Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fashion in Photography..not Fashion Photography....

Having been a retailer for many years I am constantly aware of fashion and trends, even extending beyond the clothing business...and, I have been noticing a trend or fashion in contemporary photography....I don't know that it has a name, but the use of layers, textures and layer applications has really become a "Fashion" in photography. It's been around for a long time and you can still buy texture screens for developing with 35 mm slides in the enlarger from Paterson Photographic, but it has really taken off again with I-phone apps and free shared textures on Flicker and textures also sold on line in software bundles, etc. Mostly, it seems to impart an aged looked to images.
     I wonder if there is some desire to escape from today's tack sharp digital imaging. Does the trend indicate the desire for aged films and textures, and grains of the past in the photographic evolution cycle? The current trend does make our images look some what aged, or antiqued: Like furniture, old books and 2nd hand clothing. Don't get me wrong I am not saying it is bad, in fact I like the look too. Just making an observation, with my certain perspective on the trend.
     So I made this image today with that trend in mind as I was doing some file management. The original image was a straight shot on the beach of the unattended fishing rod in the sand, in early morning light with some pretty good surf. I collect textures when I am out shooting, only they are images I have shot from "subjects" that I anticipate might make a nice overlay or texture for an image overlay,  such as mossy rocks, concrete, raindrops etc. (Actually I got this idea, keeping and shooting textures, from Ferrell McCullough a tremendous photographer and an early user of the technique. I had admired Barbara Kile's flower images also using texture overlays a year ago, and of course the master of overlays Tony Sweet, who has now really gotten into the IPhone apps overlays and has been using overlays from Totally Rad for quite some time, among other textures and his own shots as well.
     So I went to my texture file and grabbed a mossy rock, did some opacity adjustments to get the texture where I wanted it and then overlaid it in PS, changing the blend mode until I landed on one I liked for this set of images. Then I applied a fill layer of black at 50% in dissolve mode to get some more texture and reduced the opacity on that layer. After that I applied a vignette using the rectangular marquee tool and refined the edge until I had the look I wanted. I then made some color adjustments going for the old postcard hand colored look. Then I went one step further and ran the image through snapart2 using the pencil filter, and made some adjustments there to get the image presented here. My rendition on the textured, layered, aged image trend I see today in so many interesting fun images! Hooray for fashion and trends! Whats next?


  1. Well said Karen and a nice image to back it all up...totally agree on the paradigm shift in image making....for once I feel a bit ahead of the curve...spent a week with Tony (as you know) and he is certainly on top of his overlay texture moves...I enjoyed spending time with him - we traded a bunch of ideas and shot iphone all around should have seen the looks....matter of fact I am going down to visit with him for a day next week to continue the dialog. I am very interested in adding some textures into my workflow....all the best

  2. Thanks Harry, that should be fun working with Tony on the Iphone and images, he is always inspiring and full of amazing ideas!