This exercise was meant to be a photomontage with a political message. I approached it as a follow-on to some work I’ve been doing with a set of photos of women working in the horticulture industry in Uganda – this is the context >> Women Working in Uganda – A Photostory. The issue is around organising in the horticulture sector around better employment rights. I wanted to use some of the photos of the women, and one of the quotations used in the piece as the key message – ‘Women stand up for your rights’. The aim being to make a poster that fits with the ethos of the programme, and also allows me to play around in Photoshop.
1st pass: this was a tester and an attempt to use soft colours. The colour palette was at odds with the slogan, and lacking in impact.
2nd pass: this was my final attempt, with stronger warmer colours, more context (greenhouse) and shoutier slogans. As I was doing it, I developed it into a bit of a dialogue by adding the slogan ‘We do’. I’m not sure how this comes across, the intention was to dispel any hint of top-down glib preachiness. Other issues I had with it were grounding the cutout images of the women – which is what the light coloured strip at the bottom is all about, and selective use of shadow – otherwise they looked like they were floating. Spent a lot of time creating complex multi-layered background which was a good exercise but abandoned the lot and just extended the grassy foreground on the greenhouse photo to fill the frame, and tried to create a bit of depth without heaviness. I started out with a bigger cast of women, and had to cut down and declutter a lot – simpler is better. Also ended up with a much wider frame around it than intended, which was about brightening it up and balancing out.
Very early version – arranging the images
3rd pass: While I was doing this little exercise, I was catching news stories coming out of Uganda about police attacking demonstrators against price increases, so I did this one as a bit of a reality check. It’s continuing the dialogue about glib sloganising – by trying to emphasise it’s a big deal, and sometimes it’ll get you killed. So, traditional (labour movement) red background and using a bit of repetition of the main image to try and emphasise this point… The images are screengrabs. Getting the right red was tricky, I find dark colours hard to get right ie not too heavy and opaque, especially when printed.