Daniel Bretl - Portfolio for Graduate School Application

Living Image

Setting colors free in the name of evolution

100 Word Story

Collaborative spontaneous story writing

BitDrawing

Taking a few megapixel-sized steps backwards

PatchWords

Using color to discover patterns of word usage

Long Exposure

Exploring the display of change over time

Photography

Living a life in images

Travel Blog

Visually exploring the world at large

This Pen...

Finding my true paper self

LifeTracks

Turning everyday life into art

Place in Silhouette

Capturing the essence of a place in its shapes

The idea of Place in Silhouette is to create a landscape of a place by photographically capturing its relevant, recurring, or just plain interesting shapes, making silhouettes of those shapes, and then compositing those shapes together to create a landscape that is abstract but hopefully still captures some essence of the original place. This project began at Sarah Lawrence College and has continued through the years, especially when I live abroad. It has become my way of taking in a place and creating a body of memory.

I make the silhouettes in a very "low-tech" manner. I start with a regular photograph of mine and use Photoshop, but I never touch bezier curves or the pen tool or anything like that. I actually mainly just use the "Legacy" Brightness & Contrast tool along with the wand selector and a black paint bucket fill. It is a time intensive process, but I have created silhouettes from so many hundreds of photographs by now that I can do it fairly quickly. I am adamant about avoiding pen-type tools or any sort of manual drawing, because it is important to me to retain the precise original shape and also "edge texture" of the subject.

  • See the first and second composites from Sarah Lawrence College.
  • See the composite from Hobart, Tasmania.
  • The composite image for my recent time in France is still in progress, but you can get a feel for the French shapes with this slideshow featuring 164 of the total 214 individual general French silhouettes that I captured and created: