Introduction to Digital Imaging: Week 4

6 years

In week four of Introduction to Digital Imaging I focussed on completing assignment 1.

Assignment 1

Assignment #1 for Introduction to Digital Imaging requires the creation of two composites created in Photoshop. These composites must combine 5 (or more) photographs and use 10 or more photoshop techniques. Reflection should include pictorialism, composition and pictorialists artists.

The brief

The aim of this assignment is to produce original images that have been composited from elements of existing images. Your final images should be optically correct, that is, physically possible and photographically plausible. For example, elements within the new composition should be scaled and lit in relation to other elements. Therefore, your final images should appear as they would, if they had been photographed as single images in-camera. (Charles Sturt University 2018)


To kick start assignment 1, I have decided to start with some research to allow a foundational knowledge of the critical components, which include Pictorialism and composition.


Pictorialism was a photographic movement that flourished between 1890-1930 and sought to capture an emotional connection through the use light, shadow and processing effects (Art Gallery of New South Wales, n.d.). Pictorialists declared that their photographs were artworks, which deserved recognition (Hirsch 2017, 194).

In a sense, pictorialism was the foundation in which we see photography as not just a platform for recording visual information, but an artform which renders a psychological message and intuitive ideas.

The connection between pictorialism and my work on assignment 1, draws on the way pictorialists “controlled images to express ideas regarding the subject” (Hirsch 2017, 195). When working with Photoshop, I am incorporating different images with the aim of telling a story and informing the viewer of my intention. Not merely to say this is a photograph of x, but that x means y and intended in an artistic and emotional sense. Additionally, the way in which pictorialists employed the use of processing effects, the same is carried out in Photoshop. While this assignment does not call for the abstraction and blur used by some artists, I am still making a conscious decision to edit, alter and apply an assortment of modifications that conceives the artwork as a whole.


In week two, I conducted some research on composition and wrote the following.

Thomas Clark defines composition as “how various parts come together to create a harmonious whole” (2011, 10) and declares photographic composition “represents the decisions you make when creating an image” (2011, 10). The choices involved in creating good composition cover a range of technical, aesthetic and personal choices which are reflected in the final work. Some of these include; lines, shapes, patterns, repetition, framing, frame division (such as rule of thirds), golden ratio, colour, light, perspective, order and the selection of the most important features of the subject (Harold 2010).

Good composition is so critical to good photography and design as a whole. Following the principles allows you to have a broader understanding of visual aesthetics, and what the human eye is drawn too. It also gives you the personal and artistic choice to decide when you can break those rules too.

Pictorialist Photography

I find it very inspiring that the pictorialists captured photographs that are so ‘modern’. If you consider that many were taken in 1900-1930 it is quite astounding, the stories they capture. There is such a strong emotional and engaging aspect, that makes you feel drawn within the images and connect with the subject matter.


Inspiration is a great way to start the creative process and observe photographic and digital artworks that have been composed by great artists.

Pictorialism Photography

Photo Manipulations

Each gallery can be viewed on via my Pinterest account.


Ideation is how I generate ideas and decide on two chosen concepts. The process involves mind mapping, examination of selected approaches and picking photographs to be used in the final composites.

Mind Map

I created a mind map that explored five focal areas; personal identity, personal values, Pictorialism, Photoshop and composition.

Introduction to Digital Imaging Assignment #1 - True Lies

Concept Ideas

Using the mind map as the inspiration, I generated six ideas for potential concepts.

  1. Examination of photography as an art form
    This concept would involve looking at photography through frames, which pinpointed fragments of images that told a story. It would also use components of pictorialism to connect the idea to photography as art.
  2. Evolution of life over time
    This concept would involve three generations of women placed together to explore the connection to family and the changes in society towards women.
  3. Country landscape
    This concept would involve looking at a country landscape, which provided a glimpse into rural life.
  4. Personal anguish and depression
    This concept would involve a look at the emotional turmoil of mental illness. Captured through a model and background environment.
  5. Creative workspace
    This concept would look at a creative workspace, perhaps a desk or studio.
  6. Act of equality
    This concept would involve models that interact with each other, to show equality of people from diverse backgrounds.

Selected Concepts

From my list of concept ideas, I selected two which I felt would have the most significant impact on assignment 1. I elaborated on each concept to have a solid foundation in which they are built.

