Today was the launch event for the 10th Anniversary Edition of Kansas City Voices. This is a publication of Whispering Prairie Press. I was able to talk for about ten minutes about my photographic work and there was a lot of interest in my approach to creating my art. The cover shot used for this years edition was my picture called Herman. Herman was a homeless man who lived in a junkyard on the east side of Kansas City. I feel the photo speaks for itself or maybe it is better to say, it tells the story. I noted that I took the photo with out the aid of flash, reflector or an assistant. I shot pictures as he was being interviewed and then worked with the image in my digital darkroom until it I felt it was finished.
I talked briefly about my process at getting to the heart of a photo. One example I used was a very recent work called Ghost. It has garnered a lot of comments. What I started with was a shot that at fist I felt it was just a blown shot. You can see it here.
To me it was a trash shot until I noticed my step granddaughter peeking out from behind my daughter who is trying to get a costume on another one of my granddaughters. It’s Halloween just before the trip out for trick or treating. Her look intrigued me so I started with Lightroom cropping and composing the piece as I wanted it. I took the shot with my old Nikon D70 and it was a RAW image file so I had a lot of options open to me. The first draft of the piece ended with this version:
I used tools to adjust the bokeh. This was a difficult task given the apparent flatness of the image. After several attempts I got what I wanted and went on to bring out the “ghost” that I was seeing in the image. She’d done a good job on her makeup so I went to various tools (I call them toy tools) until I settled on VintageScene to start the finishing work. Once I was done I brought it back into Lightroom where I used Photoshop to clean up things and tighten adjustments. I use Lightroom as my tool to keep track of photos and files so it is important to stay with my workflow process.
I ended up with the piece below:
This is my piece I call Ghost. The important part here is that I caught this and created it from a throw away shot. Sometimes you don’t really know what you photographed until it sits on the shelf awhile. So be patient.