Tag Archives: montage

Immaterial Angel

My Latest Surrealist Photomontage:

Immaterial Angel by rsmithing

“Immaterial Angel”
See full size and source files at Flickr.

Views of fire-scarred trees from Yellowstone, an aerial shot of the Potomac river, and a stylized angle of local sculpture (copy of Gloria Victis by Antonin Mercié) blend together in this surrealist photomontage. I chose the title to combine the multiple interpretations of “immaterial” meaning “spiritual, rather than physical,” or “unimportant or irrelevant under certain circumstances.” I like the notion that an angelic form can encapsulate these concepts and at the same time the viewer can take in the sky-bound point of view that an angel might have, with all of this framed among remnants of trees and new growth spawning from a forest fire — even such devastation can be immaterial in that it is required for new growth. Check out more of my photomontage art at rsmithings.com.

What do you think? Ever created a piece of art blending unrelated elements to achieve a unified message? Does this kind of art resonate with you? What is your interpretation at first glance? Let us hear from you in the comments.

National Moth Week 2013: July 20-28

National Moth Week is back, and I’m happy to be taking part once again. I think moths are a great example of the everyday beauty that’s around us all the time but often goes unnoticed. Here’s some of my photos and artwork over the past year featuring the creatures, and there will be more to come this week. For more information – and to take part – check out NationalMothWeek.org.

My photomontage, "We Got This." Click for full size.

My photomontage, “We Got This.” Click for full size.

What do you think? Ever done any macro photography of moths or other insects? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Minus Manhattan Artwork Feature

Big thanks to Minus Manhattan for featuring my artwork today!

Minus Manhattan


My photomontage, “Light Electric,” featured at the Minus Manhattan site.
For more like this, check out my creations at Flickr, 500px, or Pinterest.

Readers of rsmithing.com would likely enjoy this well-curated and prolific visual blog by Chase Turner, with a huge selection of “links and stories on photography, art, politics, design, advertising, technology, music, and culture.” The site has been featured on The Daily WhatGizmodoJezebelAmerican Photo MagazineThe Village VoiceBoing BoingBlackBook, and Buzzfeed.

Thanks again to Minus Manhattan for the feature!

Greenhouse Effect II – Single Image Sundays

Greenhouse Effect II by rsmithing
Greenhouse Effect II, a photo by rsmithing on Flickr.

An elegant, natural montage between man and nature, generations in the making. As one who appreciates montages, I find it remarkable to spot one in the wild. And highly enjoyable.

Making Things Happen: Now Featured by WeAreJUXT

Making Things Happen by rsmithing
Making Things Happen, a photo by rsmithing on Flickr.

Two things I’ve been doing lately: travelling and listening to Beats Antique (often simultaneously). The music is, for me, a perfect mood-setter: stimulating, forward moving, and compelling without lyrics. I saw the band twice in 2012, and captured this image of Zoe Jakes at a gig in Asheville, NC. This snapshot makes the perfect foreground for this vista from above the clouds off Florida’s Gulf Coast, brought together via iPhone with the masks & textures of Photoforge2.

Update 3/3: Now Featured by WeAreJUXT

JUXT LogoBig thanks to the folks at WeAreJUXT for including this image in their weekly showcase! This is the second image of mine featured there (here’s the first) and I’m totally flattered, since they constantly and consistently highlight such great creations with insights from their creators (and I’m not just saying that because I’m there). You should definitely check out the whole JUXT site. Here’s what I say about this image over there:

My favorite art is the kind that gets the viewer to consider things in new ways. I believe that’s the most exciting thing about sharing creativity: the opportunity for a mind-expanding experience. That can happen for me through words, music, or with visual art as in the works of my favorite artists, Salvador Dalí and Jerry Uelsmann. The story behind this image is that I was on a business trip last month and happened to be in the air at just the right time to capture a glorious sunrise from above the clouds. I knew I wanted to remember the moment, but didn’t know what form that would take. This week, the vision hit me: a dancer amid the clouds with selective lighting and textures was what I wanted to make happen. I instantly thought of this silhouette image I shot last year at a show by one of my favorite bands, Beats Antique, which happen to be on heavy rotation during my recent travels. The mysterious form in the foreground is the troupe’s Zoe Jakes as shown backlit from behind a screen with exotic costume accents. The spell-casting pose along with textures, layer modes and and masking in Photoforge2 makes the mind-expansion thing happen.

