Experimentation: Semi-abstract backgrounds


After visiting the RWA open exhibition and seeing the work of Ben Hughes, I decided to try emulating his technique via the medium of photography.

Ben Hughes creates wonderful portraits (using oil on canvas), of carefully detailed subjects, situated within semi-abstract backgrounds.  I really liked the aesthetic, so wanted to attempt something similar using a photograph as my starting point and Photoshop as my main tool.  Admittedly, there are many different ways that this could be attempted photographically (e.g., using photomontage or simple collage) but I wanted to see how this would work using purely digital techniques.

I selected a simple photograph that contained a clear subject within a plain background.  I then used multiple adjustment layers and layer masks within Photoshop in order to keep the subject looking realistic, whilst turning the background into something less real.  Overall, I am quite pleased with the end result, and experimenting in this way, has made me think about how the technique could be progressed in the future.  It is definitely something to keep experimenting with.