CONTENT AWARE FILL / Sherwin Rivera Tibayan

“I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction.”

Dorothea Lange

Sherwin Rivera Tibayan (Philippines, 1982). I am a graduate student in photography living in Norman, Oklahoma. My recent and upcoming projects are heavily influenced by the emergent qualities of—and the challenges posed by—digital culture and its innumerable images to our relationship with the history of images. I’m also interested in both local and trans-national collaborative projects generated by our collective cultures’ increased use of public and anonymous archives as resources for new work, new edits, and new understandings.

These images express my surprise in discovering that Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother was the result of other, prior images. I should have known better perhaps, but icons, like sensible magicians, are better served when not revealing their secrets.
Using Photoshop’s Content Aware Fill filter on the set of five publicly available images comprising Dorothea Lange’s photo session, I’ve attempted to visually entangle issues motivating the desire to provide software that creates content from its surrounding environment with the social urgency and private aesthetics responsible for finding, constructing, and determining iconic images. In both cases of content awareness, their respective popularities seem to emerge from complicated responses to the public, personal, and market needs of the culture.
Additionally, the project consists of four more distinct sets of the five images. Each time the filter is applied to one of the images, the content of the respective photograph’s triangle changes slightly. This procedure delivers a never-ending stream of reconstructions that indulge in the malleability of the icon and considers its continued cultural renewal via appropriation.



Courtesy of the artist.

Work by Sherwin Rivera Tibayan on

photographs by Dorothea Lange


Posted by Federico Forlani