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NESOP MASTER CLASS: Creative Photo Compositing – WINTER

Just as a photograph can record fragments of reality, it can also be created out of fragments. This is what a photo montage does. It juxtaposes and melds seemingly disparate objects into a cohesive whole, fragments from many sources, to present a different reality, in the way a dream might present fragments from different times and places. Blurring the line between photography and painting, a composited photo can invite the viewer to enter into a world of magic or mystery, of whimsy or the unconscious. It asks us: what realities exist beyond the traditional limits of gravity, linear time, or social convention? It can create an imaginary world, outside of the conventional, into the world of dreams and imagination and fantasy. It permits us to create extraordinary images out of ordinary things. In this intensive master class workshop, we will use the tools of Photoshop to begin to create composited images from our own found, taken, and scanned images. We will consider not only the technical issues but also what makes the image work as a piece of Art. To create a sense of magic realism or the possibility of a new reality, we will practice making the disparate elements meld seamlessly. In doing so, we will consider masking, edge treatments, color space, shadows and highlights, texture, perspective, depth of field, harmony, symmetry, and of course composition and narrative, all in the service of creating a cohesive image.

The Structure: The way to learn art – and we’re making art – to is to MAKE art, and then experiment, review, share, revise, revise, revise, and make it again! After brief introductions and demonstrations of various tools, I expect you to start experimenting and making mistakes. Choose images to select away from the background; consider images to use for a background or perhaps to blend together. You will be trying many different relationships, and assume that most will be throw-aways. This is part of the process. You may want to create your own photographic composites with your own images or, if you prefer, with images I can provide. If you’re in the ‘practice and experimental’ stage or if you want your images to exist on your monitor or mobile device or in the ether, use lo-res images (72 dpi). But if you feel confident and want to consider larger-scale prints, then by all means, go for high-res (180 dpi – 300 dpi) and bring your own source material to work with. You will work independently, creating your own photographic composites, and I will be trouble-shooting constantly, and we’ll share each other’s trials and experiments and mistakes. There’s no rush. Be prepared to get frustrated, confused, baffled, and to experiment and have fun.

Assignment: None of us works or creates in a vacuum, of course, and it’s helpful to understand the impulses and influences that inspire us. To that end, each student will give an approximately 5 to 10-minute presentation of the artist that most interests or inspires her/him. This can be a photo composite artist but it can also be a painter, sculptor, whatever. We will share these presentations periodically throughout the workshop. Fran’s class atmosphere is energetic, supportive and collaborative. Participants receive continual assistance and feedback on their works in progress. Frustration and laughter is to be expected and relished! I encourage experimentation, discovery, play, fun, and the open exchange of concepts, ideas, and techniques. Think of this workshop as a big playground, where you might get a few skinned knees but you’ll do so laughing and learning.


Artist Bio

Fran Forman’s  photo paintings have been exhibited widely, both locally and internationally, and are in many private collections as well the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (Washington, DC), the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Grace Museum (Texas), the Sunnhordland Museum (Norway), Western Carolina University Fine Art Museum, the Comer Collection at the University of Texas, and the County Down Museum (Northern Ireland).

Escape Artist: The Art of Fran Forman was published by SchifferBooks and was selected as one of the Best PhotoBooks of 2014 by Elizabeth Avedon and won First Place in an international competition. Fran’s 2nd major monograph, The Rest Between Two Notes, with 100 color plates, will be released in September 2019, and is published by Unicorn Publishing, UK.

Most recently, Fran has mounted solo exhibitions at The Fox Talbot Museum, Lacock Abbey, England, The Massachusetts State House (The Griffin Museum of Photography), AfterImage Gallery (Dallas), the University of North Dakota, Galeria Photo/Graphica (Mexico), and the Pucker Gallery (Boston), as well as numerous group shows. In the past decade, Fran has won numerous significant awards and prizes; most recently, first place from the Julia Margaret Cameron awards and three awards (First Place, Gold and Silver) from PX3 Prix de la Photographie, Paris.

Fran studied art and sociology at Brandeis University, received an MSW in psychiatric social work, and then an MFA from Boston University. She is represented by Pucker Gallery (Boston), AfterImage Gallery (Dallas), SusanSpiritus Gallery (California), and Galeria Photo/Graphica (Mexico).



To participate in this class, student must be 18 years of age or the minimum of a high school graduate (or the equivalent).

Pre-Requisite: Students will have their own creative image files to work from and an strong understanding of Adobe Photoshop.

March 7 - March 8

Saturday & Sunday 10:00AM-4:00PM



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Please note: NESOP’s evening workshops do not fall under the scope of the school’s accreditation, and so they are not accredited by ACCSC.