CAN 5 self-assessment

Creating this composite image required me to considerably improve the pre-existing skills I had in cutting out and blending layers in Photoshop, so I took my laptop along to invigilation sessions and practiced during any quiet periods that arose throughout the month I was working as a volunteer at Brighton Biennial. I knew that working at the highest possible resolution would produce the best end-result, so size was the most important filter I used when searching for images to represent residents from different periods in history. Large image sizes were also vital in view of the intention I had to print the composite onto fabric at or near life size.

The composite image uses three found, one personal family archive and three specially shot images, and it took quite some time to adjust the size and position of each one such that the people were sufficiently matched in scale and the overlays fell so as to create interesting serendipitous effects like the matriarch with a floor-length skirt simultaneously appearing to be hitching it over her knees. I used different overlays and opacity settings for every layer, experimenting with these settings and with layer ordering until I achieved the effect I was looking for.

During the project’s development I investigated the possibility of projecting the image at life size onto a fabric screen as an alternative to print, and learned that projecting onto polyester mesh fabrics can be very effective in creating ghostly images. Although I didn’t end up going down this route, it is something I may well pick up again in the future, as is the large-scale print idea, which I dropped at a late stage due to time and financial constraints. I was also doubtful whether the 300 x 232 cm I was considering would be suitable for viewing in the assessment room. Again, however, looking into large-scale fabric printing was a learning curve that I believe will come in useful in the future. The presentation option I finally chose was to print the image on my newly acquired A3 Canon Pro 100-S inkjet printer, a process which entailed further large learning curves in screen calibration and printer settings.

From a creative point of view, I am fairly happy with the image and feel it expresses what I sought to capture, although I am aware that not everyone finds it engaging. I feel it also captures elements of my own exploration of personal identity in what has been an extended period of adaptation to enormous life changes for me. As with Assignment 3, this is not something I sought to include but something I noticed subsquently, and again I worked intuitively, building the image step by step rather than starting with a master plan, so this is one of the most important lessons of C&N for me – to work from my heart and not my head.

My self-assessment ratings for this assignment are as follows: