Earlier this year Newsweek ran a cover featuring everyone's favorite president to hate as their cover, depicting him lazily hanging out in the oval office pounding back the calories in about the least presidential way possible. Newsweek contracted legendary conceptual photographer C.J. Burton to create this inevitably notorious cover. Naturally, Burton quickly realized there would be no chance of him getting access to either Trump or the Oval Office for such a shoot so needed to leverage the power of compositing to create the image desired by the client.
In his livestream from Creatr's new From Concept to Cover weekly livestream series, Burton walks viewers through the entire process of creating an image like this. Beginning from pre-concept and brainstorming with the client's creative team, to the shoot itself, and finally, through the entire Photoshop process, Burton lays out his entire workflow that was able to transform a vague idea from the client to a polished final image.
As can be expected Burton worked through many iterations of a similar idea before settling on a final concept which he worked with a creative team to build into a real photo. By leveraging the power of publicly available stock imagery and a scratch built set Burton was able to build an image of Trump without ever needing to photograph the president himself. An image constructed this way, however, certainly raised many ethical questions about whether it is ok to create an image of anyone, let alone a world leader, doing something that almost certainly never occurred. In an era where fake news has quickly become a cancer in our society. Has a moral line been crossed in constructing a completely CG image for the cover of a publication claiming to be "news?" Watch the video and let me know what you think in the comments below!