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Photomontage Process

Creating my photomontage cityscape scenes is a detailed, thoughtful process that can take 3 to 9 weeks depending on the size of a project.

To start, I familiarize myself by doing quite a bit of research online and talk to anyone that is familiar with the place. Even places I know well, I will often map out which buildings, landmarks, and views I want to photograph. Using a Canon 6D DSLR, I take many photos capturing the key spots I researched. I walk as much as possible from place to place with a heightened awareness; staying open to all that is around me. I roam up and down main streets and side streets to thoroughly take in the area. This allows me understand the area well, catch details not sen by tourists, and capture what seems to be truly unique to the area. I often make at least 2-3 trips through the area I want to capture.

Once in my studio, I start the long process of editing the photos. I review all the photos and narrow them down to key images of buildings, people, signage, etc, that best represent what I want to express. Using Adobe Photoshop, I isolate the key objects from their backgrounds so they are stand-alone objects that can be placed anywhere in a scene.

Next, the most time consuming part. While still using Photoshop, I slowly compose a scene with these isolated pieces. I try many different iterations; seeing which objects fit best together visually but also contextually. I focus on scale, depth, and what should have more focus. This is one of the most exciting steps for me; I feel like I am solving a complex puzzle. I know I am close when everything seems to start falling into place. Much clean-up and refinement is done once me (and often a client) likes the resulting composition. I use many media types to print these final scenes. I use archival pigment inks on cotton rag paper for my limited edition prints, but I can also print on wood, acrylic, glass and fabric for my large format installation work. Even getting the scene handprinted as a mural has been done!