Swept Away is a composite photo illustration by Michael Maersch

Swept Away


I’ve long been collecting “stock“ photographs for use in building my composite illustrations.

Animal photos have been key to my resource library as I can see more than just passing, imagined similarities between we humans and our furry, feathered friends. But it’s not just their facial expressions and how they move, react to the world around them. Sometimes, as in the case of jellyfish, they begin to look like... “fabric“ – “a dress“ or “a bonnet“ for example; perhaps, based upon some of the Hubbell telescope details of the universe I’ve collected, gaseous clouds and explosions or maybe some sort of alien life form.

I built this illustration with a NASA photo file as the background plate (“our tax dollars at work“ for us), a PixelSquid 3D object and an aquarium grab-shot of a jellyfish Sofia Levchenko posted to her ’Unsplash’ page to freely share with others.

My intent here was to have the shape-shifter jellyfish end up appearing more like some “cosmic forcefield“ blowing into the Space Shuttle, about to “swallow“ the astronaut into what may instead be an alien life-form... (Better stop here before my imagination gets the better of me.)

Anyway, this is the perfect example of how my mind works conceptualizing, then building self-assigned composite photo illustrations I will eventually share with others.