Concept 1: Art in the Frame

Drawing inspiration from pictorialism, this concept looks at photography as an art form. Frames are used to examine a selection of women, which have been cropped to portray an emotional and engaging aesthetic while also linking in a message of women’s rights.

Concept 2: Private Retreat

Inspired by natural landscapes and the beauty imposed by the world around us, concept 2 focuses on an isolated country paradise with a cabin on a lake, towering mountains and a solitary figure observing the scene.


To source the photography that I would use in my compositions I searched on the website which provides an extraordinary range of imagery that is allowed for personal and commercial use.

Concept 1: Art in the Frame
Concept 2: Private Retreat


Concept 1: Art in the Frame

I constructed the first composite by starting with the floorboards and building to the image with the wall, picture frames, model and images used within the frames. I created layer masks and modified with adjustment layers and effect layers. Because the final image was in black and white I enhanced any colours to suit my desired outcome.


Composite 1 ‘Art in the Frame’ draws inspiration from pictorialism, as photography as an art form. It incorporates imagery of women in a gallery setting to engage the viewer with a message of female empowerment and diversity. The composite has been constructed using the fundamentals of photography composition “to create a harmonious whole” (Clark 2011, 10).

Concept 2: Private Retreat

I created this composition by starting with the house on the lake, removing the background and adding in the mountains. I made sure the trees blended into each other and removed other houses that were visible. I then removed the sky from the background and added in more clouds that had more dynamics. I then added the model into the water and tried to improve the shadows and highlights with dodge, burn and gradients. Next, I added the birds and clouds. During the process I applied clipped adjustment effects to


Composite 2 ‘Private Retreat’ draws inspiration from pictorialist artists such as Peter Henry Emerson and Harold Cazneaux who captured emotional and engaging imagery. The composition visualises a country landscape in which a solitary figure resides in the water examining the scene.

Final Composites

Concept 1: Art in the Frame
Art in the Frame by Kassandra O'Shea
Art in the Frame by Kassandra O’Shea
Concept 2: Private Retreat
Private Retreat by Kassandra O'Shea
Private Retreat by Kassandra O’Shea


Art Gallery of New South Wales. n.d. “Pictorialism :: Photography :: Education kits :: Learning resources :: Education :: Art Gallery NSW.” accessed 22 March 2018.

Berndt, Philipp. 2016. “Door in a white room photo.” accessed 26 March 2017.

Blackbird, Anter. 2017. “Please Donate – Portrait of an Angel (2) photo “, accessed 27 March 2018.

Bravo, Luca. 2016. “Forest near a granite mountain photo “, accessed 27 March 2018.

Cazneaux, Harold. 1915. The bamboo blind. Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Cazneaux, Harold. 1919. Shadow play. Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Charles Sturt University. 2018. VPA104 Assignment #1 – True Lies.

Clark, Tom. 2011. Digital photography composition for dummiesFor dummies. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Davis, Harold. 2010. “Creative composition digital photography tips & techniques.” In Creative composition digital photography tips & techniques, 158-228. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley.

Emerson, Peter Henry. 1885–86. Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gangwar, Saksham 2017. “Golden Graze photo.” accessed 27 March 2018.

Gorn, Alexandra. 2017. “Scandinavian style photo.” accessed 26 March 2017.

Hirsch, Robert. 2017. “Suggesting the Subject: The Evolution of Pictorialism.” In Seizing the Light: A Social & Aesthetic History of Photography, 191-215. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Huynh, Billy. 2017. “Clouds photo.” accessed 27 March 2018.

Jordan, Bianca. 2018. “Senior worker at 1st Ave Laundry Center, New York.” accessed 27 March 2017.

Käsebier, Gertrude. 1899. Blessed Art Thou among Women. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Liu, Chang. 2017. “Shrouded photo “, accessed 26 March 2017.

Markham, Joel. 2018. VPA104 Autumn Session 2018 Week #2 Pictorialism. Charles Sturt University.

Rae, sydney. 2017. “Wall, brick, white and painted HD photo.” accessed 26 March 2018.

Reichmuth, Dino. 2016. “Evergreen cabin in Arnisee photo “, accessed 27 March 2018.

Sortino, Joshua. 2017. “My Quiet Place photo “, accessed 27 March 2018.

Weil, Mathilde. circa 1900. Across the fields. Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Whitfield, Jordan. 2017. “Wave, beach, sea and sky HD photo “, accessed 27 March 2018.

Zeller, Samuel. 2016. “Girl with backpack in art gallery photo “.

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