Picture Taking Conversation

On Dec 12, 2007 9:20 AM, Ricky wrote:

The Art of Retouching

On Dec 12, 2007 6:30 AM, ty wrote:

The "art" of "retouching".... I suppose; but most commercial photography drives me nuts. I get it, but what's the purpose? I learned some of those techniques...used some of those techniques (like fixing neighbor girl’s chapped lips for Christmas card photos I made). But, this regression to a dishonest mean?


Which is why I really like super-realism. Why I try to shoot w/minimal retouching (mostly contrast corrections only - in general).

Like here [clicky], I could clean that nose just as easy as snapping magic Photoshop fingers. But, that nose is priceless.

Like Kern and Naz:
Richard Kern
Dave Naz

On Dec 12, 2007 10:56 AM, Ricky wrote:

I like the website because, for me, it unmasks the frauds that show up in magazines and online. I'm not that tuned in to retouching so a lot of times I take what I see in photos at face value. Whoops.

Your comments highlight another issue though. I suspect what you're reacting against is not the tool of retouching. It's just a tool. Just yesterday you were using a tool (fuzzy focus) to create the illusion of miniaturization - a deviation from the real world. I suspect what you're reacting against is this guy's ends rather than his means. His ends are to create a unrealistic and unattainable beauty (Bigger Boobs! Smoother Skin!) that make us feel inadequate and promotes hyper-consumerism. But the tool itself could be used for much more interesting ends (a la Merkley???).

And what that makes me think of is two kinds of art.
1) Art that reveals the world for what it is (booger nose); and

2) Art that creates the illusion of fantasy - or the world for what it isn't. In the first category we put photojournalism, field recordings, Kern, Naz, Dorethea Lange, etc. In the other we put Merkeley, Alice Cooper, David Bowie (music and image), George Bush in cowboy boots, RuPaul, abstract impressionism....eh...you know what? I just got bored of my own topic.

On Dec 12, 2007 11:32 AM, ty wrote:

Ha! You go bored with your own topic. I suspect that is because you realized you were preaching to the deacon.

The miniaturization (gradient masking and contrast/color blasting) thing is a exercise; something I wanted to learn. It's a technique that I will file in the arsenal for use when it makes sense to me and to my context.

I'll end it with this: nice call with Dorothea Lange. Love that shit (Hank actually gave me a Lange collection book a couple of years back).

But yeah, as I discover and evolve my so-called "style" in photography (or picture taking since I'll never be a photographer - Kwiatkowski is a photographer) I do want to learn some things. I've smoothed skin and removed unpleasant elements to create not fantasy but "better reality." I know how to do that. But I'm not gonna do it for a living. That's radio pop.

Neither though am I a photojournalist. I’m just exploring.

See this shit. It's for real (it's like my going to the police academy on acid) - storytelling:
The Whale Hunt
Oh, and yeah. Merkley??? is fucking crazy in his use of the tools (and hot naked chicks).


On Dec 12, 2007 11:48 AM, Dave wrote:

2 of 4, half of a third of a dozen of another, it's all the same.