layers and layers (a how to - plus a new session of souling the self surreal!)

Start here: an untouched, cropped square photo, of my face. Taken using the Nokia camera on my Lumia 928 phone.

No makeup (I hardly ever wear any, anyway, but I'm in the bath, so definitely no makeup). This is me. Zits and all.

I love this photo, but I had an idea to play with, so I added a photo I'd taken earlier to make it a double exposure:

This photo was taken with the Hipstamatic Oggl app (available for Apple and Windows, sorry Android peeps - try using Vignette if you're not already; it isn't the same, but it is good) using the Susie lens and C Type Plate film while I was getting ready for my bath.

(Yes, that's C3PO and Dora's friend Boots in the basket. Also, Darth Vader's backside. My kid has awesome bath toys!)

I combined the two photos using the InstaBlender app (which is also available for Apple. For Android you'll have to use another app, I think Double Photo would work best, although the filters I added aren't available). If I am remembering correctly, I used multiply to combine the two photos, then saved:

Ok, this made my right eye (which is actually my left eye from my perspective) look really weird. That's ok. I was still playing with the image.

Using the filters section of the InstaBlender app, I negatized the image.

(A lot of apps have this effect, so if you're using an Android device, you have a bunch of different options.)

Negatizing is just cool:

Next, I decided I wanted to go for a ying yang effect.

Windows has a simple app called Photo Editor for layer masks that has an opacity eraser I can manipulate with my fingers. (On Android, I found an app called Masking that does the same thing. I can't try it out though, since it is incompatible with my Galaxy Player. It looks like you can do this with the InstaBlend app on Apple, but I haven't really played with it.)

Essentially, I added the negative layer first, then the regular layer on top of that and with the transparency set to almost as high as it could go, I swiped the part I wanted to show through.


It took me a few tries to get it the way I wanted it to be. Experimenting is fun!

I could have stopped here. In the light of day and on my big computer screen, this one above might be my favorite. However, last night, I was playing, so I added a few more layers.

In Fotor (which is available on most platforms), I added a Mask Melon filter (probably at around 75% opacity?). I may have done some other editing, but I can't remember now. I was playing:

When I went to post the photo on Instagram, I was torn between using this version or adding yet another filter. There's a reason I labeled this one part of the #ultralayerslexseries; I added the Walden filter, because of how it made my blue eye pop.

I had my phone's screen brightness turned down super low because I was in a dark room. Editing images on a dark screen in a dark room makes for some interesting editing choices sometimes. I still like how it turned out. It isn't as raw as the unfiltered image. It has more of a dreamy hazy quality.

Last night, that's what worked for me:

I also wrote a mood ring poem (which is in 5-7-5 syllabics, like a classic English language haiku, except it has no seasonal reference) to go with the photo:

i am light and dark/ shadow and source, protected/ and the one who hunts
 This photo was my #lexsurrealsoul14 (my 365 project for 2014) of the day. I would have posted all of these variations on Instagram, but I knew I wanted to share them here with you today.