Unreal Nature

May 5, 2008

Alchemy

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 9:33 am

Do you use Photoshop to (try to) make snapshots into art? It has occurred to me that the people who hate Photoshop think that’s what we Photoshop users are doing — some sort of image alchemy where we turn lead into gold.

I don’t know about other people, but that’s not what I do. Snaps go through the ACR converter, are sized, cropped, sharpened and saved and that’s the last time I see them in Photoshop. I don’t think of them as working material.

Artistic pictures that I work on in Photoshop were made with some intent in mind. The Photoshop work is to polish or conform the photo to what I had in mind at the time I took the picture.

As an experiment, I took the snapshot, shown below into Photoshop and tried to make something artistic out of it. This picture was absolutely a snapshot — I had no artistic plans for it at all when I made the picture. I was bringing in groceries from my car when I saw the moth on the front porch. I wanted a picture so I could identify it, and had to be quick about it because the Jack Russells were also highly interested in the bug. (Turns out it is a Cecropia moth which is the biggest found in my area (almost 6″ wide), but not particularly rare.)

Here’s what I made in Photoshop. I don’t find it very interesting. Working on it — trying to force something into a picture that I don’t have any response to — was not enjoyable. I wouldn’t say it was horribly unpleasant, but it was … just nothing.

This is not how I use Photoshop. I use it as a means to get to where I have in mind before I ever start up the computer. Photoshop is not alchemy — it’s cutting and polishing the diamond.

-Julie

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