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PENTAPRISM N°13 July 2016

INTERVIEW

Nathan

WIRTH

m a g a z i n e reportage

NUNAVUT

A LAND OF TURMOIL BY MICHEL THIBERT


www.pentaprismcommunity.org

pentaprismphcommunity@gmail.com

Pentaprism-showcase

PENTAPRISM MAGAZINE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR TEXT AND PHOTOS PUBLISHED BECAUSE THEY ARE PROPERTY OF THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS. ANY COPY IS FORBIDDEN BY THE LAW.


Welcome to Pentaprism, an online photo-sharing community. We are an international team of passionate photographers and artists that gathered in order to achieve common goals: show to the world great, high quality photographs, present amazing artists, allow new and talented photographers to be seen and recognized. The Pentaprism website is a user-friendly platform that guarantees easy navigation and worry-free photo uploads. We constantly work on the improvements of its interface and content. In order to ensure a high quality of photos presented on our website as well as in the Pentaprism Magazine, our curators carefully screen and assess all photos prior to their publication in our gallery. The Pentaprism Magazine is an extension to our website. We prepare it periodically in order to highlight specific works and to give a deeper insight of the photographers’ visions. The content of the Pentaprism Magazine includes special topic articles, interviews with our featured artists, photo reportages with travel stories and lots of great photographs. We believe that art has a catharsis-like quality and should be available to the masses. Therefore our website and magazine are accessible to everybody free of charge. In addition we do not allow any kind of commercial advertising on our platforms. The Pentaprism team of curators works voluntarily on a non-profit basis. If you wish to support the maintenance and development of the Pentaprism website and magazine, please feel free to make a donation. Your greatly appreciated support will be used exclusively to improve Pentaprism online visibility. Thank you for your visit and support. We hope that you enjoyed our photos and stories! We invite you to visit us again. The Pentaprism Staff


N°13 July 2016

EDITORS: PENTAPRISM STAFF

GRAPHIC DESIGN: ELENA BOVO

COVER PHOTO/INDEX PAGE PHOTO: NATHAN WIRTH


index

6 INTERVIEW WITH NATHAN WIRTH 36 FOCUS ON 54 REPORTAGE: NUNAVUT BY MICHEL THIBERT 90 HIGHLIGHTS 144 SIGNALS FROM THE UNIVERSE OF COLOR BY MARCO OLIVOTTO 154 MEET THE PENTAPRISM STAFF


INTERVIEW

Nathan

WIRTH

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Wirth makes his living teaching English composition at City College of San Francisco. Exhibitions International Symposium for Contemplative Studies, San Diego, CA November 11-13, 2016 Stone Altars (solo show), The Great Highway Gallery, San Francisco, CA September 19, 2015 – October 17, 2015 Marin County Fair, San Rafael, CA, July 1-5, 2015 Golden Camera Awards Exhibition. Kyiv Photography School, Kiev, Ukraine, March 31-April 30, 2015 Golden Camera Awards Exhibition. National Museum of Taras Shevchenko, Kiev, Ukraine, March 27-29, 2015 a slice of silence (solo show), The Great Highway Gallery, San Francisco, CA May 3, 2014 – July 4, 2014 Marin County Fair, San Rafael, CA, July 2-6, 2014 Marin County Fair, San Rafael, CA, July 3-7, 2013 Nathan Wirth is a self-learned photographer who uses a variety of techniques— including long exposure and infrared— to express his unending wonder for the fundamental fact of existence. Wirth focuses on the silences that we can sometimes perceive in between the incessant waves of sound that often dominate our perceptions of the world. Wirth earned both his BA and MA in English Literature from San Francisco State University and brings a deep appreciation of poetry to his explorations of place. Often returning to the same locations, Wirth seeks to explore the silence and the sublimity of those places. Poets such as George Oppen, Seamus Heaney, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, Mary Oliver, and Gary Snyder have played a fundamental role in shaping his attention to the things and places that he photographs. In addition to poetry, Wirth is profoundly influenced by the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, Edward Hopper, and Camille Pissarro and the photography of Michael Kenna, Edward Weston, and Wright Morris. Recently, Wirth has been studying and integrating into his work Japanese traditions of Zen, rock gardens, and calligraphy– as well as the transience, impermanence, and imperfections of wabi-sabi. Wirth’s studies of Zen calligraphy and Zen writings have led him to the practice of trying to achieve, while working on his photography, a mind of no-mind (mu-shin no shin), a mind not preoccupied with emotions and thought, one that can, as freely as possible, simply create.

