Ghosts in the Walls

Ghosts in the Walls

“Pause often; listen deeply”

from the Good Life Project “Living Creed” by Jonathan Fields

There is something wonderful about the decaying and abandoned, proudly wearing its patina of age; lovingly adorned with curves and swoops and the fine filigree of another time.

There is beauty here – in the cracks and the dirt and the imperfections, each marking the passage of time.

There are stories absorbed in these walls; hidden behind these panes of glass. They wait patiently, tiny flickers in the corner of our eye, just outside our vision.

No longer shiny; no longer new. But certainly with stories to tell. If we are ready to listen.

Texture Tuesday ProcessingLayers Palette

  • Process the CoffeeShop Blog Cross-Processing action, choosing option 3. Add a layer mask, retaining the cross-process coloring only in the window panes area. Reduce opacity to 80%
  • Run my mid-tone contrast action to enhance the textures and the window reflections
  • Add the Minus 43 texture, sizing to fit. Mask the texture so that it is eliminated from the window panes. Set blend mode to Color Burn and opacity to 90%
  • Clip a Levels Adjustment to the texture layer, increasing the contrast of that layer
  • Clip a Hue/Saturation Adjustment to the texture layer, reducing the saturation to -59 and increasing the lightness to +16 so that the texture layers blends well with the original background
  • Separate the woman from her background with a layer mask. Drag and drop this masked image into the working composite. Size and transform. Set blend mode to Soft Light and opacity to 75%
  • Copy the woman layer. Flip Horizontal and size, positioning in the lower right-hand corner.

Below are the original images used in the creation of this composite. The woman image is from the Stage Beauties: Edwardian Theater & Silent Film Actresses CD collection.

Ghosts in the Walls BeforeWoman

Linking with Texture Tuesday, hosted by Kim Klassen

You still have time to submit your challenge to the January edition of the Third Thursday Challenge. The link will be open through the end of day on January 31.  


Posted on January 29, 2013, in Photoshop and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 49 Comments.

  1. so true, but it is those amazing reflections that have captured my eye.

    • Susan – oh, me too! That old glass, with its wavy distortions, did wonderful things to the nearby surroundings. Who could resist?

  2. At first glance – I didn’t see the diva layered into the walls. Such a beautiful and evocative creation. And – I too – have recently fallen under the spell of Jonathan Field’s Good Life project. So much inspiration to be found…:-)!!!

    • Marcie – an experiment in compositing – perhaps my ghosts are too ghost-like in their etherealness? 🙂 And yes, the Good Life Project creed is a wonder of inspiration.

  3. Gorgeous image, those ghostly figures really are ghostly and enigmatic. Lovely reflections on the windows and your words accompany it beautifully.

    • Becs – thanks for the encouraging words for a composite experiment that I wasn’t sure worked. Sometimes you just have to “put it out there” anyway, right?

  4. wow love this so ghostly the reflections and colour really make it….

    • Viv – thank you so much for your kind comments. This was an experiment – both in texture application as well as compositing. I’m glad you found it a successful one.

    • Teresa – I’m happy you stopped by my little corner of cyberspace and hope you will come back. I appreciate the kind comment.

  5. Such a gorgeous, striking image. Love it!

    • Micki – I SO appreciate that you stopped by my little corner of cyberspace and took the time to comment on my latest composite experiment. Please stop by again!

  6. Amazing! I saw the beautiful blue glass in the thumbnail on Texture Tuesday, and couldn’t wait to see the full-sized image. How exciting to discover that there is much more than that!

  7. I love what you’ve done here! So creative and so pensive. Thanks for the “recipe”, too!

    • Dotti – you are very welcome for the recipe. I am eternally grateful to others who share the “how and whys” of their work, which have helped me grow as an artist. I am glad to know that my sharing is helpful.

  8. This is a fantastic window – love the reflections!

    • Pat – thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Windows and their reflections are a favorite subject of mine. When I find one with such an interesting character and personality, it deserves a “portrait”.

