Monday, December 15, 2008

The Painted Veil

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Hang on.I was talking to my Dad the other day about my photos. He's been following what I do since he meandered his way onto the grand ol' Intartubes. He made an interesting generational conjecture about women being tattooed. To be short and sweet: he doesn't like it. He's not the first person of his generation and upbringing that I've encountered this opinion of.

I found it rather interesting in all honesty. Not because he doesn't like them, but because in a single generation, he's encountering someone who is the complete opposite of that idea: me. I find tattooed women to be intriguing. Hmm. Let me rephrase that: I find certain tattooed women to be intriguing. Tattoo:  Side AI'm not talking about the college coed that goes into a tattoo parlor on 6th Street to get the classic tribal tramp stamp. Picking an image off the wall has no artistic allure for me.

I'm talking about the woman who goes in with the empyrean idea of allowing ink and thousands of tiny bee stings to color her body in ways that make Michelangelo take a second look. A living canvas of flesh covered in nothing more than a lifetime supply of art. Those are the women of singular photographic attraction.

Something deviant this way comes.Of particular note is Morgan. I shot with her and her friend Natalie two weeks back. Morgan and I didn't really have a plan, other than to shoot something with her gas mask. I wanted to do something different and edgy. That's about the only direction I had. Oh, and tattoos. Morgan has these amazingly detailed tattoos. We ended up doing a significant number of pin-up style photos before and after we played with the gas mask (and a Christmas tree ... how's that for a combination). Natalie joined in on a few and we ended up having a lot of fun with that.

Don't fight ...After Natalie left, I shifted over to doing more artistic shots of Morgan. I wanted to see what I could arrange with the tattoos in order to show off the detail and coloring within. A little post with some cross-processing and I came up with some absolutely stunning photos (like the first one).

One of the things I found after doing the photo shoot was how much better my photographs look when I spend just a bit of time on them in Photoshop. Previously, I tended to stick in Lightroom for 99% of what I did because ... it was easy and I was lazy. In this case, I wanted to see what trouble I could get into by combining Nik Efex and a little bit of skin work.

Oh. My. God.

The Tattoo said The quality of some of my photos increased tenfold. Easily. It was a very pleasant surprise what some work with the healing brush would do (compared to using the spot tool in Lightroom), for example.

I still prefer to do most of my work in Lightroom right now because of the ease of using presets, but my notion on which photos should get some extra work is changing. Spending the time to make some things "stunning", as a friend exclaimed, is worth it.

As mentioned, the models shown are Morgan (with all the tattoos) and Natalie. Playing with the gas mask was definitely the highlight of the evening. Definitely different and edgy.

You may see more of Morgan and Natalie in my flickr stream.

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