Concept photography - creating new worlds
How often do we challenge the norms when it comes to something we have known for generations? This question is especially relevant when thinking of portrait photography.
Photography started way way back with a tiny pin hole camera, progressing through to what is thought of as the first known portrait, taken by a chemistry minded gentleman named Robert Cornelius back in around 1839. Young Robert needed to sit still for somewhere in the region of 10-15 minutes to get that not so happy looking snap. In fact not so happy snaps were the way until around the 1920/30's.
Now we have become fixated on displaying ourselves in a very particular way. I am not talking about the bumped up beauty fantasy we see displayed through social media, I am talking more about your "standard portrait". What are the things we "think" we want to see? Faces to the camera and more often than not, smiling.
Now with programs like Photoshop, this norm is being pushed to it's limits. Yes we can remove scars and pimples, we can even change someone's body image. More importantly, by compositing images together we can create amazing new worlds and concepts which allow us to imagine. Compositing in concept photography is a bit like making a patch work quilt. You start with a pattern requiring different pieces of fabric which are stitched together to give an intricate design. Composite images work in much the same way.
Usually it's an in depth conversation which sparks an idea. This might move to a sketch, and a detailed plan. This plan will outline each image the photographer needs to take in order to composite this new world together. Some composites are simple eg only two images may be required to take a person and place them in a new scene. Other worlds take many many images painstakingly stitched together.
In my case, I like to take all the images myself relying on stock images only when absolutely necessary. Compositing these images together in photoshop is really just the start of the digital fine art journey. Some artists stick with only a few images and photoshop to create their worlds, whilst others will use highly technical 3D programs to bring their ideas to life. What ever the method you know you are guaranteed something that is unique and out of this world.
Think about the thing you treasure more than anything about your little baby. Maybe it is the connection they share with their tiny teddy. Or perhaps it's the love and protection shown by your oldest to you youngest... it's this type of conveyed emotion which sparks the ideas, enabling digital photographic artists to create brand new worlds for their clients. Something that pushes the norm and is so so special.