Awards 2015 — Black and White Spider Awards. Honorable Mention 2015 — Moscow International Foto Awards. First Place, Three Honorable Mentions 2015 — International Photography Awards. Honorable Mentions 2015 — Siena International Photography Awards. Finalist 2015 — Marin County Fair. All-Around Best Print of Show, Two First Place ribbons, Special Landscape Award, Three Honorable Mentions 2015 — PX3. Honorable Mention 2015 — Golden Camera Awards. First Place – Landscape 2014 — Stark Awards. Honorable Mention 2014 — International Photography Awards. Honorable Mentions 2014 — Marin County Fair. 1st Place Ribbon, Honorable Mention 2014 — PX3. Honorable Mention, Collage 2013 — International Photography Awards. Honorable Mention 2013 — Marin County Fair. 2nd Place Ribbon, Monochrome, Honorable Mention 2012 — International Photography Awards, Honorable Mention http://nlwirth.com/

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Hi, Nathan, welcome to this issue of Pentaprism Magazine. We would like to thank you for this interview. You are a versatile and very successful fine art artist and one of the most appreciated photographers on the Internet. Please introduce and tell us something about yourself. My name is Nathan Wirth, and I was born on April 4, 1966 in the American city of San Francisco, where I lived until 2010 after which I moved to Marin County about 25 minutes north of San Francisco. I mostly work with long exposures and infrared and mainly landscapes and seascapes, but my curiosities have taken me into the world of color, the world of the street, the world of architecture and even the occasional pictures of flowers, people, and animals. How would you describe your photographic style, and how has it developed over the years? And how important is post processing for your work? To be honest, I think the best way to describe my photography is to say nothing and let silence fill the room, but I suppose that would not be a very good answer for an interview. That said— since 2009, I have definitely been looking for ways to express a quality of silence in my images. However, this is not a silence that can be heard. At the risk of sounding exceptionally strange and unnecessarily poetic, it is a silence that can only be seen. In the end, my photographic direction stems from the things that I have thought about and studied over the years, which include poetry, literature, paintings, film, music, Zen calligraphy, Zen gardens, and the experience of gazing out into the natural world whether it is a forest, a hilly landscape, or my personal favorite subject, the sea. It is difficult for me to not think poetically when I ponder the landscapes and seascapes that I tend to photograph, but these are very internal, private thoughts, ones that could never really be expressed in an image even if I wanted to express them. Much of my thoughts about the landscape and my relation to it have a lot to do with several quotations from poems, songs, and essays that have profoundly influenced me over the years. First, Emerson famously wrote in his essay Nature, “Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite spaces, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all.” For Emerson, nature was where he could see and connect with God, where he could experience the experience of experiencing nature to its fullest. I do not necessarily feel the same religious connection

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to nature that Emerson felt, but I do feel, when I am truly in the throes of solitude, a sense of a very, very deep connection with my natural surroundings (as if I am only there in spirit and my physical presence simply fades). That particular feeling leads and connects to a quote by the American poet, George Oppen, who wrote in the poem “World, World—“: “The self is no mystery, the mystery is \ That there is something for us to stand on.” Oppen’s words are not about why we exist or what we should do with our existence. He, instead, is expressing absolute wonder that there even is existence, that we even exist at all. This fundamental wonder for simply being is essential to my life, and why I choose to photograph anything. And, finally, I must quote the amazing Canadian poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen who sings in the song “Anthem” that “There is a crack in everything / That is how the light gets in.” I try to find the cracks in all of my images and let the light leak in. I can say much more about these quotations, but I will save such thoughts for the upcoming questions in this interview. Post processing is very, very important to my work, for this is where I can bring out fully the contrasts and tonal qualities that I wish to express. In fact, from my perspective, those contrasts and tones are essential to the mood that I wish to express (in a sense, this is where I further coax the light that leaks in through the cracks of the individual world of each image). I have received a lot of emails from people over the past few years, in which they ask how I go about processing my images. I always respond: by dodging and burning. I am sure many find that answer annoying, but the truth is that I do not have a set process like a very accomplished photographer and processor such as Joel Tjintjelaar or Julia Anna Gospadarou. I don’t even have a set plan. I just “chisel” away at the image and find what it needs while I work on it. I have tried very hard to adapt the approach, the practice, of mu shin no shin (mind of no mind) by, as freely as possible, simply trying to just create in the moment. This kind of free and organic process of discovery has great appeal to me. I must be very honest and say that if I figured everything out and always knew what I was going to get and how to get there then I would likely soon lose all interest in photography. In fact, I just recently overcame a long period of time where I felt uninspired and unable to create anything new or different. Everything was feeling the same, too easy, no challenge, like I was just repeating myself. The unknown, the serendipitous, and the ever-shifting possibilities of photography are what have always been

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most appealing to me. Finally, I also try very hard to process my photos in a way that, hopefully, a viewer is far more interested in the image itself than how I managed to make it that way. I will be honest and say that when I encounter an image that I really connect with, I never wonder how it had been processed. Such concerns would ruin the experience of the image for me. Can you say something about your “labor of love” project “slices of silence”? Please don’t forget to talk about your “essays”. Over the years I have made a lot of friends with many various photographers who share their work on social media. Some I have met in person-- for others I have built friendships from conversations I have had over email and in social media. When I first joined Flickr back in 2008, I was immediately drawn to the many very kind and talented artists who shared their work online—and from them, even if I did not talk to them very much, I learned much. Sometimes I learned by simply looking at images, not because I was trying to figure out how they processed the images, but because I was trying to experience the emotion and drama of the image. From early on, this is what I wanted to be able to do. To make an image that had the potential to connect with someone willing to look at it. Other times I talked to photographers directly and asked questions—all the while making sure that I was never copying what others were doing, always making sure that I was teaching myself and learning from my mistakes and growing. From the beginning, it was essential that I make mistakes, that I do dumb, ill-advised things. And in the midst of that learning process, I became friends with many, many photographers—and from those friendships and from my curiosity about photography— I decided to launch my slices of silence site so that I could conduct interviews with other photographers about their creative process, interviews that were far more personal than the ones we typically find on the Internet. From the beginning, I wanted to share the work that I admired with others who might enjoy it as much as I do. I am always fascinated by how each photographer has a unique approach to his or her work, by his or her unique thoughts about what photography is all about, and by why he or she was first drawn to photography and how they continue to evolve as artists. While the project first began purely as an interview site, I have since branched out into spotlights, specific features, essays and thematic posts. I have

