image progression: paris II

Paris II, digital photo manipulation, 2011
Paris II, digital photo manipulation, 2011

I recently joined a few friends on a quick weekend trip to Paris.  The weather was rather cold and dreary and the trip seemed to end to soon, but the company was delightful, and that city is always enchanting. It always leaves me in awe.  On our second night we took a bicycle tour, enjoying the sunset as we cycled past iconic Parisian landmarks including the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral.  We took in the sights and sounds of city gradually making our way to the Louvre. 

By the time we reached the courtyard with its glass pyramids, night had fallen and the lights from the building strikingly accented the Louvre’s architecture.  Glowing light fell from the museum windows into the courtyard, we caught sight of stunning marble statues.  A street musician beautifully played the cello, and as the sound cascaded though the chilly February air, I felt intoxicated by the perfection of the moment that surrounded me.   

Paris windows, photo/copyright: Carly Swenson 2011
Paris windows, photo/copyright: Carly Swenson 2011
Sculpture, photo/copyright: Carly Swenson 2011
Sculpture, photo/copyright: Carly Swenson 2011

In this work, I used the same background window photo seen in my previous piece.

I also added an original image I took of an elegant marble sculpture from outside the Louvre of a woman with a greyhound.  I added stock images of  the Arch de Triumph, columns and an classic odalisque figure, to emphasize the Parisian setting and feminine beauty.

For the Arch de Triumph photo, I altered it with a mint green and violet with an artistic filter in Adobe Photoshop. This set the main color scheme for the piece.  Using muted shades of green and deep violet, I applied a Note Paper filter with a moderate relief to get my desired simplified image with a slight sense of depth. I altered the brightness/contrast of the pillars, with the background imagery cropped out. I made several duplicate layers of the columns, allowing me to play with different variations of filters and opacity until I found the ideal combination.

Odalesque, stock image: Liquid Library
odalisque, stock image: Liquid Library

The photographed windows and brush design elements (upper left) were added toward the end of the piece to create color unity.  These elements also added visual interest, giving the image more depth.  The telephone (center left) and branches (center right) were also added as custom Photoshop brushes. Other custom brushes of more simple design elements were layered in, with the same color palette –curly spirals (top left, damask wallpaper patterns (left side, center).

The digital manipulation of the sculpture consists of roughly four separate layers.  These layers utilize very basic filters including Cutout, Poster Edges and Halftone with a light pink and black.  By erasing sections of each layer, or altering layer opacity.

5 Replies to “image progression: paris II”

  1. Love your photos. And am happy to hear that you find Paris enchanting. My closest peeps who have been have not liked it. I have never been and still in my heart know that I will find it magical.


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