Having put A cappella group YesterYear on a girder high above the Derby city skyline for their new promotional postcard (in homage to the famous 1932 image of New York construction workers), I then had to work on the other side of the card. I suggested to the guys that as their name was YesterYear and they were now on the tele – appearing on Gareth Malone’s The Naked Choir – why don’t we put an image of them on a TV set in a 1950s sitting room?
In the end, this proved as big a challenge as the girder image, mainly because the 1950s sitting room I found – in Norwich Museum – was perfect, apart from the fact that the wall wasn’t complete, as you’ll see in the photo. Completing the wall was really tricky because of the wallpaper pattern. To add to that problem, there was a modern intrusion on that wall: a large button which museum visitors can press to view 1950s newsreel footage. Note also the shadow cast by the lampshade… that was probably the trickiest bit of the job.
Taking a photo of the group, converting them to black and white and placing them up against a theatre curtain was simple enough but inserting that photo into the television screen was difficult, especially as there is a reflection of the curtain on the left hand side. I had to create a layer mask so I could bring some of that reflection back onto the screen. I think it looks pretty realistic.
When finished, I decided there was something missing: flying ducks! That was tricky, too, because my picture of the ducks was three dimensional but with no shadow, so I had to duplicate the ducks, fill them with black, place that layer just to the side of the original ducks and reduce the opacity on the black to make it appear like a shadow and give the impression that the ducks were placed on that wall. It’s only a small detail but essential.