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been determined to make it entirely advertisement free and purely a labor of love. The site is my gift back to the photographic community that I discovered my own voice in, within and from. Everything is designed and edited and chosen by me. Unfortunately, this means that I cannot post as many interviews and features as I would like, but I do not want to surrender artistic control. I want to grow the site slowly and not worry about volume for fear that the site might fall into that abyss of irrelevance that some blogs drown in (such sites being more about clicks and advertisements than offering anything meaningful). As the site grew, I decided to venture out and invite some wellestablished photographers. I have even invited some very, very, very well-known photographers, but most of them have not responded (Michael Kenna has yet to accept any of my attempts to reach out to him!). I have, however, managed to entice several very wellknown artists! I also write the occasional essay myself. I have a lot of ideas that I wish to work out—and the site gives me a forum to explore them. I am currently working on what it neurologically, poetically, psychologically and even spiritually means “to see” and what that has to do with the art of photography. But, alas, I have only so much free time, so it is taking me a while to finish it. So it is in that spirit that I hope people visit. I like to imagine that a photographer, who is thinking about what direction he or she wishes to pursue, might drop by and, while sipping on coffee, tea, wine or port, swim around in the streams of words and images of the site and find an inspirational current that they can follow to their own unique creations and destinations. If I might be allowed to offer a metaphor, I would say the following: I think, in the end, my interviews site and my own photography, are not something you see on the busy, crowded freeway of the Internet, where many, many, many, many, many people have billboards and signs and are shouting at all the traffic on the road: “come see my photography,” “read my tutorial,” “sign up for my workshop,” “see what awards I have won,” “buy my prints,” “come to my blog,” “read my thoughts,” “click my advertisements,” “listen to me rant about this or that,” “read my review of this equipment,” “follow me,” “like me,” etc. I am, instead, one of those quirky, strange and odd shops that you see on a side road somewhere, a road that is far from the freeway, a road that only curious travelers looking for something a little different might end up on. If you are curious, you might stop in my little shop and look at an image of mine or look at and read some images

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and thoughts from one of the many artists that I have interviewed and featured so far. There is a strong, melancholic and eternal atmosphere in your photographs. Would you like to say something about that? I am always fascinated by the different ways that people react to my images. I like that you chose “melancholic” as a way to think about my images. I don’t know if that is the mood that I am striving for, but I do have a deep interest in the melancholic state of mind. Melancholy, unlike grief and regret and overwhelming sadness, is a thoughtful, brooding and contemplative hue of sadness, one that is best expressed in a sigh, one that implies a level of acceptance, one that is reflective, one that is often a single step away from the tender process of beginning to heal. Such things sometime suit my state of mind when I engage the natural world in solitude. But, that said, I am not a sad person. I am not necessarily a “happy” person either. I float somewhere between the two, somewhere between a smile and a thoughtful, lost gaze. I suppose that at the age of fifty I have found a kind of contentment that comes with an acceptance that life is often a struggle. The natural world that I often photograph offers me an escape from the drag and push of daily life. So, I suppose if this is where my mind sometimes go, then it makes sense that my images, at least on some level, have the potential to invoke such feelings. All of that said, I, personally, do not strive to express thoughtful sadness. Rather, I seek to express something contemplative, something that expresses time in flux, each image a slice of seconds and minutes already passed. I often express my belief that since a photograph cannot, by definition, be the actual thing that was photographed, all that I am really doing is slicing off a thin layer of that moment that happened when I was there— thus my tendency to refer to my images as “a slice of silence,” a silence that, once again, I hope can be seen. Working with long exposures, infrared and primarily black and white adds another dimension to that silence, to the tonal quality of the images—or that is what I hope. I don’t know if there is anything eternal in my images. This, of course, does not mean that one cannot see things this way. It’s just that I feel like each of my images is a little preserved slice of time that had already passed as soon as it unfolded, so, in the end, I see all of my images as ephemeral, impermanent, transient. Rocks erode, trees fall, water changes, light fades, tones fade, ink fades, silence fades ... and, of course, I

