Technique Tuesday: Abstract Photo Collage

“Abstract Me”

Have you ever reached a pivotal point in your life where you found yourself utterly amazed at all you had been through to get to that moment? It may have been the day you graduated from college, got married or had your first child…these moments are like roadmarkers along the freeway letting us know how far we have come and how much further we have to go.

I experienced one of those moments while writing the introduction to my book. Sitting down to write my thoughts became more than simply completing another page…it became a point of reference in my life which was a culmination of many experiences; layers of dreams, disappointments and goals that all came together in a single moment. It was a moment which I will not soon forget…and one which I was moved to illustrate with a photo collage.

While I am not real comfortable with abstract collage, I had this vision in my head of illustrating my layered life with photos which led me this weeks’ technique: Abstract Photo Collage. This type of abstract photo collage may look complex, even freaky at times, but it is a fascinating way of showing age progression. This technique would also work wonderful with generational photos of family members with similar characteristics and facial features.

craft knife
copier or scanner

1. Select photos. When using photos taken at a variety of ages, the size of the face in the photos will most likely vary as mine do. Select one photo as the background reference photo; I selected the black and white photo.

2. Create a reference point. Selecting a reference point will allow the facial features to line up when layering them over another. Using a ruler, measure the head from top to the chin. In my photos, the first grade head height is 1″, and the adult photo head height is 3″.

3. Resize photo. Enlarge or reduce the second photo so that head is same measurement on both photos. Since the adult b&w photo is my background photo, I enlarged the first grade photo so the head height measured 3″.

4. Slice photo.
This is where I highly suggest making a few colored copies of the second photo and experimenting with a few different shapes; try slicing a diamond, uneven triangle or even horizontal or vertical strips.

5. Layer sliced photo. Layer sliced photo section over background photo where facial features match… tip: try to avoid slicing through the eyes if you can.

Tips for selecting photos for this technique:
- portrait photos are best
- subject should be facing the same direction in all photos (if not, simply scan or copy and flip the image horizontally)
- try to select photos where subject’s face is similarly posed, i.e., 3/4 view, full face or profile

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2 Responses to Technique Tuesday: Abstract Photo Collage

  1. Caroline says:

    Interesting that you should post this – I was trying to do something similiar yesterday but couldn’t get enough photos taken at the same angle!

  2. CheryLOL says:

    LOVE this idea! And thanks for your nice comment on my blog – if there was one person I would love to have coffee and long conversations with, it would be you! :-)