Historical Digitally Altered Image Project

As many of you have might have seen on my website, I have been digitally altering movie posters and other images to tell a new historical story. The results are often silly but have been a fun outlet for me personally.

How George Got His Groove Back

How George Got His Groove Back (and the original poster prior to my alteration)

For instance, How George Got His Groove Back popped into my head after researching and then visiting Washington’s Crossing. I simply had to make this when I got back to my hotel that night!

This summer my friend, occasional writing partner, and one of my #sschat co-moderators Dan Krutka suggested bringing my students in on the fun. Together, we created the framework for an inventive project in which students altered images based upon what we cover in class to demonstrate their understanding and to eventually serve as review material.

To do this assignment, students used various digital tools – from Explain Everything to Photoshop to Microsoft PowerPoint – in pursuit of their new digital story. All told, two  of my classes created digitally altered images. In addition to the images, students wrote an explanation of the background of the event the image references and the reasoning behind the alterations.

In the end, students elected to join a contest where the winning two entries will join my wall of posters and students will receive a printed copy of their poster.

My Classroom Wall

The posters currently up are: Tronstitution, Singing in the Reign of Terror, The Presidents Club, Grand Theft Otto, Star Wars: Episode 1776, and Three Men and a Baby.

This is where you come in! I need you to vote for your favorite two images. Below is what the poll looks like –  but to vote, here is the link to the poll. The voting will wrap up on November 19th.

Thank you for help judge!


Historical Digitally Altered Image Project
For an assignment, my students created digitally altered images to tell a new story using pop culture and what we covered during our first quarter. Upon completion, students elected into a contest for the most effective digitally altered images. We are asking students, educators, and members of the community to vote for the two most effective altered images.
Please vote for the top two images based upon the following criteria:
  • Remixing: How effectively does the student combine two or more mediums/content to tell a new story?
  • Explanation: How effectively does the student draw from course content in explaining remixed digital image?
  • Quality: How aesthetic, creative, and thorough is the remixed digital image?
Note: Each entry will also include the original image prior to alteration. Only one vote per device (you will not be barred from revisiting the poll, but subsequent votes on the device will not be counted).
Questions about the assignment? E-mail me at milton at bpsk12.org.
Fresh King of Versailles
Fresh King of Versailles
Just as “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” burst through the sitcom scene and became a shining symbol of 1990’s western culture, King Louis XIV of France, with his lavish lifestyle and unique personality, truly embodied what it meant to be a monarch in 1600’s Europe. Both Will Smith’s character on the hit TV show and the rightly nicknamed “Sun King” were both flamboyant as well as adamant in their actions and personal choices. As illustrated by the vibrant background colors of the poster, Louis enjoyed the visual arts as much as any monarch did, and he was not subtle about it. While he was ushering in a golden age of arts in France and establishing soon to be world famous art institutes, Louis even played the role of Apollo, the Greek and roman god of the sun, in a royal ballet production. Per the title, “The Fresh King”, Louis made several rulings during his reign that were “fresh” to say the least. Between defiantly declaring “L’état, c’est moi” and tearing down France’s economy brick by brick in order to fund his royal château at Versailles, Louis made himself out to be far from a servant of the state. In regards to the more minutiae details of the poster, each small symbol holds significance towards Louis and his reign. The scepter at the bottom left is representative the vast power Louis held during his reign. In addition, the crown that is on Louis’ head symbolizes the importance Louis placed upon his personal wealth and self image. It is also to be noted that in the top right corner lies a cross, a simulacrum of the one Jesus was crucified on in the book of Luke. This image conveys the fact that Louis was a firm believer that he was given divine right from God himself to rule over his kingdom, as the cross is a typical symbol of the Catholic religious beliefs Louis held so close to both his mind and heart. Overall, the image is representative of Louis’ personality as it is full of vivid colors, well as his mindset towards his reign, as it contains symbols of religion, as Louis was a devout catholic, and power, as shown by the scepter and the crown.
Virtuous Terror
Virtuous Terror