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will someday fade as well. Could you explain the “behind the camera” of your “the self” project? Funny enough— my very first self-portrait image happened when I had nothing else to place in the frame but the ocean. I remember standing there, during twilight, and thinking about what I should do, what I should photograph. I felt, at that moment, that the ocean and the shoreline would just not be enough to create an image of interest (there were no rocks or other objects to frame in the picture), so I decided to walk forward and stand in the frame (for thirty seconds). As I stood there, I suddenly thought of the following words: “An atheist confronts God.” I don’t really know where those words came from. I am not necessarily an atheist, but I most certainly do not live a life formally engaged in a world that is defined by a supreme entity (my spiritual interests are more or less grounded in Zen). I must admit that I thought the words were exceedingly clever at the time. After all, the idea of an atheist confronting the existence of something that he does not believe in is at least somewhat intriguing. To confront is to defy, to face, to meet, to come upon something that stands in one’s way. I really liked the tension suggested about such a thought—especially that it strongly implies that the atheist is confronting something that he continues not to believe in. To confuse matters even more, as I began to share the images, many people decided that I was creating images which proved either the existence or non-existence of God, and I received many emails from people instructing me about how I should feel or what I should believe in. This was never my intention. Finally, a good friend of mine suggested the title was far too gimmicky, so I soon abandoned the title and shifted all of my intention to the idea of a self-portrait and how the then growing collection of these images reflected two of the quotations I mentioned earlier in this interview. First, the Emerson quotation about the “transparent eyeball” has meant a lot to me for many years. Before I ever started working on long exposure images, in fact all the way back to my childhood, I have always stared out into the sea. As a teen and in my early twenties, I smoked a lot of marijuana and experimented with hallucinogens (more often that I care to admit). I did not do so because I only wanted to party and feel high but because I also was searching for something; I was exploring; I was hoping to find some sense of truth that was more pure than the common reality of

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finding a job and being a good tax-paying consumer of material possessions. I found no truth. In fact, I only found what was already there, but the contemplative state of mind that I had cultivated during those experiences has remained even though it has been a good twenty-four years since I have experimented with or consumed such things. So, again, the Emerson quotation expresses that sense of “being” and “not being” in a landscape—and, perhaps, “being more truthfully there” by letting go of “the sense of being there.” This, for me, manifests itself most purely in those moments when I find myself lost in the landscape—and these self-portraits are, for me, very much an expression of such things. Others, however, see them in very different ways, but I will talk about that momentarily. The George Oppen quotation also plays an essential role in how I have crafted these images. I have purposefully chosen to keep myself very small in the image (which is especially interesting because I am a very tall person). The landscape dominates each image and my presence, while seen, is almost secondary to the light, the contrasts, the rocks, the clouds, the water, etc. Oppen, as I said before, was expressing an absolute wonder for the fact that one even exists, that anything exists. This is very prominent in my mind. Of course, I cannot and I do not expect anyone to see this in these images. But these things—along with my preoccupation with trying to express a quality of silence that can be seen—are always in the forefront of my mind. I am forever fascinated by the fact that many people see my self-portraits and assume that since I am standing alone in the landscape that I must be very, very lonely—even filled with despair—all of my effort to express a sense of contemplative solitude understood, instead, as a person who just wants to be loved. I have learned a very important lesson from this. No matter how much I might wish others to see or understand what I see and understand, everyone is going to bring themselves to the images they encounter. This is unavoidable. We know that you earned both your Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English Literature. And you are teaching English composition in your “normal” life. Does this point of view have an influence on your artistic and philosophical approach? Composing a piece of writing and composing an image are remarkably similar and incredibly different. Both can be incredibly artistic; both can be simply practical. Both can be very structured or very experi-

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mental and free form. Interestingly, because my job as a community college instructor is to teach students how to formally organize their thoughts, I find writing much easier to teach than photography. Photography, the kind I am interested in, is bound to experimenting, to expressing an individual voice. I rarely offer any real photographic advice to anyone. For me, photography is far too personal, far too connected to the individual, for me to really interfere. I am entirely self-learned. I have read a few tutorials and watched a couple of videos, but I have primarily figured out everything on my own “by doing� and by making a lot of mistakes. I figured out how to do long exposures entirely on my own (I did, early on, get some advice from a couple of people about what filters to purchase). So when I try to guide or suggest things to someone, I often feel a bit weird because I know that the true path to finding a photographic voice is best found (and, perhaps, only found) by the individual. I recently spent some time with a friend, who is also a writing student of mine, and tried to make some suggestions about how one might understand the experience of seeing and then how that might lead to what one chooses to compose. She was very kind and listened to me, but I learned, in that moment, that I was only showing her how I think about things and not letting her find her own interest and expression. Indeed, when it comes to creative expression, I have come to believe that the individual must find her or his own path. The same goes for writing. Even though my job as a writing composition teacher is to guide a student to think for him or herself, my job is to also offer the plumbing behind a well-structured sentence and paragraph and the overall structure of an essay and not to tell a student how to think or how to convey his or her ideas. I, however, still make that mistake sometimes. So what is the point of all of this? I suppose my point is that I believe each individual must learn the necessary skills and tools to help him or her express his or her own unique voice, whether they are writing or photographing something. Finally, I cannot help but notice that, in the end, the ability to do such comes with practice; it comes from making terrible and foolish mistakes; it comes from periods of frustration; it comes from having the willingness to accept failure and to continue anyway. My studies in English literature, especially my study of European and American poetry, play a very, very prominent role in how I compose and think and create. In part, I am a photographer because I cannot draw and paint—and because I am, and it has been

