This week, I used Photoshop to tell a story. Two years ago, I spent a college semester living and working in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. During the week, I was surrounded by the hustle and bustle of live events but I spent my weekends exploring different cities and sites around Southern California. I took many photos to capture my journey.
When it comes to creative design, there must be some structure. In order to evoke the right reaction out of your audience, you should spend time thinking about the concept of what you are creating. Ask yourself, what am I trying to tell the audience? The concept-creation process involves four steps:
When I began thinking about this project, I knew that I wanted to chose pictures that could relate to each other. An important aspect of the preparation stage is developing relationships amongst your elements (Landa, 2019). Living in LA was a significant time in my life and I learned a lot about the work and play culture of the city. I established that I had enough materials to tell a cohesive story. After choosing a rough cut of about 20-30 images, I spent the rest of the day focusing on other work and daily tasks.
Arguably the most important step, incubation allows you to take a step back from the project and then come back with fresh eyes. I had allowed my ideas to marinate in my head, where I could let my imagination run wild. Although I did not have much time to step away, it helped to even give myself 24 hours to take a break and have it sit in my subconscious.
Here is where I discovered what I wanted to say with this piece. After much consideration, I started to think about the stark differences between how LA is portrayed on camera vs. the reality of the city.
Celebrities often had all on eyes on them, having their schedules planned out to the minute. They were often ushered around, out of control of most of their day. I noticed how their faces would fall after the cameras turned off and how their lives were not what it may seem. While it is a beautiful city with great beaches and mountains, there’s also a lot of stress to be picture perfect.
After nailing down my message, I wanted to make sure that my goal was attainable. I looked through my materials again, checking to see if I had captured enough of both sides of my story. I had pictures of celebrities walking with their heads down after red carpets and cameramen squished together to capture the perfect shot. But I also had breath-taking views and glamour shots. I decided that I had enough to fully create my piece.
Bringing it together
I began with an image I captured at Fox Studios. These are buildings that are used in a number of movies and TV shows. I like that this images captures that they are only facades, rather than a real city street, giving only the illusion of a downtown. I chose to include iconic signs of places in LA such as the comedy club “The Laugh Factory” and vintage toy store “Wacko”. Both nods to tourism culture. On the back building, I included photos of myself and my roommates overlooking different cities. Under, I put in the “California Dreaming” sign. This is what I interpret to represent the ideal version of Los Angeles. Everyone thinks that it’s so beautiful and perfect, when in reality, it could be tough to live and work here. The bottom half of the picture can represent the reality of LA. I used a picture of water to represent how some celebrities may feel as though they are drowning, having all eyes on them. I included the paparazzi, with their cameras pointed right at people walking in the other direction, trying to go unnoticed.
I believe that my message was able to fully come alive in this photo. It was a creative challenge that allowed me to think outside the box and pull multiple elements together to create one story.
Landa, Robin. Graphic Design Solutions. Cengage, 2019.
“A History of Design Systems.” Intro Lecture, printingcode.runemadsen.com/lecture-intro/.