It's Week #43: Mash-Up

To be shot and submitted between Sunday, Oct 18 and Sunday, Oct 25 (noon, Eastern)

“Life is a mixing of all kind of things. Comedy and tragedy going together.”

― Alejandro Jodorowsky

We are all mashups. We are unions of our parents’ DNA, twirled and swirled, stitched together and allowed to develop, until we emerge whole and singular.

Perhaps this is why humans have been fascinated, from time immemorial, with the idea of the chimera. Monstrous creatures, chimeras are fusions of different beasts, come together in a single terrifying image. From the Sphinx to Pegasus, from ancient myth to modern culture, chimeras have captured our imaginations. They were the first mashup.

Today, the term “mashup” is far broader than something you might find in Dr. Frankenstein’s lab. Musicians use mashups to combine disparate songs – even disparate genres – into a single piece. Mixed media artists cross the boundaries of traditional media to create something entirely new. Even the culinary establishment has embraced the concept of the mashup – or as it’s known in that world, “fusion.”

Your challenge is to create your own mashup. Find two things (or more!) that don’t go together, and unite them in (un?)holy matrimony. You can document a mashup that already exists in your environment, or create one with Photoshop (see the Extra Credit section), or even mash up the photographic technique itself.

Tips and Tuts for this week:

  • Take a look at these brilliant mashups of disparate objects and scenes into a seamless new creation, by photographer Stephen McMennamy.
  • Think of two totally different objects what have some small thing in common that you can use as the “bridge” or connection between the two
  • If you’re “stitching together” multiple photographs, try to have similar backgrounds to give some unity to your mashup. It is also preferably to have these backgrounds without clutter so that all the focus is on the mashup itself.
  • Usually objects are mashed up, but what else could you combine? Perhaps you can mash up different ideas or situations, or people, or creatures…?
  • Remember, you don’t need to use Photoshop or other software to create your mashups. Think creatively about how to merge your subjects, or have them interact – as was done in this clever series of pets and their owners.
  • Just for fun: Try this morph generator to see what your future kids might look like, or what happens when you mix two celebrities. (No, you may not submit its outcome as your entry, it’s just meant to help you get your creative juices going!)

Looking for more inspiration? Check out these beautiful animal/human hybrids (may contain nudity), and these clever animal/animal creationsThis TED talk (“When Ideas Have Sex”) can also help you think outside the box. Browse #combophoto on Instagram for even more delights.

Extra Credit: Photo-Composite

Although Photoshop isn’t necessary for the challenge, you may find it indispensable if you attempt to tackle the extra credit. A photo-composite, by definition, combines elements from various shots into a single, unified image. Curious to try it? Here’s an excellent primer on creating a composite. This 52Frames blog post on layer masks is also a great resource. Remember, your photo-composite should still exemplify the “mashup” challenge.
Remember, it is not necessary to work in this Extra Credit piece. It’s extra credit!

The deadline for Week 43: Mash-Up has passed. Submissions will be open for Week 44: Emotion beginning Monday, Oct 26

Deadline: Oct 18, 2015 – 12:00 Noon (Eastern US)

Have a challenge idea for 2016?