Inspirations – Jeremy Center

© Jeremy Center

One of the creative obstacles I constantly encounter is that my mind is much better skilled at making images than I am. It’s kind of like how I’m a much better piano player in my head than in real life. Never having taken any lessons doesn’t help much either. But when it comes to photography, I kinda have some chops. When it comes to digital artistry, I’m kind of a hack.

What is fortunate though is that my mind makes pictures in the first place. This one is an example of something my brain thought up all on its own. I consider my job is to make the pictures that my brain makes into a reality.  I can’t recall what it was that inspired this one.  My brain works in mysterious ways.  But what I can tell you is how I went about making it.

First I needed to figure out where to get the pieces. I had in my capacity to create almost all of the elements myself. There are four pieces to the image: sky, foreground, football player and rhino. The ground and sky were found locally at the dog walk area at Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA.  The football player I shot in my studio.  And the rhino was obtained from a stock image site. When I built the image in Photoshop, I wanted to keep all the components as independent of each other as possible. To make this happen, I put the elements into three groups: Background, Football Player, and Rhino. Doing this lets me work on each of the parts independently and maximizes flexibility as I can make changes down the line without interfering with the other components.

Once all the pieces were ready, I placed them against the background.  The next part, and most difficult and probably the weakest element, was to create realistic looking ground contact so the two pieces didn’t look like they were floating over the background. The last part was overall tonality matching, component sharpening and unsharpening, and final touches on the ground contact points. (Click here to read more about the entire process.) After I thought I was done, I walked away and watched some TV for awhile before returning to the image to make any final adjustments I may have missed.

I think the image as present, although not perfect, is pretty good. At some point one needs to move along. But the key thing here (for me at least) was to get this image out of my head and onto electronic paper. That’s where the true value of the work lies. That and now I have something pretty cool that I made. ~Jeremy Center

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