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Photoshop Pingpong

This is the second game played between Peter and Myself, experimenting with the idea of launching games between our respective schools. Peter teaches in a secondary school in Ontario.

I include a commentary which I used in class to show students some of the thinking process going on behind the image making. Peter's comments are added in red.

Ross v Peter - Game Two


The serve - a photograph that I took in a shopping mall in Liverpool - I often take photos of myself in mirrors and windows. This was taken on the 2nd of three floors, looking up at a mirrored ceiling which was reflecting the lower floor, while the gap was showing the roof. A photo looking both up and down in space - the way in which the mirrors fracture the image is fascinating - it already looks like a photomontage.


Peter turns me into a visitor at a butterfly house - maybe I am a Lepidopterist with my ridiculous collection of bags. This image strongly suggests a second viewer now.

I wanted to redefine the space within the image while adding a new focus and mixed context.


My turn, and I add grass, a pith helmet and anthropomorphise the butterfly - a touch of fairytale - tinkerbell - Terry Gilliam, Monty Python, a touch of the absurd. We move outside.


Back indoors again, Peter dramatically alters the perspective, adding the staircase, and adding movement to the butterfly - The goggles add to the Gilliam/Biggles mad explorer feel.

I really wanted to twist the reality of the pic - the stairs were perfect!


I move the whole thing back outside - a photo of my own house. I was planning to try and take it through the skylight, but didn’t want to go on the roof in the wet. I get a second reflection of me taking the photo as a bonus.


Peter picks up on the idea of these reflections - adding the bikes, and an image of himself - bringing the two players more directly into the image.


I turn the image to night, and add lots of bits an pieces - my camera becomes a watch, suggesting time - more Gilliam, but perhaps also Alice - so in comes the cheshire cat... Also a Muybridge nude walking down the stair, birds, which are also Muybridge, but might suggest Hitchcock, and Peter gets a bowler hat, that might be Hitchcock again, or maybe Magritte, or Lautrec.


Peter picks up on the Alice theme - adding the dormouse and the white rabbit - and adding fig leaves, which make me wonder of Canadian sentiment is perhaps more prudish than the British, especially in relation to education.

"No Sex PLease - We're British! was all I thought of! Don't ya just love tongue-in-cheek humour? .(Better than tongue somewhere else!)


I fold the whole image into a time machine - 2001, or doctor who - clothing the Muybridge figure in costume that is pleasingly reminiscent of Tenniel’s red queen. The Queen Mary adds to the suggestion of travel, and also the cross atlantic nature of the game. Hitchcock himself makes a guest appearance.


Back on earth, and one of the birds has escaped the 2D plane of the folded time machine, reflected in the early morning tarn.

I love the outdoors and wanted to return to eart. I also loved the foggy early morning feel - I felt it added to the time machine sense of the pic. Only partially earth bound.


I may have taken it to far too fast with this, adding some Waterhouse nymphs, Hylas, and The Lady of Shallot, drifting down stream to meet her destiny. I have added three of my own cherubs, on a school gallery visit, posing in front of a painting perhaps.


Peter places the image firmly in London - in a photograph that he took while on a school visit - a serendipitous juxtaposition.

The original planes of the image become glass continuing their vague connection to our earth bound world.


A final image, which places the whole to date into the art studio at Sidcot. Kriss is painting, while Cedric looks through an album of the images, and each stage of the game is somewhere to be found. Kriss and Cedric are two of my more eccentric students. I was hoping that picturing them might encourage them into their own game of Photoshop Pingpong.

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