Hot Air Balloon Head: A Senior Surreal Photo by Katherine Dillon (2016)
My hot air balloon head is woven with branches and trapped behind wooden bars. It wades through the melting sunset, struggling to stay afloat under the weight of crystal swings. As the sky explodes, hot air balloon head's color is drained. The last light of life has almost escaped.
For my surrealist project, I used four pictures: a face, a sunset, tree branches, and a swing. I used a displacement map in photoshop to make the branches wrap around the face. I then made the face black and white to represent the ironic absence of life in the only recognizable living form in the piece. I manipulated the swing to look more like the basket of a hot air balloon. I also used an effect in photoshop to ''crystallize'' the swing so it looks harder, heavier, and more jagged. Then, I attached the swing to the face to make the whole system look like a hot air balloon. I duplicated the swing to make multiple swings. This created the illusion of a heavier ''basket''. I put the hot air balloon in front of an HDR image of a sunset. I then liquified the branches and mountain in the sunset photo to look like it was melting upward. Lastly, I added a lens flare in the eye of the dying balloon to show that the last bit of light is fading away. I found that Photoshop's ''liquify'' tool was extremely helpful in making my piece look surreal. Liquifying the background and the face makes my piece look like it is melting. This is something that greatly contributes to the dreamlike feel of the piece.