The ‘Image Project’ consists of three significant aspects – perspective, collage (with Adobe Photoshop CC 2014) and emulation (recreation). Perspective is defined as the art of representing three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface (for example the exercise of drawing in one, two and three point perspectives) or a particular attitude towards a point of view. In my image project, I account for the two seemingly different definitions. Moreover, the collage and emulation aspects of the project are demonstrated below through the use of the numerous tools available in Photoshop to recreate Richard Hamilton’s Study for a Fashion Plate (1969).
Richard Hamilton(1922 – 2011) was an English painter and collage artist whose inspiration for his artwork drew on “…popular culture media and current events.” Hamilton’s 1969 piece, Study for a Fashion Plate (pictured below), is an arrangement of “…prints and multiples, photo-offset lithograph, collage, screen-print and pochoir retouched with cosmetics … on Fabriano paper.”
I chose to emulate Hamilton’s ‘Study for a Fashion Plate’ because I admire the simplicity and the complexity of the artist’s use of collage and the significant use of different mediums. In order to recreate this outstanding piece effectively, however, I needed to decide upon a plan of execution. After reading Ben Davis’ article ‘Ways of Seeing Instagram’ (2014) – which details Richard Prince’s endeavour of “…making art by recycling Instagram screenshots” – I decided that I wanted to mirror Prince’s method by using Nicole Richie’s Instagram images in my emulation process.
To begin with I opened Richard Hamilton’s ‘Study for a Fashion Plate’ in Photoshop. I then duplicated the background layer and removed Hamilton’s collaged face from the centre of it using the rectangular marquee tool.
I then opened the image of Nicole Richie’s hair that I wanted to use, traced around it with the lasso tool and copied it onto the duplicated background as layer one. I then selected the eyedropper tool to select the colour of Richard Hamilton’s background and the brush tool (using a very soft edge) to fill in the spaces around Nicole’s hair that coincided with the background.
The image of Nicole Richie’s eye was then cut out using the rectangular marquee tool. Once I had pasted it onto the background and positioned it (using the shift key to keep the image to scale), I right clicked and used the ‘free transformation’ option to change the perspective of the image. Dragging the image towards the centre of the facial area (as pictured below) I provided the eye to have somewhat of a one-point perspective, wherein it vanishes towards a single point on the horizontal line (towards the centre). I used the eraser tool, with a soft edge, to remove any unnecessary corners from the image and to blend it in well with the hair.
Using the lasso tool, I traced around the left-hand side of the facial area in Richard Hamilton’s piece (which looks to be the painted aspect of the Study for a Fashion Plate) and copied it across to my background, leaving it in the same position. With the eraser tool, using a soft edge, I removed sections of this third layer to show that it is situated behind the hair and eye. I incorporated this layer using the aspect of Richard Hamilton’s original piece to show a change in medium which I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do with Photoshop. I then used the lasso tool again to trace around the image of Nicole Richie’s hand and copy it onto my background. After right clicking, I selected the option to flip the hand horizontally, moving the image to the right-hand side of the facial area. With the blending option on the program, I opted to select the outer glow and drop shadow to give the appearance that the hand is holding up the entirety of the collage.
Using the lasso tool, again, I traced around the images of Nicole Richie’s mouth and right ear and repositioned the images to their corresponding areas on the face. With the eraser tool, I again used a soft edge to neatly blend the images with the layers behind them (pictured below).
The collage face I was creating was starting to come together by this stage (as pictured above); however, I knew I was still missing something.I began to fill in three small sections of the face (above the had, opposite the eye, and below the ear) with sections of white and black spots and stripes that I had copied from the image of Nicole Richie’s right ear. With the rectangular marquee tool I selected sections of the white and black spots and stripes and copied them across to my background. Using the eraser tool, with a soft edge, I then removed areas of the images as I felt necessary. Furthermore, by right-clicking and selecting the warp option I was able to warp these collage aspects to suit. With the lasso tool I selected the painted aspects from below the chin in Richard Hamilton’s piece and copied it across to my background. Holding down the shift key, I made the copy smaller to reposition it underneath the mouth of my collaged face and behind the wrist of the image of the hand.
With the face completed to the best of my ability, I began to use the rectangular marquee tool to select areas of Richard Hamilton’s background to fill in mine, keeping in touch with the collage imagery of overlapping colours and shapes. Once I had filled in the background this way, I again selected the eraser tool with a soft edge to blend together the five extra background layers I had created. I then merged these layers together as one.
As I got closer to completing my recreation of ‘Study for a Fashion Plate’, I began to notice that the image of Nicole Richie’s hair that I used was looking quite ‘washed out’ in comparison with the other images as it was of a lower pixel resolution in comparison. To fix this problem, I firstly adjusted the brightness and contrast of all of the layers. I moved the brightness to -53, and increased the contrast to 55 (pictured below). Furthermore, I took it one step further, to create more of an impact with my emulation and adjusted the hue and saturation of my background layers and the layer of the hair. I colourised the hue to 292 and the saturation to a much lower 25 (pictured below).
The finished composition, which I have entitled ‘Study of the Ways of Seeing’, is pictured below, alongside Richard Hamilton’s ‘Study for a Fashion Plate’.
The image of Richard Hamilton’s ‘Study for a Fashion Plate’ that I have based my image project on is a reproduction of his artwork; as in it is not the artwork itself being presented before you. The number of reproductions that exist of Hamilton’s piece multiply the number of meanings that each person finds within the artwork – a concept well defined by John Berger in his 1972 series Ways of Seeing. The perspective that I gained from Hamilton’s artwork was that it is a critique, responsive to consumerism; that not everything is what it seems, which is well defined in the collage and the assembly of the media used. In the process of recreating Richard Hamilton’s ‘Study for a Fashion Plate’, I opted to generate a similar perspective and meaning. The soft tones of purple that I created once I had adjusted the hue and saturation of my project offered a calming response to the emotions, hiding a sense of vulnerability. I believe that, like the opinion I have of Hamilton’s artwork, my image project creates a link between our thoughts and activities wherein not everything is as it seems or as we believe it to be. The darker tone of the eye, and the collage using Hamilton’s painted aspects from his piece establish that something is hidden away; somewhere there is vulnerability. What I believe my image project means is open to interpretation, however, as the meaning each individual takes from artwork, images, and reproductions is ultimately decided by their own experiences. I have named my image project ‘Study of the Ways of Seeing’ because of this.