Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Creating other-worldly images that blend Photoshop with film-based darkroom techniques
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
Cutting's imagination is also open in terms of technique. It's grounded in her origins as a film photographer, but there are no rules in this place of play.
"For me, it starts on an emotional level," she says, "often with a mood. I like a sense of awe. I like moodiness, a sense of maybe some foreboding, but also maybe some light. A sense of some journey. I might start with an island and a bridge or a tunnel, and then go, okay, I need something otherworldly and something grand, something unexpected, and it needs a second read. So then I'll play and I'll throw things in. And then I'm like, oh, it needs something passing by....
While the images may not follow formulas for content or technique, there are common threads in her approach. Cutting's experimental darkroom history remains quite evident in all of the images and, in fact, many of them include film photos in the layers that make up the final composites.
"I've been doing this for a long time," Cutting adds, "and back in the day I used to love to work with paper negatives in the darkroom, where you would print through a thin piece of paper. And I liked to work with Polaroid, and I liked to use distressing techniques, and I liked to use grainy Agfachrome 1000 film and push things to their limit of distress. And I was always attracted to that lost and found look and feel. Then as I got to using Photoshop more, I got into doing this in layers and kind of realized that, oh, my, I can bring the darkroom to the desktop. It became a blend of that. It's sort of a place where I play and experiment. And every now and then, I get something cool."
Ann Elliott Cutting's award-winning conceptual images appear on the covers of numerous publications and for clients that include Nikon, Nike, Target and more. Cutting is on the faculty at Art Center College of Design. See more of her work at www.cutting.com. She's also one of the judges for our inaugural Black & White photo contest. Enter today at dpmag.com/blackandwhite.
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