Julie Pallant blurs the lines between photography and art by replacing busy backgrounds with simple ones.
In the last edition, she took us step-by-step through how she rescues bird photos by replacing the less-than-ideal backgrounds with black. Here she expands the technique, by replacing the background with a texture to give the image a more ‘arty’ feel. This might be a useful approach for those frustrated photographers who, because of COVID restrictions, have had to resort to visiting the local zoo to get their yearly ‘wildlife photography fix’.
"Last year (in-between COVID lockdowns), I took my almost 2-year-old grandson to the Melbourne Zoo, taking my camera along to record the visit. My intention was to produce a photo book for his birthday, using the images of the animals we visited on the day. Although I managed to get some reasonable shots of the animals, the backgrounds were less than ideal, showing the typical zoo distractions of fences, feeding troughs, buildings and people.
"I decided to experiment by swapping out the backgrounds with textures and backgrounds that I purchased online. There are a growing number of artists who sell their artwork for this purpose (I have listed a few you might like to check out in the Resources box). My goal was to hide the distractions, drawing the focus to the animal/bird and to give the image a more ‘painterly’ effect. As you can see from the accompanying examples, I have used a variety of backgrounds, adapting them to suit the colour tones of the animal or bird.
"For my project, all the backgrounds have a ‘warm earthy’ tone, creating a consistent look throughout the book. The resulting images were given a tick of approval from my grandson when he received his special zoo book for his birthday. The book has also proved popular with parents and grandparents looking for a different picture book as a special gift and the images themselves look great on large canvases, which I sell at my local Bangalow market in northern NSW, often confusing visitors who cannot work out if they are photos or paintings!"
Julie explains step-by-step how she creates her masterpieces in the current issue of Better Photography (Issue 105). Click on the link below to subscribe - plus you get immediate access to 50 back issues full of informative material and inspirational ideas! Use coupon code BP40 to get 40% off - just $29.88 for an annual subscription.