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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

On Photography - Before and After

Chairs in Brooklyn
Photo by myself in front of a vintage furniture store on Wythe and South First Streets in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I really loved the colors at work here.

There are several stores that sell vintage furnishings in Williamsburg. Some are more of the 60's office variety, others include funky Scandinavian-inspired pieces.

Either way, you will come away with something that no one else has.


For those interested in current photography, I suggest a wonderful article in a recent New Yorker magazine about gifted photo retoucher Pascal Dangin.

I wish I could find the two photos that were printed in the article. An original black and white photo of a nude model by Patrick Demarchelier was published alongside the photo after Dangin's handiwork.

In the retouched photograph, the model's torso has been rotated, the back of her pelvis better lit. The lighting of her hair, background and body is even and flattering. Her bony hip is eased, to look less severe. The images are strikingly different.

From the reporter's description, you get the sense that Dangin performs minor tweaks based on a full knowledge of anatomy. He sits with photographers over raw photos to discuss his vision for an image, and is even present during photo shoots to offer his expertise.

Dangin has admitted to retouching Annie Liebovitz's photos for Dove the soap Campaign for Real Beauty, which were supposed to have been untouched images of 'real' women. So much for reality!

Here's the Dove evolution ad showing a model from sitting to billboard:

Related posts: The Arts - Live and one Videotape, Inspiration and Random Shots


Anonymous said...

I knew about the retouching as I have done a little of that but was never an expert at it. Still it was done extensively in black and white work. I like your photograph of the furniture and colors. Nice shot.

Mab said...

I see beautiful pics of various things and I always wonder wether they have been retouched or not,I can see that sometimes a picture could warrant a bit of it but it can be overworked.
Like the iron bench,wonder how many bums have sat on it. :)

Carolyn said...

It is no wonder women are never happy with themselves. If only we had a retoucher handy every morning when you got ready for the day!


Profile Not Available said...

I also love the colors in this photo! These old shops are wonderful to browse around in! Fun to wonder who used what and how!

Kitty said...

Hi Mr Lincoln
The whole retouching thing is a mystery to me, too, beyond just adjusting contrast and color balance. I'm itching to learn more about it.

Thanks Mab
True. I see overworked shots all the time. I think it takes a subtle, painterly eye.

Hi Carolyn
Oh to have a retoucher or make-up crew, lol. What a funny life that would be.

Hi Kelly
Mark and I love to browse at these places (well, I love it a bit more than he does). You see so much stuff, it's like going to the museum.

BrianC said...

Naomi Wolf was spot-on in "The Beauty Myth." Of course, we live in a society in which the definition of "reality" is in constant flux, shifting according to the latest spin - or in this case, retouching.

Fredrik said...

I've seen the Dove film before and it's really good. I don't think we have a clue about the number of retouched images out there...
What a lovely couch you found! I just love garden antiques in general and furniture in particulary.

Olivier said...

Pascal Dangin, le vrai photo-sorcier. Il est le meilleur, mais c'est normal il est fran├žais ;o))
Pascal Dangin, the true picture sorcerer. It is the best, but that is normal it is french ;o))

Jane Hards Photography said...

The colours are mesmerising. It's the aqua brickwork with the splash of red that does it. Nicely composed. Will check out the link. Always like to see others photographers work.

Mom Knows Everything said...

I love shopping in the old shops. You can find some real treasures in them.

Knoxville Girl said...

This mix of colors just makes me happy, including the bright graffiti. I just had a conversation about that New Yorker article with the women in one of my book clubs: what is real vs what is pleasing to the eye but unreal...

fishwithoutbicycle said...

The dove ads were touched up, but they were real women. I know someone who was in one of the ads and another woman who worked on the account is a good friend of mine ;-)

I have mixed feelings about the retouching of photos featuring human models. I understand it, but it hasn't done our egos any favours over the years. At least we are aware it happens now and realise perfection is unachieveable.

Anonymous said...

Honestly? I find it hard to believe that I wouldn't buy makeup because an ad featured a woman who was slightly less than perfect.

All advertisers need to know is that women just need to see unretouched before and after shots to know that the product is awesome!

As usual, another eye-catching photo, Kitty. The orangey-red against the aqua painted brick is just dynamite!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE your pic of the chairs - those really are some great colours!! :)

Eva said...

It's sad when even a models body isn't perfect enough for the beauty industry. It makes it so much harder for the rest of us, know what I mean?

I love your photograph. Street documentary has been a favourite of mine for a long time now. Imagine what people will say about these pictures in 100 years? (I love looking at old street photographs. They are so full of life!)

Anonymous said...

For everyone who wants retouched pictures of themselves should google for such a service online.