Friday, March 16, 2007

Before and After

For me capture is only the beginning.

Back in the dark(room) ages I would literally spend hours crafting a print to perfection. That kind of attention to detail came thanks to an old boss who had worked as a printer for famed landscape photographer, Ansel Adams. I still remember my first day on the job when the boss handed me a medium format negative and showed me the darkroom door. He smiled and said when I could make a print Ansel would be proud of then I could print his negatives. I've always liked a challenge. Two weeks later I finally made a print he would accept and I was finally allowed out of the dark.

Fast forward to the digital age. The same is true today, it takes practice to develop your craft. The difference is only in our tools. Rather than lock ourselves away in a small dank room for hours at a time we now sit in front of an electronic screen for hours and hours tweaking images pixel by pixel. The difference? No chemicals, unless you count the way-too-strong Starbucks coffee I drink!

The example here is from a series of shots I made at a college dance class. The easy part was to capture the action at the proper moment. I love the line of the dancer's arm, her hair and the man's bulging muscles as he holds her through the move. Nice picture, but far from a work of art. The after shot was the result of pumping up the color, adding a slight diffusion layer and doing a lot of burning of the background. Some custom Photoshop actions were used but a lot of work on this image was done the old fashion way... by hand.

It's not what you photograph, but what you see in your minds eye that counts the most.

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