Photo Rehab Cover Makeover #9: 1984

I came close to not doing anything for Cover Makeover #9 because the sample cover is so simple.


I take up these challenges to play with features of Photoshop I am familiar with (so I don’t forget them) and to learn new stuff as I come up with a cover.

And then I realized I can make up whatever I want and also comment on a concept presented in the book that, while familiar, seems largely tolerated if not outright embraced; doublespeak. I used to think “doublespeak” originated with this book, but that is not the case. The book actually refers to doublethink, but it’s largely the same thing; the manipulation of emotion by the choice of words.

Regardless, the practice has become so prevalent that we don’t even pay attention to it: ‘assault weapon’ instead of ‘gun’, ‘baby parts’ instead of ‘fetal tissue’, ‘police action’ instead of ‘war’, and so on.

I am, perhaps, more attuned to listening for it than most people. Maybe because I am old, or maybe because I write. Whatever the reason, I analyze the choice of words to determine what the speaker or writer wants to convey and, more important, how they want to manipulate my emotional response.

For instance, if you listen to certain channels you might hear how terrorist groups are “killing Christians” . . . why not say “killing people”? After all, that what they are doing; they certainly are not killing just Christians. But if you want to fire up a population tired of sending soldiers to die in foreign lands, you want to bring it home to them that “they” are killing “our kind”.

Anyway, it’s neither here or there. I’m disappointed with how we’ve shaped our world and, more important, I’ve lost any hope for humanity in general; in many ways 1984 is an accepted reality that bothers far too few to ever go back. 

My main concern right now is this cover. So, what do I want on my book cover remake of 1984?

Well, I need a representation of Big Brother and the idea of an oppressive society where people have lost their individuality and their freedom of choice. I want eyes, a domed city, and indistinct powerless people.

I begin with this shot for the eyes:


I needed something conveying a soulless individual . . . so, yes, those are my eyes. I had two other versions of this shot from one of my Untitled Posts series, #00038, but I liked this one better than this one:


Next, I needed people . . . I don’t have many photos of people and so I am surprised when I find things I can use. This next photo came from my Mount Rushmore post:

Original, unedited version

Original, unedited version

Cropped and run through a few Topaz Plugins (Simplify and Restyle)

Cropped and run through a few Topaz Plugins (Simplify and Restyle)

The city under a dome comes from THIS post of my 2008 visit to Chicago, and specifically, this photo of The Bean:


With all the individual components in place, I set about creating this:


Some might say it’s too busy. As usual, I like my effort . . . it’s probably a cognitive bias on my part; having spent time creating this, I can’t help but like it.  

I hope this exercise in a bit of escapism has entertained you. If not, don’t tell anyone about this post. Unless there is someone you don’t like, in which case point them here so I can add them to the long list of people who hate my guts. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
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Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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26 Responses to Photo Rehab Cover Makeover #9: 1984

  1. sandra getgood says:

    I really like it. It’s the eyes that got me…..those eyes are the stuff that nightmares are made of, or maybe just bad dreams. It’s a very effective cover. At least I think so.


  2. oneowner says:

    It’s only “too busy” compared to the sample cover. I like it.


  3. tildy1 says:

    The combined elements are spot on! Very creative approach.


  4. PiedType says:

    The all-seeing, brooding eyes, perfect for “Big Brother.”


  5. Ooh…creepy eyes…I love them! Love your cover and I WAS entertained as I read about your progression and saw the results! :-)
    Wow…1984 seems a long time ago now.
    HUGS!!! :-)


  6. desleyjane says:

    Oh! THIS I like. Really cool. I love the bean, I have a few shots from a visit there and I really wanted to use eyes but couldn’t figure out how to layer it well. I will learn!! This cover is great, one of my favorites so far out of all the covers. Very intelligent design. Thanks so much for joining in. You’re absolutely right – who cares about the sample cover, let’s make it up ourselves!


    • disperser says:

      Oh! . . . so you didn’t like the other covers I did!

      Seriously, thank you. I try to have fun with these and learn something in the process; when I’m not sure or can’t work out how to do something I usually do a search; lots of help out there.

      Probably the most work was the Signet Classic sign as I had a hard time making the rounded rectangle look like the one in the actual book cover.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. How could I have missed to see this one earlier? Jaw dropping.
    Yes, who cares about the original? The idea is to use your own ideas and encourage you all to do whatever you want. Totally the opposite of 1984, right?
    You made a superbly elaborated cover; it seems so difficult to make this.
    Well, not for you! ;-)
    Thanks for joining again.


    • disperser says:

      The blending of three photos in layers is fairly easy (many tutorials both written and in video formats).

      The more difficult part involves visualizing the final product and finding photos for it. To that end, I only use my own photos as it gets me to look at them with a different interpretation.


      • Thanks for the guidance. I’m fairly new to Photoshop as I’m using mostly LR. I have slowly started to test it and just need to read some tutorials and stop being me fur a change. Well, I like doing first and then reading the manual. Call that not clever.


      • disperser says:

        Manuals? I don’t need no stinking manuals!

        Seriously, I have books on Photoshop and Lightroom that I’ve hardly cracked. Same for working with layers. Mostly, I like learning by trying, and even the YouTube videos are a last resort. That’s one of the good thing with this challenge; it gets me to try stuff I would not normally do.


  8. By the way there is a whole controversy about copyrights involving the author of The Bean and another artist which copied it in China. I read this in The Economist.


    • disperser says:

      I could not find the article, but it’s not that important to me. The whole idea of copyrighting a shape is a little fuzzy as is the claim of derivative art as it essentially claims one cannot be inspired from something to create something else.

      In contention, it’s how “close” the new work is, and that is subject to a wide range of interpretation both by the public and the courts. Copyright infringement cases make for interesting, if sometimes non-sensical, reading and raise more questions than they answer.


  9. AnnMarie says:

    I am one of three that can truly say those are MY Big Brother’s eyes! Lovely chocolate color. And what you conveyed with them for this cover is just right. All the pieces fit nicely together to make a great, powerful cover. Much more effective than the original. Ben fatto, FRATELLO MAGGIORE!


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