The classes are themed around their current Coming Into Fashion – A Century of Photography at Condé Nast exhibition. The morning half of the workshop involved making silhouettes based on photos in the exhibition. In the afternoon we made collages using silhouettes and profiles.
To start with, we looked around the exhibition and picked 2 or 3 full-length silhouettes to sketch. I sketched these 2 seated women from photos by Helmut Newton and Edward Steichen:
Back in the studio we created silhouettes of the images: draw over the sketches onto tracing paper; flip the tracing paper and lay it over black paper; draw over the pencil mark to press it onto the black paper. The silhouettes were then cut out of the black paper.
To do the cutting I tried both scissors and craft knife. Scissors held the promise of creating smooth curves, but I found this easier to do with the craft knife, which also easily outperformed when dealing with the intricate lines.
To finish the silhouettes, they were prepared for hanging by sticking a couple of strips of paper onto the back, and feeding string through the loops. A bead was tied to the end of the string to allow the silhouette to hang straight.
The key to creating nice silhouettes is to capture the details in the outline, for example, the grasp of a hand, or the direction of a glance. Being able to recognise the details brings extra life to the image.
Everyone’s silhouettes came out well:
Mine are furthest left, and second from right:
In the afternoon, we had a wide choice of materials to make collages with. The idea was to create silhouettes and locations for them. If we had time, it was also suggested to try adding a profile to the collage, although I didn’t get around to this.
My first creation was a simple abstract view of a room:
For the second collage I wanted to try using some drawing too, but I didn’t carry off the mix at all well:
I thoroughly enjoyed the class. The techniques are simple, and I can see that they have scope for producing nice images if done well.
It was also interesting to have worked closely with the silhouettes of the subjects in the source photographs. I’m sure I won’t be able to stop myself from examining the silhouettes of people in images for a while, and picturing how they’d look in different contexts. A good sign.