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Richard Smith explores unexpected interrelationships between everyday images through surrealist photomontage.

It’s with great pleasure that we feature Richard Smith today. Richard is an accomplished mobile photographer and has been recognized globally for his photomontage art. In this article Richard explains his processes in a very inspiring way, I think you will enjoy this very much. Over to you Richard… (foreword by Joanne Carter).



"I’m constantly taking pictures of what’s around me at any given time – on my commute to the day job, on travels, or just around the house and neighborhood. When the creative urge strikes, I select two or more images from recent photos or my archives that subconsciously make sense to me for blending.

And my process is thus:


‘A subtle crossroads’ – ©Richard Smith

Although I primarily use a discontinued app, Photoforge2, its functionality exists in others, and my general process involves extensive masking and multiple layers set to different layer modes – the equivalent of Photoshop’s overlay, multiply, and screen are the ones I most frequently use.


‘Be the butterfly’ – ©Richard Smith

I start with a background and gradually work in foreground elements that make sense in moving toward an overall composition. I’ll be in full-color at first, then as I experiment with scaling and position, decrease the saturation on all elements to zero. 


‘City Lights’ – ©Richard Smith

I then selectively hide and reveal various elements I’ve brought in on their own layers, using brushes of varying size, opacity and hardness. I like to think of it as painting with the background or sometimes the foreground.


‘Find what you love’ – ©Richard Smith

My process is like carving a sculpture, with the edges of my fingers forming lines to define shapes and reveal serendipitous relationships — not unlike physically placing individual elements as in a paper collage — except I do this through masking, blending and mimicking established photographic techniques like solarization or vignetting. Each piece is meticulously crafted with these and other ingredients, using direct touch to form a hierarchy of narrative. A final composition is the culmination of fusing disparate elements into a kind of empyrean abstract union.


‘The delicate balance’ – ©Richard Smith

Finally, I add a small copyright and signature in the corner with my handle, "rsmithing," since that’s where I am on the web in pretty much any site you can think of. If you see me there, please check out my stuff, say hi, and follow if you like.

Working with elements from nature, pedestrian objects, and scenes from his travels and neighborhood, he fuses these components into ethereal yet cohesive views that transcend their origins. A self-taught graphic artist with 20+ years of professional experience, Smith incorporates assimilated photographic techniques and modern photomanipulation approaches into his hand-crafted compositions.

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