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    a surreal self portrait & photo manipulation

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    A tunnel of timelessness

    When I work on a self-portrait, there are times when I find myself drifting deeply into photo manipulation. For hours. During these hours, it feels as if I'm in a tunnel, a space that belongs to me, without time. When birds start chirping I realize that time exists (and I should go to bed). Have you ever experienced this tunnel of timelessness? It's a beautiful place.


    I photographed this self-portrait using a projector/beamer. I illuminated the background with a blue LED lamp. The advantage of continuous lights is that you can capture video footage in comparison to flash photography. The following photos showcase some 'outtakes' from the shooting. It seems to work in black and white as well. The projection on my skin was a video of a fireplace, burning fire. I set the video to half speed, which was very pleasing to the eye:

    above: final Image „ɪˈməːdʒ“ Self Portrait 2022/2023

    Intuitive image editing

    Here on the right I show you the original RAW photo, the "before". Nothing special, and yet it has something in it that I wanted to follow up on. So I started to treat this photo as a project: I worked intuitively. Have you ever worked on a photo intuitively, i.e. without a concrete plan for the end result? If not, I can highly recommend it. It challenges your creativity to an extremely high level.


    At this raw point the photo felt passionate and powerful in some ways, but there was more to it, I thought.

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    Welcome image

    put it aside

    So first I edited the photo in almost the same way as my other self-portraits: colour adjustment (Blog post "Farbschemata & Komplementärfarben"), cleaning up the background and foreground, making the photo more atmospheric and kind of abstract. I also cut out part of my hair from another photo of this serie and inserted it here on the right. I also thought that a thin crescent could make the photo even more like a part of the starry sky, i.e. even more abstract. I liked it a lot. And put it aside for 3 months and showed it no one. A lot has happened in my life in those months. At the end of it I found new inspiration for this picture.


    The second thing I noticed was the area of projected fire on the right below my neck. It looked like an eye, something very abstract but still concrete in a certain way. I had the idea of experimentally mirroring this area in Photoshop.

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    where photo manipulation begins

    ...and where the weird shit begins. Hours later. I don't remember exactly what happened in those hours, I was in this timeless tunnel. But doesn't that look sick? I thought. The reflection of the fire in the chest area created a kind of alien creature, something not of this world. I liked it very much. But something wasn't right about the body for me, it wasn't right yet. I also didn't like the position of the arms (cut-out from another photo in this series). Surreal, intuitive photo manipulation in Photoshop, wonderful.

    the magic happened

    Again I worked in a different arm position from another photo in this series, so that the pose appears more open and "rising". I zoomed out and added blurred areas, a kind of brushstroke that blurs the still wet colour. Sadly I can't tell you any more about it, the magic happened between here and there in the tunnel and after many hours of experimenting, putting it aside, working on it again. But at this point I had the feeling that it was finished. I love that point when I realise that something has worked and I can finalise with a good feeling of DONE.


    Title: "ɪˈməːdʒ" Self Portrait 2022/2023


    Anyone interested in following my work and creative processes can find me on Instagram.

    CONTACT me for print requests  |  follow me on instagram | explore more of my self-portraits

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    Welcome image


    I'm a self portrait, photo artist & graphic designer living in Germany. I've been creating for over 14 years. My area of work is the creation of conceptual, experimental and artistic portraits, mainly self-portraits, visualized and elaborated with my camera and various image processing programs. I am also experimenting a lot with different visual effects like projector, different lights, smoke machine, wind machine, bodypainting, blacklights, mirrors and many more.


    Whoever deals with my work enters a world filled with profound darkness, color and light. You can also find a kind of drama or melancholy in my images, but eventually that is up to the viewer. I hope you enjoy my art.


    Cameras I use: Nikon D750, Sigma 50mm 1.4. Canon EOS 5d mark II, Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM