• Justus Hayes

Idle In the Canyon

This piece is, in my opinion, one of the most satisfying and pleasing images I have ever made. I named it "Idle in the Canyon" because it makes me think of a train or some other type of vehicle idling at the bottom of some vast urban space. A place haphazardly industrial. The style is a real departure for me, as it feels quite painterly, and is coarse, loose and impressionistic. I think I'm going to order a framed copy for our home.

This is just one version in a series of remixes of the original, a beautiful photo by Julian Harter of a Lisbon street as twilight encroaches:

The moment I saw this photo, I was mesmerized by the tones of the back wall and flanking walls, particularly the contrast between the blue gradient and the illuminated windows and archway. I wasn't at all interested in the street level stuff, so after I got permission from Julian to remix it, I made my own version:

This is the very standard Mean Curvature Blend/Cartoon tweaking that I always do when blowing up an image to a workable size. In this case, from an original photo at 1080x1350 to the above at 6500x6500. Here's a side-by-side:

As I recall, the result was produced very simply by spawning multiple layers, flipping them, and then using the Burn layer mode. When this deep blue, murky, dramatic image suddenly popped out, I knew I had something.

As mentioned, this is just one in a series of remixes. Here is the series:

The central figure in the above is great, I think. Needs more exploration.

Once I get to this stage, I often start looking at details and regions to crop to. This is especially useful on Instagram, because their interface lets you zoom in on an image and post new versions without having to upload a new image. I also do so using Gimp and Photoshop, creating tributary series of versions.

When the image gets to its most distorted and chaotic, I will often use Kaleidoscope again the snap it back into symmetry.

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