Exercise: the manipulated image


Instead of using double exposures or printing from double negatives we now have the technology available to us to make these changes in post-production, allowing for quite astonishing results.

Use digital software such as Photoshop to create a composite image which visually appears to be a documentary photograph but which could never actually be.

To make a composite image you need to consider your idea and make the required amount of images to join together.

Upload the images and decide which image you’ll use as your main image and background. Use the magic wand to select sections of image from the others you wish to move into your background image. Copy via layer and drag into the background. Do this repeatedly until you have all the pieces of your puzzle in place. In order to make it more convincing, use the erase tool on each layer to keep the edges soft and to create a better illusion. Be aware of perspective and light and shadows for the most effective results.


In thinking about my response to this exercise, I did some research, starting with the suggested Peter Kennard Photo Op series. I also took inspiration from the C&N blog of a fellow student – Andrew Fitzgibbon (see here) – who had a nice response to the exercise showing something that didn’t exist, but which could exist. I liked this idea of stretching documentary photography just a little bit to show something plausible, yet non-existing.

Following on from Wendy McMurdo’s Young Musicians series, I also look at her more recent Algorithmic Children work where the manipulation becomes much more obvious and we move into the realm of fantasy.

Wendy McMurdo - Algorithmic Gym Hall (iv), 2015

Wendy McMurdo – Algorithmic Gym Hall (iv), 2015

Christopher Relander

Christopher Relander from Jarred & Displaced

Doing some Google searches eventually landed me at Christoffer Relander’s site and his Jarred & Displaced series. I really liked the idea of somehow taking nature and preserving it in a jar. Relander explains it like this: “I play with the idea of being an ambitious collector; conserving my environments into a large personal collection. Most landscapes are from where I grew up, on the countryside in the south of Finland, where my roots still lie. Separation anxiety to my childhood is simply what absorbed me into this project.”

From this inspiration came my idea of playing on the concept of the classic Swiss “chocolate box” landscape. Why not put such a landscape in the box? It’s a gentle take on the phrase “it does what it says on the tin”.



As luck would have it, I managed to find a Swiss chocolate box with a picture of the Matterhorn (known as Mont Cervin in the French speaking part), which I paired with a photo I took quite a few years ago. I spent far, far too long wrestling with layer effects and managed to get a kind of a glow. I think it more-or-less puts across the idea. The chocolates went to a good cause.



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