For years I have wanted to create a fashionable background in the studio using magazine cutouts. I’ve had a large stack of cutouts for the last few years just sitting in a box waiting for their time to come. I finally have done it and still have probably 90% of my cutouts left over. It was definitely an interesting challenge, but I wanted something fashionable and different for my high school senior portraits.
For those of you wanting to know how I created it, it was simple in concept, but a bit of a challenge in execution. I had some left over background paper that I’d saved, and so I put that down on the floor and weighted it on the corners to keep it from rolling up. Then I started kind of in the middle since it made the most sense to work my way out, and used a spray adhesive from Walmart to glue them down. The problem I quickly discovered was that I couldn’t anticipate what image I want overlaying which till I had the next image in hand and figured out where I wanted it to go. So then I figured I’d just lay them out generically and glue them down after. Well that posed the problem of keeping everything in place while trying to glue them all down. Plus you can’t get to all of them because some are under others. So that was a challenge.
Another thing I figured out quickly was that I needed gloves on my hands due to the glue getting on everything in the process. I probably changed them at least four times. I also had to take my shoes off and just walk in my socks. Yes, my socks got sticky too. I eventually got it, and then moved on the the second background. I was less strategic on that one and went back to working my way outward again, but gluing down as I went. I think I put too much attention on the first one, not keeping in mind that the goal is to have a unique textured background, and not for the background itself to be a work of art. The cutouts are of course all works of someone else’s art and are just supposed to be elements and not dominate factors.
Once I got my backgrounds, I reached out and got some test models to play with. We tried a few different looks and light setups to see what kind of variety I can get. I think in the end we got lots of cool stuff and that the magazine cutout background will be a great option for our high school seniors.
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