In this 3 part special feature Dunedin Photographic Society member Jenny Longstaff shares how she goes about creating her fascinating artworks that start as simple photos.
The first 2 images are repeat patterns:
- a kereru native NZ pigeon – photographed on my back yard clothesline
- an Australian rainbow lorikeet – photographed when I was hand-feeding it at Broulee on NSW south coast.
I removed the backgrounds (in Photoshop) so the shapes of the birds were clearly defined. Through my past working life as a book designer, I am familiar with the InDesign program, so I use that to position my photos on a blank page (dimensions to my own choice), then arrange copies of the photo to create the repeat patterns. Using commands such as copy and paste, mirror image, and flip vertically or horizontally, or changing the angle of placement, brings in as much variety as I need.
For the kereru design my main preoccupation was to create an ambiguous design of positive and negative areas that would not be immediately recognisable. In fact, some people never see the birds until they are pointed out to them!
For the lorikeet parrot designs I was playing with the vibrant colour arrangements. The images were included in an exhibition I held during the International Science Festival, which I called “Pigments of Imagination”, aimed at children. It was about colour theory and mixing, so the bird’s plumage was a good example of primary and secondary colours. I arranged them to enhance the feeling of rhythm and energy, and colour vibrations. A drop-shadow effect was added to the larger single bird to make it more 3-dimensional.