Recently I made this image, which I did not quite know how to make when I got the idea for it – but I wanted to give it a try and I wanted to challenge myself.
In short: I wanted to combine a photograph with a painting.
I asked the artist Thue Møller Hylle (link) if he would paint a monster-like creature for me, which I could mix with one of my pictures.
He said yes and you can see the end result below. Below the picture you can read and see details about the process.
Title: Stand Your Ground.
Original monster painting: Thue Møller Hylle (Instagram: tmharten).
Concept/idea/model/edit/retouch and everything else: Me.
To me the monster here is a symbol of anxiety, but it could might as well be the self doubt, fear of failure etc. in man.
When the monster comes for you, you can’t outrum it or hide from it.
The only thing to do is to face it, stand up against it and show who’s the boss of your actions!
It’s hard and scary, but it is possible. When you master this, the monster will no longer be as scary and you will be in control. Trust me.
I shot the main frame on a road 50 meters from my house. I did it a foggy sunday morning.
I dressed in all black “everyday” clothes, because I did not want the clothing to steal the focus. It almost made it look like a silhouette.
Color, low saturated. I almost always make my dark portraits in color and not like my other photography (documentary, family photos, paid jobs), which most often are black and white.
The monster is the prop I guess:). I will describe how I put it in the frame later in “#8. Post Proccesing.”
When I photographed the main frame (me on the road) I was aware of three important details:
a) Symmetry. Meaning the camera was placed in the middle of the road, so the “lines of the road” would end in the center of the frame.
b) I was placed in the middle of the road (symmetry again).
c) A lot of empty space above the tree line, so there was room for the monster.
7. Light (flash/natural light):
I used only natural light.
The early morning sun hidden behind the clouds and fog, worked as a gigant softbox (a softbox makes soft and awesome light).
The photo was edited in Lightroom and Photoshop Elements (PSE). I started in Lightroom with basic editing on the main frame. I then took a photograph of a print I made of the painting (Thue send it by e-mail). Afterwards I composed the monster into the main frame, by deleting everything but the monster. It took a while to decide where to place the monster and when I did, I played with layers to find the best one suited.
I then layed some extra fog into the picture so that the monster would be less clear and I also dodged & burned a lot (dodge = lighten parts, burn = darken parts). The final color correction was made by presets I have made in the program Exposure X.
I shot this with my Nikon d800 and my Sigma Art 35mm 1.4 lens. Settings were 1/125 sec, f/5, iso 400 at 35mm. The camera was set on a tripod in approx 1 meters hight.
Here are some un-edited frames used for making the image.