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very hard for me to admit this, a failed poet. But just because I do not have the natural knack for writing poetry, does not mean that I cannot take what I learned from reading and formally studying poetry and use it to shape my image-making around the most important element of any image: the subject itself. I tend to keep my compositions minimal because I want to focus intensely on those things. In the end, every image is a slice of the original thing. A photo of a rock will always be a photo of a rock (bearing in mind that the image of anything can, by definition, never be the thing itself ). Yet … by framing the light and the objects in the way that I do, I am hoping that I can create something dramatic, something moody, something that due to its potential ambiguity hints at other things. I am wise enough to know that I have no real control over how others might experience such things, but I do make a conscious effort to infuse my images with such sensibilities. If you were stranded on an island, and you could have one camera, one lens, one filter, one tripod, two books, and ten CDs, what would they be and why? I have never really cared about the camera I use— all I have ever done is buy the one that I can more or less afford and then run it into the ground and then buy another one. I would like a wide angle lens (17-35 will do). The majority of my work has been created with a very wide angle lens, and I would want to continue to explore minimalism. I would prefer a Lee Big Stopper for my filter. I have been using Lee’s filters for years and this is the one that I continually use the most (though I would be very fearful that I might drop and break it; I am assuming that I cannot have another filter shipped to my lonely, exiled life on the island). Any tripod will do (in fact, maybe I would trade the tripod in for a fishing pole so that I could catch something to eat. I will have a lot of time so I imagine I could build a rudimentary tripod out of some sticks). For the two books, I would choose Cervantes’ Don Quixote and Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov because I have always wanted to read both and I would finally have the time to do so. For the ten discs, I choose (1) Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, (2) Gorecki’s Third Symphony, (3) Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, (4) Beethoven’s complete symphonies conducted by Leonard Bernstein (5) Neil Young’s On the Beach (6) The Grateful Dead’s Live Dead (7) Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks (8) Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers’ Moanin’ (9) Leonard Cohen’s Live in London (10) and, finally, some dance

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music so that I could do some wild and crazy interpretive dances on the beach (I might even invite a palm branch to join me, and, who knows, maybe I would finally learn how to dance and not look like an absolute fool). Thank you very much Nathan for this exclusive interview. Is there anything else you wish to add? And do you have a message for Pentaprism members? I would very much like to thank Pentaprism for creating a place where so many incredibly talented artists can post their best work. You guys do an amazing job curating the site. Every image on the site is worth gazing at. I, of course, am very grateful that my work has been included on the site, but my favorite part of my experience with Pentaprism is taking the time to savor all those amazingly beautiful images from so many great artists. I first became interested in photography because I loved the work of others—and this has never changed. Secondly, thank you for the opportunity to share some of my images and some of my thoughts in this interview. I don’t really have a message for the members of Pentaprism other than my admiration and thanks for all of their great work!

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F O C U S O N

D a s h a &

M A R I


DASHA & MARI

Professional Photographers, twin sisters from Kiev, Ukraine. Specialized in Fashion, Beauty, Advertising and Art Photography. Work internationally. Realize original Projects for Designers, Fashion Magazines and Galleries in France, Italy, Germany, UK and the US. Photography - reflection of reality through subconscious. A story, novel, situation, instant or specific mood...a short life. Each work contains a certain point for perception, feeling and insight. Psychology. Story line. Currently working on a new project ‘Eye Contact’ which is going to be a part of the personal Book ‘ICON’. HONORS & AWARDS FASHION 2ND PLACE WINNER (PROFESSIONAL), FAPA 2016 FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS. Photography Exhibition at SALONE DEL MOBILE 2016 - Milan, Italy. Exhibition at The ART BOWL GALLERY. Nominees in Fashion, 10th Annual Black & White Spider Awards 2015, Beverly Hills, CA. Finalists of the Hasselblad Masters Awards 2014 8th Annual International Color Awards , Beverly Hills, CA - Nominee in Fashion category. Sony World Photography Awards - Shortlisted in the Fashion category 2012, London, United Kingdom. Solo Exhibition in Russia 2011. www.dashamari.com

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At dawn fighting| Antino Cervigni


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European Bee-eater | Antino Cervigni


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F O C U S O N

Carlos F. TURIENZO

I’m a 35 years old self-taught spanish photographer based in La Coruña who loves to capture the beauty of nature either day or night. I started getting into photography in my very first journeys, I loved pointing at everything and shooting with my compact camera. The hobby became more serious when I bought my first reflex 8 years ago and since then I’m chasing the perfect light and trying to improve my editing skills. My photos have been awarded all over the world in many photo contest such as the Epson International Pano Awards, Trierenberg Super Circuit, Panobook, IPA Awards... My work has also been published in different magazines and used by several commercial brands. http://carlosfturienzo.com/en/