Trade Street and Tree

Trade Street And Tree

Trade St. & Tree | See full size at 500px | Originals at Flickr

I’ve been meaning to document this doorway for a while. I ride by it at least a few dozen times every month. So it only felt right to work it into a montage. I snapped an image of it using Hipstamatic one day while waiting at a traffic light. Later, I realized it would be more interesting with the door part obscured and replaced with an image of a tree. I snapped the tree photo in the moment, especially for this image. But it still needed at least one more element, so I browsed through my repository of unfettered originals from here and there, and found the perfect complement in this outdoor light from a bar, Single Brothers, a few blocks up from where the door exists.

Trade Street and Tree

Originals at Flickr

So, I mix all this together in Photoforge2 with masks, a border, varying levels of curves/levels/clarification adjustments, and here we are: an image to accurately represent my creative vision that also represents a part of my city. There’s even more of Winston-Salem, on Instagram, courtesy the good folks at Airtype and their Winstagram project.

What do you think? Ever seen any interesting doorways in your city? What would you create in a photomontage? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Up With The Sun: a MobileArtistry Feature

The Instagram-based group, MobileArtistry, includes me in their gallery today as a featured artist. I created this montage as an example of my style for the feature and did the following writeup on my technique. My huge thanks to them for the highlight.

Up With The Sun - click to see more like this at Pinterest

Up With The Sun – click to see more like this at Pinterest

Ever since seeing a book of Jerry Uelsmann’s photomontages in college, I’ve been fascinated with the art form and have since become motivated to become a professional graphic artist, designing for over 16 years now. Manipulating reality for artistic effect in Photoshop has always been my favorite part of designing, so when I discovered iPhoneography, and especially the app Photoforge2, which is very similar to Photoshop, I was hooked. It was seeing the evocative iPhoneography of Sion Fullana that inspired me to give it a go, and Sion was even good enough to share his guidance with me on what apps to get started with.

Repost of Up With The Sun at MobileArtistry

Repost of “Up With The Sun” at MobileArtistry

How The Magic Happens

I basically take photos all the time with my iPhone 4 of whatever I find interesting. When the urge to create strikes, I’ll mix ‘em up and see what happens. It’s really as simple as that. Sometimes I know exactly where I’m headed, and other times I’m just along for the ride, letting magic from the universe do the driving.

For this montage, I combined two photos I took on a Saturday in late summer: one of a wig mannequin at a beauty supply shop, and another of a rising cloud at a winery out in the country. Both were shot originally in with Hipstamatic, using the John S. lens. Wig girl was shot with Rock BW-11 film, and the cloud was shot with Blanko film. You can see the originals at my Flickr stream.

Originals for this montage - click to view at Flickr

Originals for this montage – click to view at Flickr

I brought wig girl into Dynamic Light and gave her the Solarize treatment. I also used Noir to get the right mix of monochrome highlights in the cloud scene. Next, I brought both images together in Photoforge2, each on its own layer. I set wig girl’s blending mode to Overlay, then selectively hid and revealed bits of each layer via masking. Finally, I did some minor cloning cleanup in Filterstorm, then added the copyright & signature with Phonto. I named this after a U2 song lyric in “Gone,” an expansive rising track that seemed appropriate for this composition.

What’s amazing to me is how, as I’ve become adept with a few apps, I can pull techniques from each of them almost like selecting colors on a palette. It’s like having a box of tools to achieve an artistic vision… that fits in your pocket and makes phone calls, too.

Thanks very much to MobileArtistry for featuring me – it’s an honor to be included with such beautiful, creative art. Definitely check out their great gallery for consistently innovative creations.