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The art of Composite Photography - Sharon and Robert Prenton Jones - 23rd October 2020

Last night we were joined via Zoom, from a locked down North Wales by Sharon and Robert Prenton Jones who specialise in composite images. They use a home studio to capture many of the people in their composite images with control of the lighting using a variety of light sources. Where they captured the image of the people outside they often used supplementary lighting to create the effect they wanted.

Robert began the evening by demonstrating how, by taking his inspiration from his interest in Renaissance paintings, and the use of light in them, he is able to very effectively recreate this in his images. His early images showed the use of candle light as the light source. But with the need to keep challenging himself he moved onto trying to effectively incorporate partly hidden light sources. His images demonstrated the immense thought to detail required to be really successful with composite images.

The final image he showed us, his interpretation of De Vinci’s Last Supper, took him over a year to complete. Each person in the image being photographed separately in all the different positions of the different apostles in the original painting before finally deciding on their final position in the image. To position all the figures successfully around the table gave him approximately 100 layers in photoshop, and exceeded the memory on his computer! And he still needed to find the room he wanted to set it in and put food on the table!!

After the break, Sharon demonstrated a completely different take on composite images. She has based much of her recent work on Celtic myths and legends, which she produced in a panel for her FIAP. The figures she used were cut out from their original backgrounds using Topaz Mask rather than Photoshop. The figures were then placed on blurred and textured backgrounds which she very clearly demonstrated, step by step, how to create in Photoshop. Sharon used a combination of Gaussian Blur, Transform and Liquify effects typically used on separate layers. She also varied the layer Blending modes and Opacity to achieve the desired effect.

Our thanks to both of them for a very relaxed, humorous and entertaining evening. For information on workshops they provide visit their website

Next week we will be joined by Phil Cooling who will give a presentation entitled Weird and wonderful – ish.

A reminder that images for our 3rd open competition should be with the competition secretary by Friday 6th Novemeber.

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