I have been having an interesting conversation about using layers and filters in Photoshop to modify those below and achieve a particular effect in an image. This picture was inspired by posters and paste-ups after someone has left fragments on the wall when trying to remove them. I was moved to try and achieve the same effect. This shows both a close-up of torn fragments at the same time as the poster on the wall behind.
The base layer, a palm-leaf roof, was covered with a second layer, a stained concrete wall using a Difference blending filter, the X-ray placed between them using the same filter with bevel, emboss and glow effects. It appears as the paste-up on the wall. Colours were enhanced using the Curves tool. Over the lot was a top layer – a tapas pattern – with segments cut using a wand selection tool and modified with the Lighten filter. Parts of the underlying layers are therefore blended once only and others modified twice.
I chose to build this picture using two pieces of Papuan culture (the palm-leaf roof and the painted tapas) because the original chest X-ray was from a child, a Papua New Guinean immigrant, with infected pleurisy known as a pyothorax. It had been operated upon and drained.
Outward marks such as accent, dress, body habitus and skin colour sometimes make assimilation more difficult for immigrants in a new country. They necessarily must adapt to the new culture and put much of the old custom, language and practice behind them. Nevertheless much remains – fragments that both enrich their lives and seem strangely out of place, like the torn shreds of paper on the wall.