Progress update #2

So I have done some more blending and trying to get my image looking a bit more photo-real. I am a complete newbie to Photoshop so am finding this quite difficult, but I’m trying! I have two image ideas that I am tossing up between. One with a single hand in the ground, and one with three hands (which I haven’t blended yet obviously so use your imagination…). I would really love some feedback on which one works best!

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Progress Update

This is my progress so far. I have cut out all of my images (the hand still need some work around the edges). Obviously, I am not currently happy with the way it looks very disjointed- I will be working to make the image look more natural before I submit It! I am also tossing up between having  just one hand in the image or having more than one. I need to talk to my tutor tomorrow about how I can manipulate the images together more effectively, perhaps merging the bark into the skin. I also need to ask about how to go about creating the look of a cross section. I have photographed some soil to use, but am not sure how to manipulate it into the image. I will also add an overall colour grade to make sure all the images look as if they are in the same space.

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Concept thumbnails!

So far, I have come up with five concept thumbnails however I am aware that these are only ideas and am still thinking hard about how I could improve them. I also apologize for my complete lack of artistic skill- I tried!!

1. 11039533_1040114086016726_1574440338_n My first concept pictures a human hand coming out of the ground and forming the trunk and branches of a tree. This symbolizes the passing on of life from human to nature, which is one of the essential ideas I identified in my article. As my first concept however, it lacks the idea of a cleaner death. If i could somehow find a way to show that the hand coming out of the ground was in fact dead, I think this idea would be more effective. The background would just be very plain, as not to draw attention from the main picture- perhaps a white, or just natural blue sky. The ground would be green.

2. 11092668_1040114052683396_1789451200_nThis concept is simply a variation of the first. Rather than just the hand showing above the soil, I would picture a full human body in a silhouette form. The circulatory system (veins) would be visible in the body, and would turn into and connect to the branches of the tree. Again, it lacks the idea of a cleaner death and also the idea of the dead being folded back into the fabric of the city. I could add a city scape into the background, but I’m not sure if that would make the image too cluttered.

3. 11106273_1040114439350024_2051986013_nAnother variation on 1 and 2. This one however, depicts the human part of the tree as the roots, underneath the earth. The ground, therefore, would be a sort of cross section in which you could see the roots of the tree. The roots would be depicted as hands, stretching out into the surrounding soil, grounding the sprouting tree. I believe that this better represents the idea of the dead, because the hands are beneath the soil, but still contributing to the city. I have also added a city scape in the background of this thumbnail to illustrate my previously mentioned idea of adding the city into the background.

4. 11084415_1040113979350070_476297594_n-1 This idea is a little different, but still similar. It incorporates the three main ideas I mentioned in my last post, by illustrating a city and greenery growing inside of a coffin. This combines the traditional idea of death with the new, greener idea of building life  from death. Again,  I think I would keep the background plain white, or blue sky, just to keep the attention on the main image.

5. 11101290_1040113962683405_2130661614_n This is a variation on concept 4. Essentially it is the same, but I have added the idea from concept 1 to the image. You now see a city and tree growing from the coffin, but the tree trunk is made from a hand reaching out of a coffin. It’s kind of a spin on the  pictures we often see of zombies reaching their hands out of the dirt to come back to life, except less macabre and more environmentally friendly! In this image and the previous one, I would not necessarily include the cross on the coffin…. I just drew it there for now because otherwise it looked like a pot plant! A real coffin would be much more identifiable.

Please, I am very open to comments and ideas! Like I said, this is not the be all and end all, they are only concepts that I am looking to develop further. Thanks!

Communication Objectives

An essential element of this article is the idea of a gentle, natural, clean-green death rather than the somewhat violent cremation or chemical loaded burial processes. With this in mind, I have picked out a few quotes that I would particularly like to communicate through my image:

“A gentle way of calmly and non-violently returning back to the earth……sort of like a spa experience for the dead”

This quote basically sums up the  gentle, relaxing feeling I want my image to communicate about death and composting. I think color will play a huge part in the overall relaxed feeling of the image, and a light, fresh palate would work well. Lots of whites, greens, light blue; keeping it rather simple and earthy to communicate the environmental aspect. Also I think keeping the image itself basic rather than too busy will help reflect the simplicity and gentility of composting after death.

“When you die you can grow new life”

Another essential idea in the article is that death can be meaningful and  bring new life. Rather than leaving a concrete headstone behind, you can give back to the earth. I want to communicate this ‘life-cycle’ of sorts, and images of nature (trees) seems like a good way to do this. Somehow I will communicate a reciprocal relationship between nature and humans in which both give and take from each other. Perhaps connecting/merging the nature and human images is an idea, but I will think on this one!

“In this way, the dead are folded back into the fabric of the city” (talking about compost being used in city parks as well as family’s gardens)

I think a concern that people might have with composting their body rather than cremation or burial, is the lack of a traditional memorial-  a headstone or plaque. How will they be remembered when they are gone, if composting leaves behind no physical monument? I want my image to communicate the way composting allows people to continue to contribute and be remembered after their death.

So these are my communication objectives at this stage. I have mentioned some visual ideas as to HOW I will communicate this (such as the colors and images I could use), but  am still thinking about some aspects and am open to any ideas any kind person might offer up!

Article

When given the task of finding an article to inspire our first assignment image I honestly thought it was going to be a 10 minute job……

As it happens, I have spent the last week looking for an article that really stands out to me, both visually and in terms of interest. I think the main criteria for me, was an essential idea that underpinned the article. Something with the potential to be represented in a clean and simple, yet powerful and meaningful image.

Finally today I stumbled upon an article on the BBC website that immediately spoke to me. It is about a woman who wishes to be turned into compost when she dies, rather than buried or cremated. This is actually something that I have talked about with a few people, not because I am planning my death or anything, but because I see the need for a greener, more sustainable way of burying our dead.

It seems a morbid topic, but the solution in the article is actually a far less morbid prospect. Using our remains to sustain and grow another life (plant life that is) means that not only are we taking steps to look after our environment, death comes to serve a purpose and people somewhat ‘live on’ through nature (cheesy, yes, but true!)

Visually I believe this topic also presents some interesting opportunities to play around with dark and light (death and life?) and to experiment with nature. One image that pops into my head immediately is a visual representation of energy/life being passed on from human to environment- perhaps merging images of the human body’s veins with veins in a plant. This is just one idea however and can be built on or changed as I delve deeper into the topic.

Article source:  http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150219-i-will-be-composted-when-i-die

Name of article: ‘I will be turned into compost when I die’

Author: Rose Eveleth