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Book Review: Photomontages with Photoshop: O’Reilly Designer Series

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It’s always a good sign when a book about photography and graphics is itself visually appealing.

Photomontages with Photoshop: a Designer’s Notebook is the third in a logically progressive trio of books that take the reader from snapshot to stunning displays of digital daring.

Though the steps along the way are not easy each book does a great job of providing easily followed details.

Unlike their two-dimensional story-board counterparts taped or tacked to a refrigerator or wall, photomontages are layers of differing images on top of each other.

Like most everybody else on earth, images are appealing to me. A well-composed photo will say and show one thing. A brilliant one will have a secret. There will be something in that photo, a deeper layer that won’t be appreciated right away. Sometimes people can look at a photo for years before they see the secret, the artistic touch that the good photographers are able to add in from what was available to them.

A Photoshop photomontage can, therefore, be viewed as one secret after another, layered to almost always also create one striking effect. An image that also takes an artistic eye to make it all work.

This book take sonly nine case studies following a simple photo – one many a photographer would be proud to call theirs – and building on its beauty to send a different message.

That the big market for all this work advertising on should not let detract from the skills involved. After all CD and book covers are advertising as well but many — especially with the now-gone bigger 12″ vinyl album canvas are revered and will be for many years to come

One image, two image, three image …

This book is not merely a technical manual about imagery. Each of the nine examples is a narrative from the artist, which adds another layer of judgment as to the value and difficulty of the work.

Listed is the computer and camera hardware used and software required. A prose, fanciful description of each image puts the reader and the artist in the right frame of mind as the artist, in first person goes through the various layering, cropping, color and retouching manipulations.

You would think this step-by-step breakdown would be akin to a magician describing how he made the woman disappear. But it does not. Like a magic trick, each facet of the work requires a careful hand and an imaginative eye.

The book in its 96-page brevity is not imposing, though if you’re going to pick up and buy the book you’ll want to be serious.

Again, most of the case studies show a professional environment beyond the ease of the amateur graphic artist. So much here is exciting for anyone who sees all those tabs and menus and filters in Photoshop but has only tinkered around for amusement.

This book can help anyone approach a manifestation of true art.

See also the Blogcritic review of Illustrations with Photoshop, in the series, written by Yensid.

The artists here are Patrick Collandre, Didier Crété, Guillaume Daveau, Lamia Dhib, Taï-Marc Le Thanh, Éric Mahé, Odile Pascal, and Bernard Rossi.

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About temple

Always been a writer, always maintained an interest in politics, how people communicate and fantasy worlds within photography and books. Previously wrote for Blogcritics back in 2005 and interested in exploring the issues and topics I'm interested - the changing landscape of entertainment. all from the POV of a creator first, consumer, second.