Another difficult one to interpret. Yesterday
However, I thought I’d have a go at digital collage and do something quirky. OK, so it might be a bit hackneyed, but you know they say: ‘Yesterday is dead and gone’.
And so it is. Every dawn, a new day is minted. Every sunset, the light dies. As each twenty-four hours rolls around, and the earth completes another spin in its journey around the sun, another day is brought into being and then destroyed, and another takes its place.
What else can we say about yesterday? Yesterday is history. Yesterday is a memory. Yesterday is gone. Well, that all fits with a gravestone analogy, doesn’t it?
So, how did I do this one? Well, it was fairly simple, really. A background, a fabricated picture of a gravestone, and some creative lettering and lighting effects in Photoshop Elements.
In my files, I had a wonderfully atmospheric photograph taken at a local SSSI* and nature reserve called Hills and Holes, so named because it literally is all small hillocks and hollows – these were the excavations and spoil heaps from the days when it used to be a quarry. Some say it was first used by the Romans, but it was certainly there in medieval times, and we do know that the stone for Peterborough and Ely cathedrals came from here. It’s a wonderful place, being one of this area’s few surviving limestone meadows, and it has some interesting wildlife and some very rare plants. In the spring, when those rare plants are blooming, various parts are roped off so people don’t trample them, and you’re likely to trip over any of a dozen or so photographers, lying prone, trying to get a good shot of a Pasque Flower or an Early Purple Orchid.
The little tussocks you can see in the photo are actually the homes of the yellow meadow ant, and many are over 100 years old. Impressive, huh?
In the autumn, the hollows are often filled with mist giving the whole place a very eerie feel. Other times, the air is clear, but there’s a strange quality to the light – and that’s what I used here. Actually, this is one of the ‘flat’ bits, but I think it’s just hummocky enough to make it look ancient. Which, of course, it is.
I cut out the shape of a gravestone from Morguefile, and used it as a template to cut a layer from a large picture of a flat rock face, thus avoiding the original lettering on the headstone. Then I duplicated the layer and moved it slightly out of alignment to give it a 3-D appearance, lightening the underneath one so that the edges stood out. The typeface is Arial Black for the lettering, which I made transparent, and then used a ‘sharp pillow’ embossing effect to make it look as if it had been chiselled into the stone. Lastly, I added some directional lighting.
It was necessary to ‘move’ some of the grass to make it look as if the gravestone was actually embedded into the ground, too. Apart from that, and adjusting the lighting levels and contrast of the two images so that they matched before combining them, that was it.
The gravestone doesn’t look particularly new, which was deliberate. Although the date on the stone is that of the day before the Illustration Friday prompt was published (to try to fit well with that theme), I wanted to give the impression of ‘yesterday’ as a concept. I quite like the way the land forms a bowl shape behind the gravestone, and hopefully, this gives the impression that it’s being drawn backwards, away from you. Into the mists of time, as it were.
Yeah, that sounds a bit fanciful, doesn’t it? Forget I said anything!
I’d be interested to know what you think. To me, it kind of feels like cheating to do a digital collage, but it was something I wanted to try, having seen some very clever ones on Illustration Friday.