Wednesday, January 30, 2008

One Night by the Hotel Pool

One of the features of the image library that was a late-but-very-welcome addition was one which allowed viewers to leave comments on pictures uploaded. One particular user, apart from being an excellent collage artist, was also skilled at spotting errors and giving out constructive criticism, for which I am eternally grateful. I'm talking, of course, about Shrinking Violet, who I believe kept a blog at the site but which has now disappeared, much to our loss. Many of my new revisions to old collages stem from comments she left me.

One of her things was eye contact in the images, and really, she's right, because unless there is a definite reason for someone in the picture to be looking at the camera (such as for a portrait), wouldn't the women rather be leering wolfishly at the hot men (and conversely, wouldn't the men rather be gazing admiringly at the hot women).

Eye contact was something which was really lacking in my earlier collages. This new version of an old collage is the start of my attempt to remedy that. In the original picture, the model was staring straight at the camera. She was also wearing those horrible bug-eyed sunglasses that, for what seemed like an interminable period, conspired to make otherwise attractive Hollywood starlets look like The Fly. Aren't we glad that fad is on the way out....

Suffice it to say, I like this version much better, because it also gives the somewhat intimidated look of the boy in the pool that tiny bit more ooomph.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Question of Scale

In my earlier work, I really didn't pay that much attention to relative scale. In other words, I'd throw men and women together into a collage without measuring properly what ratio of sizes they would have. I started becoming a lot stricter when I became serious about portraying an alternate universe where women are the taller and stronger sex. I've been going back and fixing the scales in all my old images worth keeping and posting.

The scale I usually chose for my earlier work was a very vaguely-defined half-height. There were a few reasons behind this. Part of the inspiration for my fantasy world was based on a story by CLH titled After the Apple Fell. In it, an unexplained worldwide phenomenon occurs during the turn of the millennium, causing all males to eventually shrink to half their previous height. The story is about a day in the life of.... Aw hell, just go read it yourself. CLH is a fabulous writer, creates wonderful and memorable characters, and infuses his stories with a warm sense of humor. I only wish there were more of them to go around.

Anyway, this scale appealed to me because even the tallest and strongest man would be weaker than the smallest fully-grown woman. I felt it was a good basis for me to work with visually. Of course, in my world, there was never a cataclysmic change and it's always been like this. Here, the female of the species are generally larger, and, according to trinket999ism, human evolution favored taller, more athletic women – the better to protect helpless men against such predatory menaces as saber-toothed tigers and the like – who in their turn, preferred smaller men who were easier to drag back to their caves for some convenient selective reason that I haven't bothered to work out. Evolutionary pressure thus led to this extreme sexual dimorphism.

In modern times, most boys are attracted to strong, athletic women who excel in physical activity, because it's just hardwired into their genes (and if one ain't, he's one of them weird boys and he ain't never gonna find himself a good woman). Women in this world are taller than in ours, with more upper-body development and lankier builds. I scaled our b-baller from my original collage to make her appear taller (using the basketball as a size hint) – around 6'8" – and modified her body proportions to have broader shoulders and longer legs appropriate for her height; the boys are around 3'6". At that height, she's a star on her college ball team, and boys are of course, literally throwing themselves at her everywhere she goes, even when she's not showing off for them.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


I'm fascinated by the culture of the American West. It is such a part of the American psyche, and conjures up images of rugged independence and strength. It's no coincidence that Marlboro's ad campaign of cowboys doing their thing was so successful. Naturally, I'm drawn to the idea of cowgirls. On a slightly different scale, of course.

An early version of this image on the left was my first try at a cowgirl collage. The source image contained both her and the cowboys, and I just blew her up, tried to set her hand up in a realistic fashion and left it at that. I didn't end up liking the image much however, as the model was wearing a frumpy skirt and looked like she should be carrying out apple pie and lemonade to the boys when, at her size, she would be far more suited to wranglin' cattle and breakin' in broncos. So, recently, I went back, looked at it again, and decided to get rid of the frumpy skirt. I may have sexed-up the image a bit too much though with those ridiculous shorts, but the image now has a completely different feel. Here, she's more like the rancher's daughter, back for the summer from college, posing for a photo with the ranch hands. A few of the ranch hands have crushes on her, of course, and she's probably having a summer fling with one of them. That lucky dog.

This image was also the one which gave me the inkling "Wouldn't it be cool if I made not just collages of mini-giantesses and mini-men, but if I tried to create a world where all men were around half the size of women?" I've been trying to do that since, with varying degrees of success. Although a lot of my early work did not really feature this theme, I've been going back and rejiggering them to fit in more with that idea in mind.

This image on the right was the third cowgirl image I made (the second one I ended up throwing out because it was, well, boring). Again, both figures were in the source image – I looked for these images as sources early on because they were easier to work with – and I just shrunk the boy down. And again, the problem was with her clothing. She was wearing a dress! And heels! Fashion photography just can't get cowgirls right. So, to fix it, I got rid of that dress by superimposing another more appropriate body on her. Her new pose is also a lot more aggressive than before, so that she's the one more likely to have initiated the flirting and he's leaning against the post somewhat flattered by her attention.

I also added a truck, because the background was just too blank, and well, because a cowgirl like her probably has a really nice truck.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


This is another one of my early attempts. At first, when I started figuring out how to make collages, I would burn through them as quickly as possible, and once I was done, I would file them away and not look at them anymore.

After a while however, I started to go back to look at my old work and I started to pick them apart for lighting errors, poor technique and so on. Those that I were dissatisfied with, I would try and fix. This was one of them. This was maybe my third or fourth collage, and there were lots of little details that annoyed me, such as really jagged cutting and lousy shadow work. The image also suffered from a badly compressed source with lots of noise. Luckily, I think I managed to come up with something better from what was there in the first attempt.

I also learned a valuable lesson from going back and fixing old collages. Never ever merge your layers in your working file, even if you think you're done with it and you want to save space.

Friday, January 11, 2008


One of my first ever collages, made years ago for Ozmodium's late and lamented site. Having taken a break from the forum for a few months, I returned to discover that it had been taken off-line at the end of 2007.

When I first started collaging, I wanted to focus on the type of images that I enjoyed looking at and fantasizing about, specifically, what people call "mini-giantess" size. I also wanted to try for a lot of interaction in my images, something for which I think I acquitted myself somewhat okay in this early attempt.