I remember once hearing a big name photo-retoucher say that working on skin - specifically creating that perfect, porcelain look of high-fashion magazines - is like scrubbing a house from top to bottom with a tooth brush.
Oh, how true that is.
Even when your model has beautiful skin, like Amy (pictured here wearing earrings and necklace by Birna Jewelry), it can still take hours of pixel by pixel work to give it the high-polish feel so necessary in jewelry advertising. Every pore, every freckle, every loose strand of hair gets digitally erased, touched-up, re-imagined until it's perfect.
After staring at a 200% close-up for hours on end, I often find myself loosing track of what I'm even working on. Is that a mole, or an eyelash? Is that her nose, or elbow? I have no idea, but I love the way it looks!
Time to grab my toothbrush, I still have 15 images to correct.
Friday, January 23, 2009
After taking a few weeks off to recharge for the new year, I've been diligently finishing my new book, "On White." On White refers to shooting products (and sometimes people) on a plain, white background, with no external information to tell the viewer the object's proper place in the world.
While posing some interesting technical challenges to the photographer, in a more fundamental way, shooting a product on white changes the nature of the object, and our relationship to it. We remove the object from any outside contextual associations, and thereby cause the viewer to judge the subject entirely on its own merits. Ideas of proper usage, usefulness and personal involvement give way to ideas of design, color, shape and texture.
The images for the book were drawn primarily from my work with Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, and often sequenced to create new and (hopefully) exciting relationships. A handsaw becomes a grand piece of sculpture, while a pair of false teeth takes on an inhuman aspect, nearly vicious, suspended in this world of white.
The self-portrait seen here represents my feeling that everything I look at is destined to be cutout and placed in the white void, my eyes having become instruments of dissection as they themselves are nearly extracted.
The book should be done by the middle of February through my website. I'll be sure to let everybody know when it's done.