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F O C U S O N

S h e r r y

AKRAMI


SHERRY AKRAMI

I am Iranian and I was born in Bangkok, Thailand in 1975. I lived 5 years of my childhood in Madrid, Spain and later on moved back to Tehran, Iran where I am currently residing. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Photography and a Master’s degree in Animation both from the Art University of Tehran. After finishing my university studies I have been mainly active in the field of Animation, but I always had a passion for photography and in the past two years I have had the chance to again pursue photography more seriously. My preferred photography styles are Creative Editing and Conceptual, which started after first being introduced to Jerry Uelsmann’s works. I do all my post processing with Photoshop and having worked in the dark room, I do appreciate the advantages that Photoshop offers for the creative process. I get my inspirations from the fantasy books that I enjoy reading, the places I visit and the pictures that I shoot. I prefer processing my work in monochrome as I think it enhances the elements of fantasy.

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michel THIBERT Through his photographic signature, Michel Thibert invites the viewer to experience, with him, areas that one may otherwise never see. His use of vanishing points allows us to ‘enter’ nature, not physically but emotionally. This pushes us to go further in a shared perspective. Michel’s work will carry you in a tumult of: impressions, fields, mountains, rivers and clouds. He strives to find, feel and capture the essence of the products of creation. Also, motivating us as the viewers to recreate our own paths of discovery. Perhaps Michel’s images will help your journey and fill your environments with some of ‘The Beauty Rediscovered’. Michel started taking photos at the age of 15, perfecting the techniques while developing an eye for framing and the management of light. By 1973, he had already worked professionally for over five years in the field of communications and video production (commercial and series). Thereafter, for the following thirty-five years, he worked in business development.

Now at 58 years old, he works as a pilot in command between Quebec City and the Canadian Arctic. Photography has always captured Michel’s attention and is becoming his preferred way to communicate his vision of the world. This is a shared experience with the people Michel meets and the landscape that inspires his art. He first perfected the techniques and personal style directly from the cockpit, sometimes using panoramic views in relation to the magnitude of the scene. One of his intentions is to take the standard aerial view people are accustomed and give it an aesthetic created with intent, something more, that moves it away from being just a documentation of the area.

http://thibertportfolio.com/

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reportage

nunavut A LAND OF TURMOIL BY MICHEL THIBERT

In the last two years, Michel’s perspective has been transformed from a descriptive one to an evocation of his feeling that help him to understand his reality. Michel’s preferred routes and shooting locations bring alive the last few remote areas on our planet, feeding off the sense that few of us have ever been there. From the rainforests of Costa Rica to the small villages of the Canadian Arctic, Michel choses angles with social issues that are currently having impacts on people and nature. From the 2012 season, He has shown a greater number of land scenes. Sometimes the images may reflect positions of the white colonizers from the south. It is, however, in discussions with his ‘brothers’ from Nunavut that he connects and understands more on the planet and himself. Even though portrait is a minority part of his body of work, the human presence is not completely absent. Michel’s photographs reflect a story, to capture a given moment. The image of these beings, living in very harsh conditions generates perpetual recognition. Finally, some of the images can be viewed as critical of certain policies and positions of society ‘’and to serve those who suffer history’’ (Albert Camus). As master of inter-ethnic exchanges and understanding, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, is a guide and inspiration to Michel as he illuminates many others with his implications and imaginative projects. He improve his techniques by studying the concepts and teachings of master photographers: Ansel Adams for the zoning system, Michael Freeman for his philosophy on the art of photography and finally, the relevance of the lines and the use of contrasts in photography so called Fine Art with Michael Levin. Michel’s team is composed of two digital image retouching certified experts and one part time field assistant. We hope the sharing of his art through pictures will bring you the light that accompanies Michel Thibert’s shooting.

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MICHEL THIBERT

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MICHEL THIBERT

LIVING SCHIST Whale Cove has a unique costal shape caught between two hamlets in the Hudson Bay. Even the strongest structures have faults.

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MICHEL THIBERT

MUTUAL HAPPINESS & ENJOYMENTS. Arctic Bay’ s musher.

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MICHEL THIBERT

Enjoyments of: land, snow, efforts, & deep horizons. A unique period that is renew each year in the race season…that is for a few generations of dogs and mushers!

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MICHEL THIBERT

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MICHEL THIBERT

SCAR FOR THE INHABITANTS AND ITS LAND James Bay west coast close to Coral Harbour in full march winter. Wind, climate, rocks. white colonisation, promises, humans weakness have ALL produce scars.

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BIRD OF PEACE Close to Arviat when going for Whale Cove, the two communities share between families peace for centuries. A constant flux of emotions that has to be intentional within the community and with visiting spirits.


MICHEL THIBERT

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MICHEL THIBERT

I SEE YOU South of Eureka weather station, are those two eyes. Geomorphology or spirits of the North. More than a point of view.

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MICHEL THIBERT

NO MERCY Only the strongest ones survives. And its NOT about True North geography. Was the dog dead before he froze or the opposite? Ruthless environment, fascination of a Lifetime.

