Photo Montages

This was a Photoshop project from my first year at university. This project involved picking a famous person from history and create three photo montages around that person, the photo montages had to incorporate the types of inventions, discoveries and historical events happening during their lifetime or a certain time in their life. I chose Walt Disney and the three montages I created were; Snow White, Marceline and Alice in Wonderland.

For my first montage I chose to place Walt Disney in his first animated film ‘Snow White’. I chose to do this because the making and release of ‘Snow White’ was quite significant event in history. The film is the first full-length cell animated feature film, it was premiered in 1937 and fully released in 1938. The film won an Academy award and was described:
“As a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field”
The film made $8 million during the Great Depression and launched the career of Walt Disney. Using my research on Walt Disney I found out what inventions and events happened in the 1930s, this time period covers the production and the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1934-1938).

I used a sketch of Snow White to represent the development and production of the film. I then coloured the sketch in as it was the first full colour animated film. I added Walt Disney “walking” in from the left of the montage, I ran into the problem of there being very few images of Walt Disney standing and  it was hard find an image of him with his head in the correct position to splice it on to another body, one of the best photos I could find was this one of Walt Disney in front of the construction of the Sleeping Beauty castle in 1955. So that the photo would go with the rest of the montage I added some colour to Walt Disney.

I looked through the list of inventions for the 1930s and added some of the items that were invented in that time. From the research in the montage I added:
-First canned beer
-First comic book

For the comic book I selected the shape of the cover of the comic book, duplicated the shapes and filled them in to make pages of the comic book. I grouped the layers and then transformed the shape to make it look like the comic was laying over the step around the well.  With the beer cans I found an image with two designs. I separated the two cans in to separate layers and then resized and rotated them to make a pile/pyramid shape next to Snow White. I used an image of the original monopoly board from 1934. I changed the perspective of the monopoly board image in photoshop. I didn’t want to just put the board in the montage so I decided to put some of the dwarfs in but make it look like they were the ones playing monopoly.

For the entertainment of the 1930s I found that one of the main forms of entertainment in the day was radio. With the scene I chose to use for my snow white photo montage I was trying to find a way to show some of the historical events that happened during the 1930s. I came up with the idea of using images of posters and newspapers to do with events that happened at the time, I then used the well and castle walls in the scene and made the images look as though they had been put up on the walls. The posters that I used in the montage were two Snow White posters and a Coca-Cola advertisement poster from the 1930s.  I chose to put in two Snow White posters as the Disney version of the film was the first Walt Disney film and started Walt Disney’s career and Snow White was also the first fully animated full feature length film. Carrying on with the same idea I had with the posters I decided to show some of the events that happened in the 1930s using newspapers instead of the posters. I chose images of newspapers that had headlines of the disappearance of Amelia Earheart, the War of the Worlds broadcast and the Hindenburg Balloon disaster.

The second montage is based on Walt Disney’s youth, made up of an image of Main Street, Marceline in Missouri in 1909. This was the town Walt Disney lived in from 1906-1911 (from age 5/6 to age 10). I chose to base this montage on Marceline as it was one of Walt Disney’s favourite places to live and was also the inspiration for the Main Street in the Disney parks. I added images that represented the events and inventions from the decade in which Walt Disney lived in Marceline.

While looking for a photo of Walt Disney to put into the photo montage I came across a photograph of Walt Disney and his little sister Ruth at the age he would have been when him and his family moved to Marceline. With the inspiration of Marceline and the Main Street in the Disney parks, I added an image of the Cinderella castle ‘at the end of the street’ similar to what it is like in the Disney parks.

Using my research for this time period I looked into the types of transport that would have been around. I found that the horse-drawn streetcar was around in the early 1900s and the Omnibus was also being used having been invented in the late 1800s, these two transportation methods are also used in the Disneyland parks.

