A Million Little Edits

September 19, 2010

So I’ve been wandering the vicinity taking photos like I usually do but I feel like I’ve sort of exhausted the “cheap object against a white background” photos I’ve been making for the last year and that more generally I’ve exhausted Milwaukee as a place where I want to bother taking photographs.  Other people settle down after 30; my wanderlust seems to get stronger every month, and I wouldn’t mind living out of a suitcase for the next decade having been tied in one place by poverty for so long.

Part of this has to do with the kind of work I make, which requires travel to places ranging from the Sierra Madres to the north of England to Bavaria to Afghanistan.  And so on.  But I lack the money for the travel and I lack the money for decent camera equipment, so ho hum for now.

I am whining like this because it’s tied in a way to this post’s set of photos, which are aerial views I found on the web and altered substantially but (mostly) minimally via Photoshop.  I am still terrible at using Photoshop, but am slowly learning more week by week because I have a friend here in MKE, a successful art photographer, who probably knows more about Photoshop than the people who designed it.  It’s encyclopedic and kind of scary, actually.  But I’m learning.

The broad takeaway from last week was this: you don’t make a few big changes to a photo in order to improve it, you make a ton of miniscule improvements that are invisible on their own but which add up to images that are really stunning rather than simply interesting and compelling.

As I said, I’m no good at Photoshop though so I decided to make a lot of completely visible edits to images I found on the web.  And they all represent what I don’t have: access to equipment and access to travel.  So, of course, you know, they’re all aerial views that I fiddled with so that they look, moderately, as if they were taken with a large-format camera, which I’ve never even touched and have no interest in at all except for that you can choose what parts of the image are in focus and what’s not.

Some images below.  This is not stuff I would print and exhibit but they will probably lead somewhere.  What I did is more obvious is some places than in others, but each image got substantially worked over in very small ways.

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