Surreal Self-Portrait SOOBIN KIM

o Mr. Melonhead

o Research

During the first few classes, I was confused about the concept of surreal portraits and what they actually have to 'portray'. In terms of drawing, surrealism made perfect sense to me but the introduction to photography had me thinking for a while. This is why my research is based on both surreal drawings and surreal photography. This assignment seemed to linger between the two areas and I decided to think that instead of incorporating drawings, editing pictures acted as the add-ons.

o Thumbnails ( Composition )

Sometimes, things don't work out as planned. The two unfinished works below show some of my earlier ideas.

The bottom picture shows my attempt in making myself look like a statue in Easter Island.

o Images Used for Final Piece

o Process Work (Composition)

PC - Seohee Park
Notice how the pink flowers overlap with the lily pads

o Final Products

V1 and V2

o Personal Favorites

V1 and V2 [ Destauration and Blurring, Face Bands, rippling affect, swans, blue filter around areas where the ripple has not spread

o Rationale

My work is about persistence. Not exactly perseverance, but persistence. This personality is presented through and array of colorful bands that stand out against the desaturated background. These bands mask whatever underlies them, such as my unfiltered emotions, and have vibrant colors to show that it is necessary to hide something grim with somethings that's not. Many other works of surreal art have this masked element, such as Rene Magritte's 'The Son of Man'. The swans are the elements that 'test' this quality and the ripples that follow along their path signify that even the slightest triggers can affect an individual: hence the distortions around the left side of my face. But the fact that the bands are still intact and on my face defines 'persistence'. To make this more realistic, I blurred the portrait to mimic how things look underwater. In addition, a blue filter has been added except for the regions in which ripples were spreading. As a decoration, flowers and lily pads were layered and it adds a realistic element to the piece to imitate a lake.

It wasn't the pictures whose composition was incongruous to my desired angle of a bird's eye view, but simply my Photoshop skills which I had to battle with. I cannot produce the best effects and had a lot of trouble sticking to my original ideas, resulting in numerous changes to the overall theme, as shown under the thumbnail section. Now that I'm looking back, I believe I made the right choice of playing around with different effects and compositions and waiting for that epiphany (yes, this may sound a bit exaggerated but it just shows the amount of frustration I had to bear with). I believe this is the reason why my process work lacks a lot of thumbnails--I wanted to spend most of my time for practical applications.

I think it is necessary for me to stress the point that I personally did not want to add five distinct elements to my work. This is why I have uploaded my personal favorites, which is the final product without the lily pads and the flowers. I have to say that I could have replaced it with something more creative but I absolutely love the simplified version with just the swans. Difficulty arised when I had to edit a lot of pictures to make it look more realistic in my own portrait, and the fact that my family members thought the swans were a fish couple proves it.

While working on this project, I thought of incorporating my own drawings as decorations to my surreal portrait and if I can acquire the skill sets to do that in the future, I want to finish one of the earlier works that I've given up on (the one with the gray band surround my upper body). I also want to take my own pictures next time--although this was an option, I wanted to take this opportunity to work on a picture of me. For some reason, editing a picture that wasn't taken by me-- or in fact just working with anything that I didn't produce myself--felt uncomfortable (this point is explained in detail on my spark page for my traditional portraits).

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