A portrait photographer has invented a new craze for caricature photographs.
Visitors to London’s Covent Garden will be familiar with caricature artists, who draw comically exaggerated portraits as souvenirs for tourists.
Now professional photographer Bert McLendon, 40, has taken the concept a step further by using technology to distort photographs, puffing out cheeks and exaggerating features to create bizarre, high definition caricatures.
Mr McLendon, 40, said: “I take 10 to 20 pictures of the subject making the most insane faces they can make, then pick out the craziest.
“I’ll tell them to tuck their chin into their neck, or tell them to open their eyes and mouth really wide so they look hyperactive. It’s amazing how you can get lots of different caricatures from just one person.”
Mr McLendon then uses computer software to distort the images.
Mr McLendon said: “People have been distorting faces in Photoshop since it was invented. This is just my twist on things.”
Mr McLendon first came up with the idea as a way to amuse his wife Becky, 39, and two stepchildren, Oliver, 9, and Sophia, 10, while they were away on holiday.
Mr McLendon said: “A couple of months ago the wife and kids went on a trip to a water park east of Dallas.
“While they were away I tested a lighting setup for a client and took a few photos of myself. I was making the stupidest faces I could think of.
“I took about 50 pictures so I chose a few of the best and distorted my face. I then sent them off with a little message telling them I missed them.
“When they got the photos they were in hysterics – they loved them.”
Mr McLendon’s wife later uploaded the pictures to his Facebook page.
Mr McLendon said: “Once they were online I was worried the pictures would attract trolls but it’s all been positive – people really enjoy them.
“People who had never liked or commented on any of my photos were going crazy for them. It was awesome.”
Since the pictures were first uploaded Mr McLendon has been inundated with requests from clients wanting their own set of wacky caricatures.
Mr McLendon said: “It’s only been a couple of months but I have already integrated it into my business.
“Clients are booking me to make caricatures and people are even hiring me for events where I edit them live on a big screen.”
“I never thought this would amount to anything, but it’s becoming my niche.”
Mr McLendon is eager to to see how far the technology can go.
Mr McLendon, of Austin, Texas, said: “I’ve got the process down to a speed comparable if not faster to a professional caricature artist who you may see at Disneyland or Six Flags.
“I’m thinking about approaching some of the major theme parks to see if this is something they could use. It’s definitely a money maker.
“It’s a nice modern twist on an old tradition.”
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