Alan Kaplan  


Nightmare by Alan Kaplan

October 2020 - Nightmare

October 2020 - Alan Kaplan

Original 1

October 2020 - Alan Kaplan

Original 2

About the Image(s)

Unfortunately, the original photo of the man in the lower left has disappeared into my folder of mysteriously missing images. He was a dancer in Princess Cruise production numbers on 3 ships that my wife and I had the pleasure of sailing on.
I used the Levels Adjustment Layer to darken him in his original photo and then used the same Adjustment Layer to darken the whole composite once the three characters had been assembled.
The woman is a central character in a Royal Caribbean Cruise production number. I cloned out whatever she is holding in her hand in Original 1. The horse in original 2 had no theatrical talent. I photographed him at a horse ranch near me. Yes, there are horse ranches in New Jersey 30 miles west of New York City. I flipped the horse horizontally using the Edit > Transform tool.
Since this is a nightmare, I wanted the whole image to be dark, and I felt a strong diagonal would be, in this setting, nightmarish.


9 comments posted




Brad Becker   Brad Becker
Alan, This is another really interesting image. I love how you challenge the viewer to explore meaning, denying an explanation. This image will likely haunt me for quite some time (in a good way). I am having trouble offering helpful constructive criticism. I do find the desaturated man at the bottom a little unsettling. I wonder if you increased the contrast in the horses eyes if that might signal a progressive fading as the eye tracks to the left and down. Since the horse stares out at you but the women looks away from you and the man completely disregards you in his own inner struggle, using a fading contrast may signal the significance of this more. I also wonder if cropping out the horses leg would change the feel some as my eye goes down the leg and gets lost.   Posted: 10/11/2020 12:46:45



Brad Becker   Brad Becker
Alan, This is another really interesting image. I love how you challenge the viewer to explore meaning, denying an explanation. This image will likely haunt me for quite some time (in a good way). I am having trouble offering helpful constructive criticism. I do find the desaturated man at the bottom a little unsettling. I wonder if you increased the contrast in the horses eyes if that might signal a progressive fading as the eye tracks to the left and down. Since the horse stares out at you but the women looks away from you and the man completely disregards you in his own inner struggle, using a fading contrast may signal the significance of this more. I also wonder if cropping out the horses leg would change the feel some as my eye goes down the leg and gets lost.   Posted: 10/11/2020 12:46:47



Aavo Koort   Aavo Koort
Very well composed diagonal image. The woman is sharp and well lighted.
I think if both the woman and the horse looked down at the man (if it can be done) the image would be more effective.
I agree with Brad about darkening the right side of the horse's leg - it is little distracting.   Posted: 10/14/2020 18:18:23



Kathy Triolo   Kathy Triolo
An enigma... the eyes go everywhere but to each other
The story is left to the viewer's interp
The horse is the only one communicating directly with me and I wish he could talk, lol!   Posted: 10/14/2020 21:51:39
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
I think Brad said it best: "you challenge the viewer to explore meaning, denying an explanation." I call this "disequilibrium" which is a necessary component of Surrealism. I grew up in a family (parents + 2 uncles) that was interested in art. I developed my interest in Surrealism from the many art books my parents had about Surrealism. I aim for my composites to be surrealistic (dream-like + disequilibrium), but I don't always achieve that goal. Since this is an attempt at surrealism, if the horse could talk, he wouldn't.   Posted: 10/15/2020 21:11:27



Marilyn Kinyon   Marilyn Kinyon
I find this image puzzling, but maybe that's just my issue. I love feeling and detail captured in the middle piece of the composite. For me that is what carries it.   Posted: 10/15/2020 10:49:26
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
I think Brad said it best: "you challenge the viewer to explore meaning, denying an explanation." I call this "disequilibrium" which is a necessary component of Surrealism. I grew up in a family (parents + 2 uncles) that was interested in art--especially surrealism. Surrealism is often suggestive rather than detailed, and as surrealism is my goal in creating composites there is often suggestive imagery in the overall image. The fact that you find the image puzzling makes me happy.   Posted: 10/15/2020 21:10:08



Peggy Nugent   Peggy Nugent
Very spooky, Alan!

The black background and ample shadows definitely give me a feeling of a nightmare, especially with that strange lady with the enigmatic smile. That horse definitely knows something but he's not telling. I think the light on the horse works very well with the spotlit lady. That poor desaturated man seems very well situated in the shadows.
I think your diagonal composition is a good idea for this nightmare, especially since the light is forcing my eye backwards from the usual left to right. It adds to that uncomfortable feeling.

The woman seems larger than I would expect compared to the horse, but that doesn't bother me because she is such a dominant part of the image.
I do feel she should be place lower in the frame, both to emphasize the diagonal and to put her head in a more expected position relative to the horse, but perhaps it was a conscious choice to increase the feeling of discomfort.

Personally, I would have made the man a little smaller, more from a feeling of his fading into the shadows than from a physical size consideration.
  Posted: 10/15/2020 16:50:53
Comment Image
Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
I'm very happy that you get an uncomfortable feeling when viewing "Nightmare." You want to alleviate this feeling by moving the woman's head to a more "expected position." You're right, though. I do want to maintain the feeling of discomfort. If this were only an ordinary dream, the element of disequilibrium would be missing.   Posted: 10/15/2020 21:26:56



 

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