Saturday, March 8, 2008

One of Those Photoshop Days

(Click on the thumbnail to view larger image)

A few days ago when I was attempting to process one of those rough passages, I lost myself in a photo of our two silly boys roughhousing in the turn-out ring. I can get lost, for hours, painting and tweaking an image that I enjoy staring at. In these situations, there is, for me, a distinct correlation between the emotional processing and the photo processing—each seems to feed the other. I lose myself in the Photoshop mechanics of sliders, layers, curves, channels, and masks. I don't have any plug-ins and use only a few actions that I create for adding basic adjustment layers. It isn't just about being frugal. I truly enjoy the act of applying the steps and the making of the image-by-image, element-by-element, moment-by-moment choices. And, as I confront the light and shadow on the monitor and explore the direction I want to take it (and hope we are dancing in sync), my unconscious picks at the sliders, layers, curves, etc. of the event that I am attempting to digest. Internally and externally, I attempt to resolve chaos and establish order.

It's cheaper (arguably) and healthier than most therapies and, sometimes, when I have ended my "meditation" I am willing to share the final product before I put it away for a while. (The putting-away allows me to step away from the moment and return when I can more effectively separate the final image from the emotional journey that produced it.) Sometimes I struggle with whether showing work that comes from such a process is a bit like inviting a friend to your group therapy session to observe the proceedings. Still, all our images, after all, reflect who we are, on some level or the other. We can share the work or hide it in a shoebox. My shoebox is already full.


  1. Anita, all that I can say is that your subconscious was working overtime, here! What a beautiful portrait. It looks as if you caught these two silly boys roughhousing under the moonlight. It's a very emotional picture.

    Regarding Photoshop, I certainly understand your preferences to do your 'thing' to each photo without the use of actions. I liken this to painting. Each photo gets its own unique tweaks. Even if you post-processed the photo multiple times, each would be unique.

    I'm still working on my PS skills, very slowly, but I really enjoy the 'art' of it.

    An excellent shot!

  2. Thank you for your comments. I am delighted that you enjoyed seeing the portrait. I know many people are totally turned off by photographs that have been so heavily manipulated. But, occasionally one of my photographs is, for me, simply the beginning of the story, and I am compelled to dig into the rest of it. In the beginning I was forced to learn Photoshop, because I made so many technical blunders and was constantly attempting to resurrect losers. Now, I enjoy the process so darn much that I can't stop myself. Of course, no Photoshop skills will provide me with the type of eye I want to develop. That, alas, doesn't come in a box.

    Since I appreciate your work so much, your comments are most welcome.


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