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MICHEL THIBERT

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MICHEL THIBERT

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MICHEL THIBERT

NEXT FOUR MONTHS Captured between Grise Fiord, in the back of the airplane, and Pond Inlet due south in the front. Southern populations just can’t live their way in total darkness for a few months. The 130 inhabitants of Grise Fiord hamlet will be living In the dark for the next four months. Just try a day or two.

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MICHEL THIBERT

COMMA ISLAND South of the town of Arviat, we can feel that the sun is full of hope for our skin and soul. It all began with water and deep horizons. Between clouds, the sun made us a promise.

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MICHEL THIBERT

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MICHEL THIBERT

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MICHEL THIBERT

FOUR BROTHERS May has brought back those four brothers / icebergs in Qikiqtarjuaq. Family support within the proximity of living together in this boundless environment.

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MICHEL THIBERT

TIME RIPPLES This Icelandic construction is also observed in Pond Inlet Nunavut. 1800 Km apart in two continents. Only time will reveal the new physical shelters of True North.

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MICHEL THIBERT

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MICHEL THIBERT

KHMU lady in Vang Vanh Village, carries the biggest coconut I have ever seen up a rickety old staircase. 76 PENTAPRISM


MICHEL THIBERT

ISLAND IN THE SKY Eureka weather station is located in 80 degrees North. It’s a unique micro-climate with this unique moment of calm. Some will express that they feel like an island in the sky.

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MICHEL THIBERT

SHARING THE ESSENCE OF OUR DNA In one of the many falls of Iceland the Goรฐafoss fall have been calling humans for centuries. Sharing the essentials.

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MICHEL THIBERT

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MICHEL THIBERT

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MICHEL THIBERT

BORN TO BE WILD, BORN TO BE ICELANDIC HORSES Iceland in the vast region of the south west of Akureyri. REAL Friendship is vastly non-human pack.

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MICHEL THIBERT

CYAN QUEST In Pond Inlet, for the last 5 years, the Community is enjoying a different iceberg. More than a piece of frozen ice, this Majesty represents a statement of True North and a reason for a Sunday family’s trip around the Village.

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MICHEL THIBERT

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MICHEL THIBERT

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MICHEL THIBERT

EQUILIBRIUM Personally, this capture is a living statement about all the elements of my True North. An objective that is granted to the passive observer and not attain by their passiveness.

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MICHEL THIBERT

TOWERING In the sring 2013, Pond Inlet was having a Sun Festival. Just before the Midnight Sun.

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MICHEL THIBERT

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MICHEL THIBERT

EMBRACING RIPPLES Also called Repulse Bay, Naujaat. The True North’s environment transformed our being human.

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MICHEL THIBERT

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HIGHLIGHTS

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Ophelia | Olga Shpak


The Light | Les Forrester


Meisje met konijn | Gemmy Woud-Binnendijk

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MS Dr. Ingrid Wengler Berlin, Germany 2016 | Philipp Dase


Close encounters | Michiel Hageman

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Munich subway | Klaus Lenzen

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Dinner | Gabriele Tenhagen-Schmitz


Stadtbibliothek, Stuttgart - November 2014 | Achim Katzberg


Isis | Carine Belzon

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Channel Entrance | Mats Reslow

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Learn From Master | Aleksander Mogilo

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Urban Vision | Giovanni Paolini


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Vitamin A | Maria Frodl

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Telefon | Enrico Finotti Re


Jane | Julia Prestige

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Urban Jungle | Victor Borst


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Yellow road | Adhemar Duro


We built it for ourselves | Milad Safabakhsh

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Untitled | Dorota Rogiewicz

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Among the worlds | Eugene Reno


Untitled | Fabio Vittorelli

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Haunted house | Tomorca


Fighting for the best Position | Susanne Behr


Fishing | Sergey Smirnov

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Peek a boo | Christopher Schlaf


