Saturday, May 2, 2015

Sow's Ear/Silk Purse


It's sort of drummed into us photographers that if you begin with a bad photo, no amount of tweaking and altering will make it a good photo. And yeah, that's usually the case. But every once in awhile the angels sing and you can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

(To produce something refined, admirable, or valuable from something which is unrefined, unpleasant, or of little or no value.)

Chris and I were wandering around Silverton, Oregon and I saw a bicycle in front of a store. You can see what I saw in the second photo below. And yes, it's a ho-hum picture. The lighting was rather dull. The background was fussy. And you can even see my light-colored pants and dark sweater reflected in the glass just over the handlebars.

Normally I would automatically delete such a photo. But then I wondered just what could I do with it? I basically liked the bike.

I created this a number of years ago and don't remember everything I did, but I know I added some contrast, added some texture, added more content on the far left and right sides of the picture (the picture was wonky, so I rotated it, cropped it, and you see the white background/empty space on either side in the original photo). I also darkened the edges, added some shading, and then added an arrow in the upper right.

Why did I add the arrow? Because I purposely placed the bike more to the left side of the frame than the right to give it "moving room," room to coast into the frame. To emphasize that left-right movement, what better than to put an arrow in the shot? It's subtle, it blends in, and it's appropriate.

You can still see me reflected in the glass, but if I hadn't told you the reflection was there, you probably wouldn't have noticed it, and you wouldn't have recognized it as a person standing there.

Bottom line? Yes. I began with a boring photograph. But with a bit of tweakage and Photoshop legerdemain, I managed to transform it into a picture that has richness and depth. And it's one that I printed, framed, and have as part of a grouping on my living room wall. And it looks good!

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh. Thank you!

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