The subject of the poster is originally the main character from A Clockwork Orange, Alex DeLarge. The text on the original title reads “Being the adventures of a young man whose principal interests include rape, ultraviolence, and Beethoven.” Following the format of juxtaposing two violent and disgusting interests with an enlightened and cultured one, I listed Robespierre’s “interests” as “revolution, the guillotine, and Rousseau” (two violent atrocities associated with Robespierre, followed by an enlightened philosophe). These “interests” of Robespierre reflect three important aspects of his reign. The guillotine references the alarmingly frequency of beheadings by the device during his rule; the protection and preservation revolution was his catch-all excuse for spreading terror and violence; and Rousseau was an enlightened philosophe who he often credited as one of his inspirations. Furthermore the title shift to “A Virtuous Terror” follows the self-contradicting title format of the original, while also explaining the primary concept associated with his rule. The title “A Clockwork Orange”, according to the author of the novel Anthony Burgess, is so named because of the main character having “the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up” (Burgess). Similarly, Robespierre referred to his Reign of Terror as “Virtuous Terror”, a contradiction of the morally justness of “Virtue” and its corruption with the word “terror”, showing the true nature of his reign. Finally, replacing Alex DeLarge’s dagger with a coiled roped shows how Robespierre spread his violence: excessive use of the guillotine.

Robespierre of Hearts

In this image, the Queen of Heart’s head is replaced with the head of Robespierre. This creates a parallel addressing the similar traits of both characters, and connects the traits of one to the other. Both the Queen of Hearts and Robespierre are known for sentencing people to death, specifically death by beheading. In addition to this, both characters are known for sentencing people to death over the mildest of offenses; The Queen of hearts sentenced people to death for not celebrating her croquet game in the proper manner, and Robespierre sentenced people to death for not being enthusiastic enough about the revolution.

In addition to this face swap, the color of the Queen of Hearts’s dress was changed to reflect the colors of the French flag: Red, white and blue. This symbolizes that Robespierre was truly acting in a way that he thought would benefit France. Regardless of what Robespierre did, he loved his country. Although his Reign of Terror was bloody and violent, he believed that this fear was the best path for the country, and would bring forth a time of order and unity.

The scene where this image was taken from was when the Queen of Hearts sentenced her entire court to death. This reflects the large number of deaths that Robespierre is responsible for, both directly and indirectly. The heads of these court members were each replaced with a depiction of France colored in with the colors of the country’s flag. This represents that the people who were killed were French. In addition to this, spins shows that all of France was affected by the Reign of Terror, not just the members of society who were killed.

The text added to the image, stating “Off With His Head” is the catchphrase of the Queen of Hearts, and also reflects Robespierre’s use of the guillotine as the means of execution.

Galileo Galilei vs. the Church
Galileo vs. The Church
Galileo Galilei had discovered the heliocentric theory, the theory that the earth revolves around the sun. This went against the Church belief that the sun revolves around the earth with the earth being the center of the universe, otherwise known as the geocentric theory. During the enlightenment, Galileo Galilei was questioning the Church through his discoveries in sciences. This causes a feud between the Church and Galileo. “Scott Pilgrim vs the World” becomes “Galileo Galilei vs the Church.” As the movie title suggests, it is Scott Pilgrim going up against the world. This digital remix takes that idea and makes it Galileo going up against the Church, since the Church essentially was “the world” back then. Also notice how the bass guitar is changed into a telescope. Scott Pilgrim fights against his enemies with his music, thus meaning his bass guitar is his weapon. The equivalent of a this is how Galileo fights against his enemies with his discoveries, thus meaning his telescope is his weapon.

I changed the movie poster for “Carrie” to “Marie” to convey the downfall of royalty during the French Revolution. Marie went from being a beautiful queen to being beheaded as depicted by the before and after shots of the poster. Marie and the monarchy of France was ended with the French Revolution. There is an image of the Eiffel Tower and a guillotine in her hands because she was killed in Paris by the guillotine during the Reign of Terror. Many of the words reflect the goals of the Reign of Terror and Robespierre to destroy the monarchy and keep the people in order by means of terror. The image as a whole is a warning of the dangers of disagreeing with the republican government of Robespierre. Agreeing with the monarchy and absolutism would end in death

Poll Maker


About Michael K. Milton

I teach students Social Studies at Burlington High School. When I became a teacher, I believed that students would frequently give me apples. This has not happened (not even a Red Delicious ~ a name which is a misnomer). However, my school has given me a MacBook Pro and an iPad in an effort to right this wrong (I assume). I'm very lucky to work in a 1:1 school.
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2 Responses to Historical Digitally Altered Image Project

  1. Jan Shafer says:

    I love these digitally altered posters!!

  2. Pingback: Episode 13: Creating Authentic Media with hosts Dan and Michael – Visions of Education

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