Vermeer and a retouching challange
A couple of months ago I was approached by Adobe and their agencies to see if I would be interested in being a part of a campaign recreating stolen or missing artwork.
This recreation would be done only using images from Adobe Stock.
At first I dismissed the thought.
I’m a photographer and I live and breathe the creating images.
Yes, I use Photoshop as an extension of my photography to create visuals that is idea driven and at times improbable but the thought of using stock photography to recreate someone else’s art was not something I would be up for.
That afternoon I went running.
A run always starts out heavy. Most of the time there even is a great resistance to put on the running shoes, and the first 10 minutes are always a mind over matter endeavor. After those 10 minutes however the body and breathing finds its rhythm and I go.
This is when I do my best thinking…
During this run it occurred to me this would be an amazing exercise. A lot of my work is inspired by paintings so why not take this on and use it as a way to learn what goes into making one photographically?
I had also been resisting retouching, spending more time outside shooting or working on other projects than giving time to the computer to complete some of my recent work.
So after a good run among the oaks along Thornsberry Road I decided to put my hat in the ring and take on the recreation of Vermeer’s The concert.
It was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, in 1990 and and have yet to resurface. It is thought to be the most valuable unrecovered stolen painting ever, with a value estimated at over $200,000,000.
Now it was my task to recreate it, only using imagery from the Adobe Stock Website.
I’m not good about time. My optimistic self always feel I can get more done in less time than actually required.
On my initial call with agency and client I estimated this to take about a week.
3-4 days to find the pieces and 3-4 days to retouch it all together.
I have done a few major mistakes in my estimation of time but this was probably the worst…
Three weeks later with deadlines being pushed I had to call the image done.
It still however is a work in progress. I have revisited it a few times taking notes on revisions needed but for now it stands as is.
At 852 layers and countless pieces of imagery masked, tweaked and reshaped into a recreation of Vermeer’s masterpiece.
One of the questions I was asked after we were done was how I would take something like this on?
The only answer I have is; by not knowing what you are getting yourself into…
In my cluless estimate of time I’m glad I committed to the effort to create this homage to Vermeer and his work.
You can see a BTS and interview over at Complex here: