Exercise 23: Alteration

Task: Deliberate, out-and-out alteration of the content of the image.

The brief for this exercise was to successfully remove an element of an image. Selecting the right image to use was key to this exercise. There needed to be a substantial amount of background to use as a source for copying over the area needed to be altered. I chose this beach image of a canoeist who was about to set sail in his canoe.

DPP Exercise 23 Original

Unfortunately just as I took the photograph a boy and his dog entered the shot. Having 2 different subjects in the image is distracting and confusing to the viewer. Is the photograph of the canoeist or the boy and his dog? Therefore I felt this exercise was an ideal opportunity to alter and improve the image.

After opening it in Photoshop I copied the background as a layer so that I wasn’t altering the original image. Since the red colour of the canoeist and his canoe was bright against the sea I decided to remove the boy and the dog. I used the clone stamp and copied an area of the sea to ‘paint’ over the boy. Once he had been removed I then cloned other more detailed areas of the water to create the ripples in the sea and blend the space where the boy had been, taking particular care to retain the edge of the tide. After that I had to identify other elements of the boy in the image. He had been reflected in the sand, so I cloned the wet sand to copy over him. There was an obvious space amongst the surrounding pebbles when I had finished, so I cloned some of the pebbles and added them to where the boy’s reflection had been. The final element that needed removing was the dog. Again I took care to retain the white water line of the wave. I also had to remove the water trail that the dog had created behind him as this would have looked odd in the final image (below).

DPP Ex 23 Altered


I thoroughly enjoyed this exercise and am very pleased with the outcome. Looking at the scene now you would think the canoeist was all alone. Thinking back to my blog post Shopped Photos I see this exercise as being towards the extreme end of editing, deceiving the viewer by altering what the camera had captured. However if I had waited for a short time longer, before taking the photograph, then the dog and boy may well have not been captured, creating an image similar to the altered one above. Before I started this course I strongly disagreed with photo manipulation. However, having now been responsible for manipulating one I thoroughly enjoyed it and can see opportunities to be more creative. Maybe there are certain levels of acceptability. The viewer would have had a better experience by looking at the altered image than the confusion presented in the first one. Also the meaning of this photograph has remained the same, of human interaction with the coast.

Now that I have completed the final exercise in section 4 I will be thinking about the image for my Real or fake assignment. I hope to use cloning in some way.

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