Hell is empty and all the devils are here


I was searching for inspiration about the notion of trust; how we develop trust and how easily that trust can be broken.

I wanted to convey the emotions of being betrayed and the play, The Tempest, by William Shakespeare came to mind. The plot is centred around a protagonist, Prospero the former Duke of Milan, who was betrayed and usurped by his brother. Banished to an island with magic books, he created a violent storm which shipwrecked his brother and all on board to his island. A story of deceit and treachery.

One line stood out to me particular that I felt was a very apt, powerful description of being surrounded by lies and deceit.


This inspired me to research fragmented, broken text which fostered an interest in Dada influenced typography. I also wanted to contrast the ‘empty’ typography with a powerful image that could convey ‘the devils’. In this context I intend the devils to be lies and deceit.

I begun by sketching several options, including a depiction of an illustrated devil, but decided that a powerful facial portrait staring dead ahead would convey the message I wanted to communicate more appropriately and much more effectively than a literal interpretation.

I researched many intense portraits online and concluded that a black and white shot would be the best approach to contrast with the more minimal typography on the opposite page. The following pages demonstrate my research and development process before disclosing the final result.


Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 2.54.15 PM

I conducted visual research into illustrations of devils. The examples above depict the kind of look and feel that I thought would be appropriate for this piece but having considered all the options I decided to pursue the second alternative of an intensely staring portrait, as this seemed to be more metaphoric and therefore convey a deeper message.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 3.00.17 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-06 at 3.00.23 PM

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I wanted an intense stare, one that would captivate the viewer. I also wanted a look that was neither angry nor happy; no obvious sign of emotion so the viewer would be left to consider their own perceptions.

I found a series of beautiful black & white portraits of models with freckles. I specifically chose these as reference as I hoped I would be using my husband’s image and he has these distinct facial features.

I do not consider myself to be a professional photographer, amateur at best, however I do think I have a good eye for composition and a very good working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, therefore, for this project I decided to try to create the final image myself. I like to experiment and concluded that if my own shot did not work I could enlist the support of a professional photographer or attempt to source a copyright free image online.

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I enlisted the assistance of my husband as a model. The shots above were taken early morning, minutes after he just woke up, to catch the light. He was unkempt and unprepared but I think this adds to their charm!

Initially I wasn’t very happy with the results but decided to take the best shot into Photoshop and edit the image to see if I could improve upon it. This proved to be an excellent decision!

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I edited my favorite shot in Photoshop by cropping, converting the image to black and white and significantly increasing the contrast. Other than that very little editing took place but

I am so pleased with how this turned out! The editing made a huge difference to the outcome of this image and I think this is now perhaps comparable to the professional shots I took inspiration from!

I paid particular attention to the eyes, ensuring that they were the focal point of the image. The gaze is intense and he looks quite angry here although in the colour image this doesn’t seem to be the case! I think this will create real contrast against minimalist typography and really convey a strong message.

There are many devils in this image!

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I created this piece almost as a happy accident. I think sometimes the best work comes when you least expect it! It was also created as my way of attempting to deal with negative emotions from having to withdraw my kickstarter campaign. So upon reflection I can also see that it may have served as some form of art therapy and an attempt at uncensored self expression.

This creative process was quite quick and contrary to my usual working methodology, whereby I allow time for my ideas to develop and grow, here, I wanted to create something with immediacy almost as a form of comfort. Thus, this piece is quite a significant deviation from my preferred working methods. Referring to an article I had read in previous modules on ‘litteling it’, this artwork allowed me to feel a real sense of relief and I am so pleased with the outcome. It has far surpassed what I had hoped and I am very keen to include this as a spread in the ‘trust’ section of my book.


Fig 1.1 Pinterest, (2013). Faithmapping typographic poster. [image] Available at: https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/43065740159126607/ [Accessed 14 Jun. 2016].

Fig 1.2 Pinterest, (2016). On the way I wonder. [image] Available at: https:// uk.pinterest.com/pin/397442735845455965/ [Accessed 14 Jun. 2016].

Fig 1.3 Designer Daily, (n.d.). Dada typography. [image] Available at: https:// uk.pinterest.com/pin/63683782201560647/ [Accessed 14 Jun. 2016].

Fig 2.1 rrrick.tumblr.com, (n.d.). El Diablo. [image] Available at: https://uk.pinterest. com/pin/377809856210441834/ [Accessed 14 Jun. 2016].

Fig 2.2 Ghost4Hire, (2016). El Diablo. [image] Available at: http://ghost4hire. deviantart.com/art/El-Diablito-394875341 [Accessed 14 Jun. 2016].

Fig 2.3 Diversiones Impresas Iris, (2006). El Diablo. [image] Available at: http://loteria. elsewhere.org/iris/ [Accessed 14 Jun. 2016].

Fig 3.1 Pinterest, (2016). Girl with freckles. [image] Available at: https://uk.pinterest. com/pin/73183562668032524/ [Accessed 14 Jun. 2016].

Fig 3.2 PENN, I. (2014). Freckles. [image] Available at: http://www.photographydo. com/black-and-white-photography/famous-black-and-white-photographers [Accessed 14 Jun. 2016].

Fig 3.3 Demasi, A. (2010). Boy with freckles. [image] Available at: https://www.flickr. com/photos/82515021@N00/5027341760 [Accessed 14 Jun. 2016].

Fig 3.5 dalegrantphotography, (2013). Man with freckles. [image] Available at: http:// http://www.dalegrantphotography.com/ [Accessed 14 Jun. 2016].

Fig 3.6 eyegami, (2016). freckles. [image] Available at: http://eyegami.co/freckles/ [Accessed 14 Jun. 2016].

Fig 3.7 Vishwakarma, V. (2012). Best is yet to come… portrait of old man. [image] Available at: http://www.pixoto.com/images-photography/people/portraits-of-men/best-is-yet-to-come-90115002 [Accessed 14 Jun. 2016].

Fig 3.8 Pitak, D. (2012). woman with freckles. [image] Available at: http:// smashfreakz.com/2012/12/black-and-white-portrait-photography-by-daria-pitak/ [Accessed 14 Jun. 2016].

Hell is empty and all the devils are here

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