I’ve spent some time considering this representation of John and have decided that the automated version of a mosaic using AndreaMosaic, though competent, felt somewhat disconnected and I therefore decided to construct my own.
A fairly simple process using the scans of the books that John provided, and mixing it with either the scan of the negative or photograph the he provided of himself. I think that the automated version had too many tiles, flipped and so on, that I know I could have controlled better but by not doing it all myself it seemed a trifle ‘tricksy’. I had thought of offering John both versions below, but may decide on one which I feel projects a greater sense of him; I’ll take some time to decide on that.
Of the two, both of which I prefer over the automated creations, the lower carries more of John I think; firstly because of the clearer rendition of the man where the physical characteristics are more discernible, but also maybe the fact that John is more in synch’ with the books, not looking away. Whereas the upper image has him looking away, the books are rotated to mirror the landscape orientation of the scanned negative and the contrast is weaker I feel – I could do something about that either on the negative or in the post processing. However I feel the second, bolder, version of John works better. There are more visual strengths to the base image, a greater expanse of extended contrast that being filled with his books makes a firmer statement. That his head is filled with his books, his shoulders bare the weight of them make for a more compelling combination I think.