One of his latest creations, Fantasy Island, recently received accolades at the PhotoNorthEast (PNE) competition held last month, winning the Best Electronic Imaging category. It was one of several awards LaSala won for his photography at the competition, and the win in the Best Electronic Imaging category also brought with it a LexJet Sunset Award for outstanding photography and printing.
LaSala brought two contrasting photographs together into a cohesive and surreal whole using original photography, Photoshop and plug-ins from Vertis, Topaz and Nik. The competition print shows the basic elements – a man and a woman sitting on a bench, the man by himself with the woman masked out and bench added to the space where she sat and a wall mural LaSala shot in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
“I always have my camera with me and look for interesting things to shoot that I then put in a photo bank, not knowing ahead of time exactly what I’ll do with them,” says LaSala. “I thought the couple on the bench was interesting, particularly the man bundled up in the coat. I was looking for something to juxtapose with that shot and found the mural I shot in Ft. Lauderdale.”
LaSala seamlessly brought the man on a bench into the wall mural, which needed a lot of work to get it just right before all the pieces were put together. LaSala had originally shot the mural with a wide-angle lens so he had to do a lot of perspective work to get rid of the distortion. He made other little tweaks to the mural, like adding texture to the walls, moving the parrot and adding drop shadows to match the direction of the light, among others.
“I was looking for something so opposite and silly that it would be difficult to believe that it could actually happen while creating the illusion that maybe it could. I wanted to take something from one extreme to the other, cold and stark to something warm and beautiful,” says LaSala. “When I work on a project like this I don’t write everything down, though people tell me I should. It’s very rare that I duplicate anything; I tend to wing it. Usually, I just stumble upon something and it works. I don’t necessarily have something specific in mind. It’s just a matter of trying to take something that interests me and then build it up from there.”
LaSala printed it on LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper for the competition to take advantage of the additional tonal range the paper provides, LaSala says. “Some of the other papers I considered have more contrast when they’re printed and I was looking for a wider palette for this print,” he adds.
The print shows the basic progression and the elements that came together for the final piece. “I always do before and after images, because otherwise it’s difficult for the judges to really understand everything that went into making the image from start to finish.”