Saturday, March 3, 2012

Photo Art with Elements "Hidden" In Plain Sight

Hi my lovelies!  Thank you for all the great submissions to Photo Art Friday this week.  I am truly inspired by how many of you take on the challenge to try something new and different.

Next week, as well as any piece of photo art we choose, we have the option to create a piece of photo art with something in the image that is 'hidden in plain sight'.  This means that you will have to add or imbed something (another image, a font, a phrase ...) into your image.  Let me give you a couple of examples:

This is a simple composite image made from one of my textures, a texture from Jerry at ShadowHouse Creations and some public domain (copyright free) images from the WEB. 

The first thing your eye is drawn to is the big image of the young girl and then the clock behind her.  But can you see another image in there that is 'hidden' in plain sight?  This example is pretty obvious.  Don't ask me for any deep significance - there is none that I am consciously aware of - but I put a buddha in her hair.  I'm sure it didn't take you long to spot it.

Another example:

The image at the right is two images made with the Photoshop>Filter>Distort>Wave filter.  I have applied one with lots of little thread-y, filament-y looking pieces over another with jagged waves. 

I then applied (see image below) this combined image over an image of a fence that had a texture applied (forget which one) and was blended in Photoshop's Difference blend mode.

As you see, this is a great way of using textures in your archives!

Then, I added some little things, using my Text Tool, into the image.  See what you can find in the larger image below:

At first glance you see a simple, yet busy, abstract design.  If you take the time to look closer, you see some type in the upper left corner that says "be curious ...".  That type came with one of my textures. 

Along the horizontal bar that crosses the image in the lower third quadrant, you may notice that I typed in letters to form the phrase "rise up".  To the left of that phrase you can spot the word "now".  Here and there throughout the image you can find numbers and letters (k, y, x, b, 9, 7, 18, etc.) that I threw in  - just for fun - no special meaning.

Building on the above image we just viewed, I added more elements to the image below (a image of large, digital waves and an image of a woman).  Her confident stance prompted me to add in more text, but I did not want it to be too obvious.  Can you find it? 

Above and to the left of her head you will find "and . . ?". To her right and typed in vertically you can find the phrase, "i dare you". Other numbers and letters from the previous image are still visible too.

No deep meaning in what is hidden or visible - in fact, people make their own meaning from the images you present to them - as they should. Once we submit our creations to be viewed, all kinds of varying interpretations will be attributed to them - it's human nature to want to make meaning from disparate elements. Human beings will always create a story with the elements provided to them and the story they create ultimately says more about them than you.  This is how Rorschach ink blots work in psychological testing.

The possibilities are endless in terms of what you can add. You can do it simply to add visual interest, to highlight something that interests you, or to make a tribute, or even a social or political statement.

 For example:

Using an image with irregular-shaped 'squares' as the starting point for what was not planned as, but ended up being a little statement about war.  All images used to place in the 'squares' are public domain, procured from the WEB. 

Your eyes naturally first scan over the images and text messages.  But ... did you notice that the entire image is crawling with ants?  (Left click on the image to get a larger view!) 

Don't ask me what it all 'means' - I just follow my right brain impulses and use the images I have available to me in my archives.  (At this moment I would interpret it as conveying the thought that those who create war for profit or to boost the economy are 'creepy', low-life critters ... )  Then I keep what I like and Undo what I don't.  What meaning do you take or make from the combo of  elements imbedded in this image? 

Take another moment and see if there are other images 'hidden in plain sight' that you didn't notice at first viewing.

So ... my friends ... hope that gives you a better understanding of what the challenge is for next week's Photo Art Friday

Think about something that you've been wanting to say or illustrate, but did not have the platform or venue to say it - then - with your archive of textures, photographs, images from the Web, Text Tool (with all the wonderful fonts available), Brushes, etc. etc., make your statement, tribute, homage, gesture, using digital images as your elements of expression.

Start with something simple (perhaps just one thing that is 'hidden') and realize that your initial attempts are experiments that will help you learn what YOU like, what YOU want to portray, what YOU want to say, what YOU wish someone would say or do ... and most of all what YOUR particular style and aesthetic is ...

Rememer, you inhibit your learnings if you need things to be perfect!  Nothing is perfect and you become paralyzed if you impose this requirement on yourself.

Above all, let your creativity run riot, make glorious 'mistakes', and have fun.

Here's a graphic image you can use as a canvas to begin your creative experiments, (or you can always create your own):

For your free download of pdpa Statement Frames texture, simply click HERE.

Sharing with Lisa Gordon's The Creative Exchange!


  1. Wow...double wow! I love them all and since I've decided to do nothing over the weekend except photography related stuff, I'm going to play and enter this weeks challenge. These look like so much fun, thanks for sharing and I love all of your pieces, they were a lot of fun to look at.

    Have a wonderful weekend.


  2. Hello!
    I just found your blog and your great challenges. There is a lot of great work here, and I really want to join the challenges, although I have little experience with using textures, etc. I have to try and learn...
    Would be happy to download some of your wonderful textures and just try!
    Have a great weekend:)

  3. Very interesting -- I've never tried this. Sounds like fun! :)

  4. Bonnie, they are fantastic. I have just finished a piece from my garden that I distorted and found a hidden shape so I added another. When you search for public domain images do you just happen to find them or go to a specific site. I sometimes use Wikipedia. Cheers

  5. I love what you've done, especially with the last two images! And as always, thank you for the gorgeous free texture. I can't wait to play with it. :)

  6. Bonnie these are all quite amazing. Looks to me as if this could be a weeklong challenge. Love your art here, and will give it my best shot. Also thank you so much for the lovely new texture to try out. Fun ahead!

  7. Oh, Bonnie...I need to study this post! I want to try this fabulous technique of yours. I love what you've created.

  8. Thanks Bonnie. I am so happy to have found your site. Thanks for all you do and the thought provoking challenges and having us be ourselves.

  9. These are just fantastic Bonnie, and I love searching for the hidden items!

    Thank you so much for sharing with us this today at The Creative Exchange.

    Have a wonderful evening!


  10. think I need to come take private lessons from you! These are so fascinating. shows me that I have a really long way to go on figuring this out! So fun trying to learn

  11. Fabulous post! Love it!! And really great work you have, thanks for sharing the steps!


All comments are eagerly read and greatly appreciated.

While I do appreciate the honor, I do not accept awards or participate in assigned memes. Thanks for understanding. :)