If you read my last post you’d think I frown on images that are extensively manipulated digitally. Not so! I personally am a big fan of digital imaging as it has revived my love of photography. I like how inkjet prints look and feel; I’m observing that the resolution of today’s digital cameras and files is much better than 35mm film and is even approaching 120 film quality. If you get proficient with image editing software you can dodge, burn, mask and correct to your heart’s content.
The portrait I made above is of Birgit Blyth, at the time a student at the Maine Photographic Workshops. Birgit is now an artist creating wonderful prints using an interesting non-digital technique with “traditional” photographic media. The portrait was made with a 4×5 Graflex and the negative was very poor. I nailed the focus but not the exposure (batting .500). I scanned the negative and worked with it in Paintshop using just curves to turn the muddy grays into the whites I saw when I took the picture. The negative has sat in my archives for 22 years and digital technology allowed me to finally produce in print what I saw that day.
John Paul Caponigro makes wonderful photographs and works with them extensively in Photoshop. His photographs involve a lot of technique but I think you’ll agree the results are beautiful. His website is also a good source for technical articles on imaging, equipment, software and technology.
Jennifer Reagles is another artist whose work has intrigued me. I’m not sure what she starts with – whether they’re photographs or drawings – but she uses Paintshop and Painter to modify her images and compose marvelous results. One of my favorites is Central Texas Winter which really nails down the color of our landscape in Texas during the winter months.
Everyone creates their own magic. Figure out what makes you tick and work with that. If you like straightforward imagery (like myself) and don’t like to fuss around the PC too much then walk down that road. If you’re comfortable spending more time in post-production on the PC or Mac creating images with multiple layers, effects and filters then run with it. Once you make enough images and work with them you’ll find what you like. Either way, don’t be a slave to technology and use it to create what you want and what you saw.
Thanks for reading.