For this week’s Friday Fix Your Sh*t post, I thought I’d try something a little different. Partly it’s due to wanting to break things up, but mostly because we’ve had a lot going on today and I haven’t had time to find the right photo. So instead, I thought I’d start with one of my favorite shots by one of my favorite photographers, Garry Winogrand.
Many of you have seen this photo, especially if you’ve looked at our previous write-up of Winogrand’s work. It’s a shot taken in NYC in 1969 of a couple kissing with the woman and a bystander giving the photographer intense looks. It’s a great photo, and though it could use a bit of contrast added for depth, doesn’t take much. It’s faded, but raising the black levels could fix that.
I’ve done so here while trying not to alter the photo in any other way. Given this is probably a scan of a print, there’s too much noise to allow me to make a clean edit, and the analog camera’s deficient sharpness shows through. I can try to boost the sharpness (and inherently, the grain) via my photo-editing toolkit. Doing so, I end up with something like this:
However, now I’ve entered the realm of altering his aesthetic more so than fixing his shit. So, I may as well go further and channel his inner Robert Frank (whom he revered even though it was an unrequited admiration).
Frank was all about the blacks and whites, rather than grayscale, rich on contrast and emotion and poor on humor. Not a fan.
So, after coming to the conclusion that the original needed much higher contrast paper than it was printed on, but was otherwise okay, I decided to go full bore and see what else I could do. I didn’t finish, having abutted my one-hour self-imposed time limit for everything, but here’s my partial-colored Winogrand. Did I mention that we here at RNA aren’t big monochrome fans? Life is in colour. Get you some.
P.S. We’ve recently secured the url RawStreet.org, so you may see us pop us with some street photography oriented stuff there. If so, it will be dedicated to showing off street shooters’ work, trying to give the talented but unknown rest of us a platform to show off the projects we’re diligently working on.
Just kidding. You didn’t think we’d leave it at that, did you? I’m thinking you might have one or two questions about how I turned the black and white photo to color. If so, the answer to start with is “sepia.” Even though we’re all black and brown and pink and white and yellow and red and rainbow hued, we’re none of those things. In fact, we’re all sort of melanin colored, which varies from light sepia to burnt sepia. So, to start, I turned the image to sepia, evened the tones (with Picasa tools, but any decent photo software will do an automatic color/white balance adjustment), and then saved it. Viola! Everyone is suddenly human-colored, as you see above. That’s all I did. You see them as different because of social norms and the amount of light their various melanin levels absorb, but they are all, as in here, shades of exactly the same color.
The other colors I painted on via Pixlr Editor, which I used online for free here. I did all the contrast work using the free Nik Collection. Yep, I did 100% of this editing using free tools.