I sometimes wonder how I end up with images that are elaborate photo composites, having more visually in common with paintings than photographs. This images are born of photographic parents but brought up differently. It is nature versus nurture. In this case, the influence of nurture is so obviously non-photographic that the resulting composites must stand or fall on their own merits. They cannot be judged strictly as photos.
A case in point: the shoot of the photos of the reflections in downtown Oakland that I describe in There Is a There There. (Also see Reflections, Downtown Oakland, Persistence of Reflections, and More Oakland Reflections.)
A number of these photos of the Oakland reflections became grist for my Photoshop mill. Here’s how it usually goes: I am post-processing a photo in a relatively straight way. I see something neat, and this starts a “what if” visual train for me. Later, I find a related image to combine with the original “what if.”
Looking at color inversions of the photos, I knew I had to try something weird with them. Many Photoshop hours, layers, and masks later, here are the results:
Related story: Myths, Metaphors and Digital Photography.