Gallery of past work

Tuesday, 19 March 2019


I’ve been working with figures found in early 20th century photos in the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery archive for a new piece of work featuring people from the period.

This has entailed opening likely-looking photos in Photoshop Elements, such as this one of a group of  Great Western Railway committee members in the 1920s or 30s about to board a train from Swindon for a day out.

Here, I clicked on the Quick Selection tool, outlined each chosen figure (to achieve accuracy takes some patience), right clicked on the selected image, and chose Layer Via Copy from the pop up menu and then edited it. This created a copy of the image which could then be moved around, adapted, enlarged or minimised using the Move tool. It could then be saved in the usual way for later use. These groups of men and women resulted.

I am building up a library of such figures from various photos. Each figure has been saved on a separate layer so that it can be used easily in future work. 


  1. Cutting out images from a photo is tedious and takes a lot of patience in my experience. I wish there were an easier way that produced something more accurate than I usually achieve, and perhaps there is with more expensive software. You've done a good job here, but I can imagine it took a lot of time.

    The first thing that popped into my head upon viewing the photo was how women's fashion in that era always makes the women look so dumpy. I have numerous photos of my relatives in similar styles, and it didn't matter if they were wearing a coat as these women are or just standing there in dresses. Dumpy dumpy dumpy - even the skinny ones! Who thought this was a good idea? lol

    1. Sorry for the long delay in responding - I did read and appreciate your post but I like to think about my replies to your comments. Completing my own work for our upcoming exhibition and organising the hanging have taken a great deal of my time.

      Luckily, I don't find cutting images from a photo too tedious. I have had a lot of practice and find it gives me genuine and honest representations of figures (in this case) and is a very good and relatively quick way of generating sections of an image for abstraction. It certainly beats the tracing paper method I seem to rmember from days past!

      You're cetainly right about the dumpiness of the female figures. I'm tempeted to suggest it was all part of society's more subtle way of maintaining control over women at that time?!


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