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Tag Archives: Image editing
“There are some people looking to play the guitar. There’s other people looking for a sound. I was looking for a sound…”. Keith Richards, from his biography, “Life.“ This quote really struck me as I was in the process of thinking about this post. I’ve been grappling with the idea of finding my voice in photography, and I don’t think I’ve found one yet. That feels like a question for others to answer. At the same time I wonder if it matters?. Maybe a better question is to ask when does it matter? I’ve reached out to a few artists in pursuit of a perspective to share on this issue. Here is what the early, and maybe predictable responses, are:
1) “If I develop a style, I’ve stopped evolving.” Christian S., founder of the band Catchpenny;
2) “I shoot all over the map. I hope that never stops.” Martin B., photographer;
3) “You need to have a unique voice in your work.” Debra W., Creative Consultant to the advertising industry;
I can remember a moment in a photo workshop, early in my workshop process, a teacher challenging us to “examine what it is you want to say in your photography.” At the time I thought, “I have no bloody idea. I’ve already failed. I just like taking pictures, pretty pictures, fun pictures. Landscape pictures. Isn’t that enough?” It was frustrating? No one talked about the what where when how or why of finding my voice. It was just asserted that I must find one. This caused problems for both hemisphere’s of my brain. The right just wants to create within the moment, damn the idea of what I want to say (which may or may not be coming through) and the left brain says, “wait a moment, you must shoot this to your style.”
Then came an evening recently when the image above was shot. I’ve decided to do a lot of experimenting with my studio/portrait photography and dragged my friend John into the studio to experiment with some unusual lighting conditions. The experiment quickly failed and I became a little frustrated. John was great and helped talk through what it was I didn’t like. What I didn’t like was that I kept wanting to run from the experimental conditions right back to what I knew. My style, my voice, my look in the studio. There was quite a little battle taking place in me. An important battle.
So, the rhetorical questions I’m still struggling with:
1) Am I taking pictures or creating a sound, a voice?
2) Is it important to have a voice and if so, where when and why?
3) How do I manage the struggle to fall back on what I know how to do, what’s comfortable, what I shot a hundred times before vs. trying something truly new to me? There are real costs associated with failed experiments.
I’d love to hear from you on these questions – as they relate to your own photographic process, your life process, your entrepreneurial process.
About the image: John is a part of a small, brave group of souls who surf Lake Superior during the late fall, winter and early spring storms. By most accounts, totally insane. We wanted to capture a look – a feel consistent with the idea and I was inspired by some lighting I saw recently that I thought would be a great fit for the mood. It quickly failed in my eyes and we decided to finish on some more conventional approaches, just to keep productive. The final look of the image is my own secret sauce of editing, not a photoshop/lightroom plugin – no “auto awesome” button here. (Quoting a good man, Markus Mangold).
In my previous post I introduced you to this studio portrait, using 5 strobe lights. In this post I’ve developed a tutorial on the actual shoot with Terry, the model. This is the first part of a two part tutorial. In part two, I go through my post-process on this image in Photoshop.
A good friend and photography, Chet Ellingson, turned me on to this guy…Eric Curry and his series of photographic paintings titled American Pride and Passion. There is something about the look, the craft, the intensity of post production, the taking of images and turning them into paintings that really turns me on. And make no mistake, Eric Curry is a painter and his understanding of the flow of light demonstrates this fact. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and be sure to watch the video tutorials. He shoots hundreds of frames and blends them in Adobe Photoshop. Wow. I’m already putting together two shoots based on this technique and look forward to sharing them with you all. This is really cool work…please share via Facebook or other social media outlets using the menu below the post.
Its really fun to go back through the terrabites of harddrive, search raw images for something you missed. Found one I’d forgotten about and decided to post it.
This image is timely. I recently publish some of my tutorial content on Mark Johnson’s Photoshop website. It was the tutorial on split ND filters. Today’s image is HEAVILY filtered.
This was shot mid-day at the Pismo Beach Pier in California. I started with a Singh Ray Blue Gold Circular Polarizer. Polarizing in general and the BG specifically are favorites of mine when I’m considering black and white images. They provide a higher degree of contrast in water and sky right out of the camera. I like contrast.
On top of that I hung a 4 stop piece of ND glass, and then a two stop Split ND for the sky. Wasn’t sure where all this was headed. Just experimenting at this point.
Maybe that’s the lesson. Sometimes concepts are useful, sometimes its just great to go out and experiment.
Hope you enjoy.