Collage of Enlightenment

I have always been strongly attracted to the art of collage. Before photography found me, I created digital collages using whatever interesting images I could get my hands on – scans from magazines, stock photos, clip art. Now that I have an archive of my own images available, you would think I would explore this method of artistic expression.

Except for one tiny problem. My images don’t lend themselves to collage or composite work.

There was only so much I could do with combinations of multiple doors and myriad windows. Diversity is necessary to create an interesting composition. I needed a human element – but I don’t photograph people. It was a conundrum.

And then, while walking the halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, I experienced an “a-ha” moment. I was entranced with my usual subject matter – the building’s amazing architectural features – when I realized that I was surrounded by “people”. Greek and Roman statuary, Asian Buddhas, suits of armor, Medieval carvings. Here, right before me, was the missing puzzle piece, a way to add a human element to my collage work.

Of course, this revelation arrived at the end of the day. I only had time to capture a few images, one of which you see above.

But it’s a start. A beginning. An enlightenment. A new artistic possibility.

Texture Tuesday ProcessingLayers

  • Process Storybook Vintage action from The Coffeeshop Blog
  • Process my midtone contrast action to bring out the texture of the door
  • In the original Buddha image, isolate the statue from the background by creating a mask. Copy the masked image into the door image as a new layer. Set the blend mode to Luminosity – this sets the tone of the statue to match the background
  • Copy the statue layer, setting the blend mode to Normal and opacity to 50% – this brings back some of the original statue coloring
  • Process my midtone contrast action to bring out the statue’s texture
  • Add a new blank layer below the statue layers. Select the statue mask, expanding and feathering the selection by 25 pixels. On the new layer, fill the selection with a dark gray. Using free transform, skew the shadow down and to the right. Set blend mode to Hard Light and opacity to 73%
  • Add a levels adjustment to increase overall contrast
  • Add Golden Texture, blend mode set to Multiply and reduce opacity to 70%

Below are the original images used to create the collage:









 Linking with Texture Tuesday


Posted on June 19, 2012, in Photoshop and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Love this! Isn’t it amazing the inspiration you can get at these museums? I really enjoyed the exhibit, Buddhism along the Silk Road, at the Met. Just went this past week. I’m just beginning to learn lightroom, but can’t wait to get into Photoshop elements to learn some of these processes. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh this is beautiful. I hadn’t really considered collage with photos but what a great idea, I must try it! Love what you’ve done here and love your aha moment…new possiblities. How cool!

  3. What a wonderful idea, this offers you so many possibilities, Brenda.
    I love your combination here…the textures and similar lines work so well together. I just upgraded to elements 10, and some day I may be able to figure out how to do something like this. Can’t wait to see more from you!

  4. Love the collage image – great composition!

  5. Hey Brenda…first thank you for the link info you sent about Cuba. Second, I love collage and have been messing with it for awhile. It’s such a step away from the clean lines I’ve always preferred in life. I started with doing pices like this-like composite, but have also tiptoed into layering my images one a top othe other (in varying opacity/blend modes). The result is kind of weird, but, I like it.
    Looking forward to seeing more of these from you. Sorry I’ve not been visiting much. I am straight out. Yikes.

  6. Love those aha moments, love it.

  7. How exciting! Will be very interested to see where this idea takes you!

  8. There’s so much depth here. I love the color too. Beautiful!

  9. This creation is so fascinating! So glad you had your “ah ha” moment and look forward to seeing more art work!!

  10. Wonderful collage. The overall color treatment really enhances the imagery. Come back to NY for more play and you can take more pictures of knights and buddhas at the museum!

  11. Thanks so much for sharing your process. They look as if they were always together. Nice editing.

  12. Decided to leave another comment. I have enjoyed your photography and your blog. Your style is very unique. I also love doors and windows.

  13. Brenda, i really love what you’ve done here!

  14. Absolutely fabulous!! So very clever and creative. What a great idea and project!

  15. Between your amazing images and your photoshop prowess, I predict lots of good things coming out of this latest enlightenment. And, as always, thank you for providing the detail on your post-processing.

  16. Well good for you! You discovered another avenue for photographic expression. I like how the colors of the Buddha and the door unite the image. Also, the combination of curves with straight lines.

  17. Stunning! Stunning! Stunning!
    And, what a wonderful new path of creativity to explore. Can’t wait to see what’s in store!

  18. Superbly constructed

  19. Fascinating juxtaposition here Brenda! Very creative shot.

I greatly appreciate your comments!

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