This week I recommenced work on a series of photo manipulations I’d taken to calling the Convolutions collection. In the beginning, these portrait images were constructed using only lines & shapes, but I’ve since learned that the same effect can be accomplished using text. Now I find myself working on two related series’ – adding to the convolutions set, as well as creating a one-off series called In Your Own Words, which consists of simple typographical portraits based on pictures of famous authors, philosophers, artists, and scientists & using the subjects own words wherever possible, be they brief quotations, lines of poetry, a chapter from a story or a full dissertation.
Above is the “convoluted” typographical portrait of existential philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Below is the simpler In Your Own Words version, which consists of text from the first chapter of Beyond Good And Evil. These IYOW images are essentially the roughest, first draft versions of the final Convolutions images. I begin with these simple text images & then lay further textual layers upon the original.
The images above and below are my favorites of these text-based images so far. They depict author Mark Twain (aka, Samuel Clemens), who wrote such fantastic classic American literature as The Adventure’s of Tom Sawyer and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. He was full of wit & witticism, as you can plainly see from a glance at the text on his face. The text in the image below is taken from Eve’s Diary.
The poet & author Oscar Wilde was the subject of my first typographical experiement. The image above is made using text from A Picture Of Dorian Gray. The image below consists of several of his brilliant (& often humorous) quotations overlayed upon the Dorian Gray story.
These last few images as yet have no Convolutions series counterparts. They are the rough-drafts that I will be building upon, but (I hope you’ll agree) they’re also lovely enough in their own right to stand as a separate series. This is by no means the end of the series either, as there is a whirlwind of heroes and inspirations in my head that I’d be honored to pay homage to. Coming soon: Martha Graham, Walt Whitman, Sophocles, Samuel Beckett, Jean Paul Sartre, and many, many, many more.
This is Emily Dickinson, created from her own poetry.
The above portrait of author Lewis Carroll (aka, Charles Dodgson) was made using the seventh chapter of his story, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, entitled A Mad Tea Party. I’ve begun preliminary work on the Convolution series version of the image, but am not yet happy enough with it to post here.
The portrait above is of Titanic disaster survivor Margaret Tobin Brown, aka The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Sadly, for all her reputation as a gossipy socialite, there weren’t that many quotations available. As such, I’ve repeated several and made up for the lack of quotes with text from The Titanic Disaster Poem by J. H. McKenzie (1912).
This Edgar Allan Poe portrait is made with text from one of my favorite tales, The Cask of Amontillado. This is the third Poe inspired piece I’ve created, including The Raven and A Cask Of Amontillado (which also needs to be revisited and reworked).
Here is a portrait of the most quoted person in history, William Shakespeare, created with text from the main character’s monologues in Hamlet.
Above is a portrait of the amazingly vibrant & individualistic artist Georgia O’Keeffe, created entirely from her own quotes, quips, and witticisms. I opted for a more handwritten font since Georgia was more likely to pen a letter than to type it…
The portrait of Albert Einstein, above, was created using text from his dissertation entitled Relativity: The Special and General Theory. Albert has always been a hero of mine. His quotations and observations are as wonderful & inspiring as the ever-present twinkle in his eyes.
Surreal artist & general madman Salvador Dali (here seen with an ocelot) rounds out today’s typographical portrait presentation. I’m still not entirely sure if I like the font on this one… so it may be reworked in the very near future. Still, for now I think it looks passable enough to share
If you’d like to explore more of my work, please visit
Thanks for your support!
- Kenneth Rougeau
- None Found