Pieces of a Puzzle

photo collage of the Flatiron Building in Chicago by Harvey Tillis

“Pieces of a Puzzle” 

Years ago I embarked on several self-directed collage projects. And since I am a city kid and a street shooter at heart my subjects, my scenes, were city scenes. Intersections, beaches, ornate buildings – anyplace in the city was fair game. My method was to use a telephoto lens that would critically focus on small areas of the subject, then fit the resulting images together, like working on a puzzle, to create a larger entire view of whatever that subject was. I never knew how many photographs would be required or how big the finished collage would be. Just don’t miss capturing every inch of every subject and learn how to fit all the pieces together in some sort of realistic, properly proportioned way. I was the only one who knew what the collage was and what it should look like. At the same time, I honestly didn’t know how it would really look or how big it would be until it was finished.

These projects started before digital photography came along. I used color negative film to produce hundreds of prints that could be fitted together and glued into place. Mistakes were made. Lessons, many many lessons were learned. Then I transitioned to digital capture. Big raw files required more processing time to fit a scene – an idea – together. I was devoted to this process for a good long while, then moved on to other subjects, jobs, skills development, and interests.

A few days ago I passed through a favorite intersection, Milwaukee Avenue, Damen, and North Avenue. The old memories of so much time spent there jumped back into mind. Reviewing my Lightroom database, completely overhauled and updated thanks to all the extra down time Covid-19 has given me, yielded big chunks of a many feet long by some feet wide collage I had worked on in the past and that I now plan to resume working on in hopes of a gallery show this Spring. For now, here is a low res version of the Flatiron Building in that intersection. It is in a corner of my overall collage scene. Looks like I used about 20 separate images to create it. More to come. Stand by.