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Getting used to glamour: How much retouch?
Old 09-02-2005, 11:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I guess since I come from a very rigorous & formal B&W artistic photography background, much of the contemporary magazine-style glamour photography as shown in GG requires certain adjustments in my pre-existing mindset and requires me to get over some long-standing hangups. For one thing, I just got over a major hurdle and actually bought a digital camera ... it wasn't easy. I feel like I've betrayed my enlarger!

Anyway, I was trained to consider the imperfections of the models body to be part of the attraction of the photo (even to concentrate on the imperfections) This is perhaps because the difference between "nude photography" and "glamour photography" is that nudes are considered to be merely an abstract form and/or the nude image is a metaphor of the underlying humanity of the model rather than the object of desire, but in glamour photography the image is the object, and the model is just there to make a better image. Anyway, I have developed a resistance to manipulating photos and the most I can brind myself to do is toning and spotting. If I do more than that, I actually feel pangs of guilt.

Of course, there used to be a time when vibrating machines were used to retouch negatives -- again by hand -- but only for commercial fashion photography. I also have a collection of 1940s and 50s promotional photos of burlesque dancers with some interesting manipulations such as hand-drawn exaggerated elongated "eyelashes", hand-colored nipples, etc.

Anywho, I guess now that I've bought a digital Rebel XT to supplement my 8x10 and 4x5 B&W photo cameras, and I have actually started considering buying a decent scanner to put my previous work on the web, and I am playing around with photoshop, I should ask the question: how much retouching do you folks do? Do you feel any obligation to keep to the "true" original photo at all, or do you consider the original photo as just a template & something to be developed further with retouching?
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The short answer is YES. . .
Old 09-02-2005, 04:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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and NO. And I'm sure you are going to get the long answer from this forum.
The true answer is what is it you wish to portray then do what it takes to get that image. If what you envision is an image "shopped" to abstraction then who is to say that is wrong. (what am I saying, on this board you will see plenty of everything. . . especially the critics (a few of which actually know what they are talking about)) You've defined your understanding of fine art nude very well:
[ QUOTE ]
I was trained to consider the imperfections of the models body to be part of the attraction of the photo (even to concentrate on the imperfections) This is perhaps because the difference between "nude photography" and "glamour photography" is that nudes are considered to be merely an abstract form and/or the nude image is a metaphor of the underlying humanity of the model rather than the object of desire

[/ QUOTE ]
Now you need to define what you expect from "glamour"
Here you will find glamour as defined as everything from old style Hollywood B&W to Maxim to Playboy/Penthouse nudes to (shudder) tie-em-up, stick a sock in her mouth and hang em from the ceiling stuff. (which I'll never understand but then to me the difference between rap and Pavarotti is the difference between a brutal rape and a sweet seduction)
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Re: Getting used to glamour: How much retouch?
Old 09-03-2005, 09:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You will get different answers from different people, as different people do different things. For example, R. Frederick Smith does a lot of Photoshop manipulation. He's quite good, too. There's a difference between manipulation and retouching. I consider retouching to include evening out skin tones, removing blemishes, eliminating stray hairs, etc. If you're deliberately starting with an image with the intention of really transforming it, then you are manipulating the image and crossing over into the realm of artistic expression.

As far as retouching goes, I think most people are going to tell you that if you can tell that the image has been Photoshopped, then there's been too much Photoshop. I.e. if a model's skin looks plastic or is devoid of all texture, you've probably gone too far. Now, if that's a look your specifically trying to get, tell people you're going for that look. But (personal opinion) great Photoshop work is when you can't tell there's been any Photoshop work.

I personally strive to minimize the amount of time I have to spend in Photoshop doing retouching. I use lighting, diffusion, camera angle, DOF and a good make-up artist as required to get the shot right the first time, because Photoshopping out a blemish or a tattoo in several dozen images takes way too much time.

In the end, the amount of Photoshopping you do is personal preference. Kind of like a recipie that tells you to "season to taste".

-Chip
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Re: Getting used to glamour: How much retouch?
Old 09-03-2005, 11:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Uffff...!

I love the way you think and the way u work!
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