A historical event during this time was the first Trans-Atlantic radio signal I found an image of the radio station in Poldhu, Cornwall and how it would have looked in 1901. I changed the contrast to make the image darker and the tower more visible. Next thing I added was a teddy bear, I resized the image and made it look like the teddy bear was sitting on the step of the horse drawn carriage.I added an image of one of the first license plates that were introduced in the United States and the Kitty Hawk that the Wright brothers flew both occurred in 1903. The last thing I decided to add to my montage was an image of the  H.M.S Dreadnought, it was a royal navy battleship that was launched in 1906 that revolutionised naval power. I put it between Walt Disney and his sister to look like a toy.

The third photo montage is based around Alice in Wonderland, because it is well known and as it is set somewhere where everything is surreal I thought I could do a lot with it. This is also one of the last films produced by Disney before Walt Disney passed away. Walt Disney remembered reading the Alice books as a child and one of his first animation projects in the early 1920s was a collection of short cartoons based on Alice in Wonderland. After the huge success of Snow White, Walt Disney decided to make a feature length film for Alice in Wonderland.
Alice in Wonderland was released in 1951, for the photo montage I focused on things that happened and were invented in the 1950s.

For the background and Alice I duplicated the pieces and made one copy black and white and one colour. I removed patches from one layer so that there is patches of colour and black and white to try and give it the effect of someone having ‘painted’ the colours. I used a development sketch of Alice and made it look like she was walking through the scene, these represent the development and production of the film. I chose a photograph of Walt Disney sitting down, coloured the image and placed it in the montage so it looked as though he was sitting on a log. I also added images of the plants, flowers and animals from the film, I used real photographs and the animated versions.

There period of time I looked at for events and inventions was 1950-1960. These are the ones I focused on:
-First modern credit card (1950)
-Colour TV (1951)
-Report says cigarettes cause cancer (1954)
-Opening of Disneyland (1955)
-McDonald’s Corporation founded (1955)
-Sputnik launched (1957)
-Laika enters orbit (1957)
-LEGO (1958)
-NASA (1958)
-Peace symbol created (1958)

With my montage being in Wonderland I put a few copies of an image of the colour TV on the tree and added a bevel effect to it and slightly moved the layer so that it looked like the TVs were embedded in the tree. I put the poster for the cigarettes in the montage to represent the first report on cigarettes causing cancer in 1954, the poster that I put in the montage was from that year.

I chose a poster from 1955 advertising the Disney theme park restaurants to represent the opening of Disneyland in 1955. I looked for a poster advertising the opening of the park but couldn’t find one. With the poster I put it on one of the trees in the center of the montage. I rotated the image slightly and distorted it to make it fit the tree a bit more.
I made two circles and filled them black and resized them and put one at the top and one at the bottom to make it look like the poster was nailed to the tree. In the same year as Disneyland opened McDonalds was founded. For the opening of McDonald’s I used images of the McDonald’s packaging from the 1950s to make it look like people had been littering in Wonderland. I found a picture of a disposable cup and the small paper bag used for fries. I also included an image of a screwed up piece of paper to look like some balled up wrappers with the cups.

The late 1950s was the start of the space age and the start of a race to get to the moon between Russia and the United States. Sputnik was the first artificial satellite and was sent into lower space by the Russians. With the image I used in the montage I removed the background using the magic wand tool. I then rotated and resized it. I made it look like Sputnik was a children’s toy and had got stuck in a tree. I also put an image of Laika, a Russian space dog and the first animal in space. I used the masking tool to select the dog and ten I moved it to make it look like it was looking out from behind one of the bushes.

Lego was introduced in the late 1950s. I tried to find a box or some Lego from the 1950s and couldn’t. I did find a reproduction of one of the town sets that was around in the 1950s but was re-released for the 50th anniversary. Using the magic wand tool and the eraser to remove the background, then I resized it and moved it to look like a child left it on the floor. NASA was founded in 1959 as part of the space race, to represent the establishment of NASA I used an image of a Bumper, one of NASAs first experiments into space travel and rockets. like the image of Sputnik I put the bumper into one of the bushes to make it look like it was a child’s toy that had been left behind. For the invention of the peace sign I found an image of one that looked hand drawn and I removed the background of the image and beveled it to make it look like it had been carved into the tree.

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