At college just now I’m teaching photoshop to NQ level students.

We’ve worked on various projects, creating a fake skyline from found images on the web, they’ve created a digital self portrait starting with an image of themselves and then manipulating it in someway… we also made some composite characters by chopping up existing characters and throwing in the odd kitchen utensil.

This week they are looking at existing artwork from books, CD sleeves, DVD covers, etc and recreating the ‘look’ with images of their own.

It was quite difficult getting that concept across. We are so used to themes and concepts having their own visual language it’s difficult to separate the two. I was asking the students to ignore the theme of the work, the characters and context and focus only on the technicalities of how the artwork was produced. What software package, what filters, what methods, and then decide how they were going to reproduce them.

Here is my simple example.

I’ve taken the Trainspotting poster – very simple design – and created a self promotional poster for me!

The themes, characters and context of the original are no more. The original had ‘various characters from the book’, now the character is ‘me’. The theme was ‘crime and drugs’, now it’s ‘lecturer and college’. The context was ‘a movie poster’, now it’s a ‘self-promotional poster.’


So themes, characters, context are all gone, all that’s left are the techniques that were used to produce the original.

So what would you do?


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