Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Eiffel Flowers: revisiting a discarded photo

I'm no fan of Photoshop's "artistic" filters. Just read my rant about pointillism. But that doesn't mean that I'm against manipulating images with some sort of artistic intent. The following is an example of coming back to a photo that was headed for the discard pile, looking at it in a new light, and using a revised version.

The original photo has pretty flowers and a generally good composition, but when I was sorting through which photos to give Wild Apple, I passed it by because the sky is "blown out." In other words, no pretty blue, no fluffy white clouds, just bright white. Blown out highlights and shadows with no detail are two of the top technical "flaws" that tend to bug photographers. I seriously question whether they are indeed flaws, or at least I think it depends on the style and emotion of a photo rather than on a fixed set of rules. Nevertheless, I was not aiming for a glaringly white sky when I took this photo, so I thought "too bad," gave it a low rating in Aperture, and moved on. But then I started toying around with a faux polaroid look (no, it's not one of those Photoshop artistic filters that I hate) on some other photos and decided that a blown out sky is as asset in light of the heavily smeared and dense color of polaroid style. With that style, the blank sky becomes greenish and helps set the tone for the rest of the photo.

Some people may react negatively, the way I did to the faux pointillism of Photoshop. Some people might prefer the first version. Or maybe you don't like either. Either way, the point is not universal appeal (if it is to you, then good luck with that), but rather something that appeals to me. The point is in the process of revision. First, I identified what bugged me about the original (i.e. white sky), then I thought of a way to resolve that problem (i.e. greenish polaroid sky), and suddenly I have a photo that I like (mostly. still not sure about the jagged border). An "Eiffel Flowers" photo rescued from the possible discards.

3 comments:

lifebythecreek said...

I just "met" you via your interview on Rebekah Leatherman's blog. What a refreshingly different interview; I love your work but I love your mindset and understanding of what REALLY matters in life even more. Love what you did with this photo, too. I suppose it's a visual of what happens when we do that with people, too. We may not like what we see at first, but if we reframe or look through a different filter, we may end up realizing that there's more there than we thought. Well done...

Marvett Smith said...

Love your work! Great interview as well!

Toisondor said...

I like the "After" better than the "Before." If you keep the jagged border, it should go all the way around. It seems strange to have a smooth border on the upper-left sky sections.