  9. Wonderful imagery. And the text you selected to go with it is perfect.


    • Earl – thanks for stopping by and commenting on my latest composite experiment. Jonathan Field’s Good Life Project creed is incredibly inspiring.

  10. This is so beautiful. I love how you combined these images, I’ve never tried that but it’s something I would love to do.

    • Stephanie – thank you so much for your enthusastic reaction to my composite. Masks and layer blend modes are your friends if you want to do work like this. I encourage you to give it a try – just experiment. I can tell you that many of my attempts fail but I always learn something for the next time. And then there are the times when it works.

  11. Superb image! I adore it, Brenda. So skillfully layers and put together. Brava!

    • Thanks Gina. The scene had some of my favorite things – lovely architectural design elements, a window and reflections. Throw in a beautiful “ghost” and what else could you want? 🙂

  12. Such beautiful words and love what you did to the image, so subtle, but perfect. I’m captivated by the reflection in the panes of glass!!

    • Kim – yes, those reflections were the thing that caught my eye with this scene – each pane slightly different in the way it distorted the surroundings. I’m often unsure of how subtle is too subtle to get my point across – I’m glad you think this one worked.

  13. Very beautiful and so lovely with the ladies. At first I thought they were actually in the stone! Did you take the photo with the beautiful glass panes and if so, I so wish you would have mentioned where it was taken, either that (if you did) I can’t read or see anymore lol

    thanks for “recipe” too!

    • Sandy – Oh, that makes me very happy – I really tried to blend the ladies into the walls in such a way that they looked like ghosts – as if they were actually part of the walls. And yes, I did take the window photo at a downtown building in my hometown of Canton, Ohio. I hope the recipe inspires you to try something similar yourself.

  14. This is a stunning image! Love the window, the reflections, the colors.

  15. I just love what you created here! Stunning.

    • Deb – I so appreciate your continuing support of my efforts. Thanks for always being here and taking the time to comment.

  16. Such a beautiful creation! At first I didn’t even notice the women in the wall. Fabulous!

    • Carola – thanks so much! Perhaps my women were slightly too ghost-like? I hope finding them was a good surprise – one of those “oh!” moments. 🙂

  17. Really nice texture work!! 🙂

    • Linda – thanks so much for stopping by! I tried out some different techniques with this composite, attempting to seamlessly blend the texture with the background wall – so it was a good learning experience.

  18. Visual and written poetry. I love how subtlety you have entwined the the two images. Beautiful spirits, waiting to be heard. Beautiful piece, shared, Brenda. Thanks!

    • Juli – your words mean so much. I have been struggling lately for inspiration – both with words and images. Thank you for always providing support and encouragement.

  19. Fascinating! Once again you had me really studying your image! Of course, the gorgeous blue window and it’s reflections caught my eye. Then I spotted the lady at the bottom right. You processed this so perfectly that she’s looks like part of the building! I thought maybe someone had painted her there. Then, I spotted the other beautiful lady and read your post! This is amazing work!

    • Cathy – ah, success! It was my goal to seamlessly blend the ladies into the stucco walls of this building – to really make them appear to be part of it. I always like when an image makes the viewer look twice or puzzle over what they are seeing.

  20. That’s so very cool Brenda–you’re rocking the reflection shots these days!

    • Reflections are one of my favorite subjects – there is just something so appealing about the way they distort and pixelate reality, creating abstract wonders. Once you start noticing them, you find a whole other world around you. (My latest favorite reflection source are black cars parked near buildings – although I’m waiting for a car owner to question why I’m taking photographs of their automobile.)

  21. so exsquisite. I love old buildings, especially the window and doors.

    • Sheila – thanks so much for stopping by my little corner of the web. I do hope you will stop by again. And yes, I too, love windows and doors of all kinds. Whether it is the architectural details or the reflections, they pull me in with their beauty.

  22. I was seeing ghosts in those walls and window panes even before I noticed the images layered on them.

    • I’m glad this image evoked the past and the ghosts hidden in the walls – and that my decision to “add” some visual ghosts enhanced the feeling of history.

I greatly appreciate your comments!

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