Okay, this isn’t my photo, and technically it’s not even a photo, but I came across it looking for a new topic and liked the story.
Some friends of mine have adopted children, two, both from China – and that’s a long story in itself that I’m not going into right now, but suffice to say, China has (or at least had) a surfeit of girls awaiting adoption, mostly because of bowing to the idiocy often called, “tradition” while not simply recognizing more efficient ways of thinking about culture. The girls were adopted as infants a few years apart, which meant that one of them got to accompany her parents on the trip to bring home the younger one. But due to vagaries of schedules and such, the only person in the party able to make a visit to the Great Wall was the father (who makes the very rare appearance here from time to time.) He regretted not having his eldest daughter at least get to see the wall, and mentioned this to me when he’d forwarded over the photos that he took – which were taken with the ‘still frame’ function of a camcorder, and this was back in the early 2000s, so quality was not up to the wonderful smutphones of today (yes that’s sarcasm.)
I no longer recall whether I was asked to make the attempt, or simply couldn’t resist, but I combined two of his images to put his daughter on the Great Wall. The only two that seemed to work weren’t matched well, but I plowed ahead anyway.
The thing is, I really like how this came out. While obviously altered, it also has a property that maybe the girl is simply marching down a model of the Great Wall. And part of the reason for this is, I already knew one of the primary issues with composite photos is not matching the light angle or conditions; in other words, putting a subject with low contrast and shadowed light into a high contrast scene, or mismatching the color registers. That’s why these two photos worked: the light is identical in color, angle, and contrast. Plus I added her shadow cast across the background – it’s all about the little touches.
Okay, it’s stupid, but that’s what Photoshop is for (if you’re serious about editing, you use GIMP.) And just to let you know, the girl pictured here is now a sophomore in college, while her sister, the one that came home with them on this trip, is a budding photographer in her own right, and just recently captured a photo of a chameleon in the fraction of a second that it snagged an insect with its extendable tongue. I really am envious.