without a doubt my absolute favorite because of how complex and fun it was to make. 

Hope everyone is having a spectacular day!

xx Gee