Tower 185 and Pollux | Wolfgang Mothes


m a r c o OLIVOTTO PHOTOSHOP | COLOR CORRECTION | POST-PRODUCTION | DIGITAL IMAGING | PHOTOGRAPHY

Dan Margulis, who invented color correction in Photoshop, has called him a renaissance man because of his eclecticism. Classical studies, a degree in Physics, two years’ work in the field of system management (University of Trento). He then becomes an independent sound engineer and music producer for almost twenty years. Finally, he gets (back) to the field of imaging, a passion he’s had since he was a child. In 2007 he discovers Dan Margulis’ books on color correction and starts studying with him. He attends both the ACT (Applied Color Theory) and AACT (Advanced Applied Color Theory) classes. Through the years he has taught in several private and public schools (computer science, recording techniques, programming languages). In 2011 he starts teaching color correction techniques in Photoshop, still relatively unknown in Italy. His forty hours of video-courses published by the leading Italian company Teacher-in-a-Box currently represent the most organic and global resource on the subject available in Italian. In March 2011 he organises the first Color Correction Campus, a full-immersion, two-day practical course. The Campus is repeated all over Italy and soon a community of students and followers is born (1700 subscribers, September 2014). The community is very active in sharing techniques, suggestions and information through the Web. The two-day courses are joined by one-day workshops, both for independent organizations and large trade shows like Photoshow (2012, 2013) and Grafitalia (2013). In 2014 he becomes a FESPA speaker at the FESPA Digital trade show in München (D), where he delivers six different seminars over four days. Since 2013 he’s been writing for the Italian magazine Fotografia Reflex, which hosts a monthly section about color correction. This is currently the only resource on the subject with a fixed cadence in Italy. He has taught for the most important graphic and design schools in Italy: IDP (Verona), IUSVE (Venice), ILAS (Naples), NAD School (Naples), Scuola Romana di Fotografia (Rome). He is currently in charge of the college-level courses of Photography, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign at IDP in Verona; Photoshop at IUSVE in Venice (Verona section); Quality Control of the Printing Process at the Institute of Higher Education Artigianelli (Trento). In his spare time he loves traveling, taking photographs, staying with friends away from the crowd and he prefers a book to television. When they call him an expert in digital color he thinks that he’ll never be able to reproduce the dark and deep light in his son’s eyes. He lives in Nogaredo, in the hills near Rovereto (TN), where he was born on January 27th, 1965.

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Signals from the universe of color BY MARCO OLIVOTTO The CONTRAST conundrum

Let’s pretend that color photography doesn’t exist, and let’s stick to black and white. To be honest, the attribute “black and white” is a mistake if taken too literally: we would be better off talking about “grayscale photography”. Have a look at figure 1 to see an example of true black and white: I bet that unless you’re into an of Andy Warhol kind of trip, you won’t find it too attractive. The problem is, you won’t probably fall in love with figure 2, either. It looks flat, washed out, inexpressive and ultimately dull. You may also wonder who in hell did the postproduction of this photograph and messed up the, well, contrast.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

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MARCO OLIVOTTO |T h e a r t o f a r b i t r a r y COLOR

Fig. 3

The reply is: nobody. What you see 2 is a straightforward scan from a film which my father developed some 50 years ago. As we pass by, let me introduce you to my grand-grandmother Maria, who died before I was old enough to remember her. Even my grand-grandma would easily agree on one of the most important principles of photography, which is also one of the most overlooked: every photograph has a darkest and a lightest point. One may argue that if we take a picture of a flat white wall this is a bit nonsensical, and in principle the observation is correct. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to call such a picture

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a “photograph” in the usual sense: it would be a very peculiar image, to say the least. If you’re picky about words, you may simply say that in the vast majority of cases a photograph has a darkest and a lightest point. I’d push that further and substitute the word “point” with “area”, in order to avoid the mistake to assimilate that “point” to a single pixel. These two areas are so important that they have a codename: we called them shadow and highlight respectively. In order to make these concepts work, we need to add a tiny but very important request: that


MARCO OLIVOTTO |T h e a r t o f a r b i t r a r y COLOR

the shadow and highlight be significant, as well as dark and light respectively. Significant means that they should still carry detail, texture and information in spite of being either very dark or very light. If you point your camera at the sunset and take a picture of the landscape including the sun, there is little doubt about which area will be the lightest: the light of our local star is so much brighter than anything else, that it will invariably clip the image. In technical terms, it will push the pixels into absolute white: 255R 255G 255B in RGB (or, if you’re into the funny Lightroom readings, 100% in each single channel). Nothing can

get any lighter than this, of course, but the truth is that such area is not significant. There is neither texture nor detail in the sun, so a paradox emerges: it doesn’t qualify as a highlight, if we take our restriction into account. The same goes for areas which are far too dark to contain any detail. If you take a picture of a deep dark cavern in the middle of a mountain, chances are that no light at all will emerge from its depths. It makes sense to state that 0R 0G 0B, RGB black, is a correct value for it: if there’s nothing to see, then black is the color, and

Fig. 4

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MARCO OLIVOTTO |T h e a r t o f a r b i t r a r y COLOR

nothing can get any darker than pure black. Again, though, this is not a proper shadow: if it doesn’t carry any detail, then it isn’t significant. Back to my grand-grandmother, then. Where do we find the shadow and highlight? A quick visual examination suggests that the former should lie somewhere under the collar, and the latter on the forehead. But can we be sure? There is also a little hidden joke in the image: I guess that the absolutely darkest area is the blurred dark blob in the background. It certainly competes with the darkest spots under the collar and probably would even win a contest for darkness, if we

Fig. 5

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start one. Yet it is irrelevant: as a blurred blob, it carries no useful information for us. It’s a background, and it could be anything. Curiously, I’ve long thought that it was a tree of some sort – but I’ve recently discovered I was wrong when I found a different picture taken in the same session. What you see behind the lady is a backdrop of cloth, probably used to give the illusion that “something” was behind her. Yet this is totally irrelevant: no useful information for the photograph is contained therein, so we can ignore it completely and still feel light-hearted. At this point, it is obvious that the true shadow lives somewhere under the collar. In case we need to nail it down with precision, there’s


MARCO OLIVOTTO |T h e a r t o f a r b i t r a r y COLOR

Fig. 6

a useful adjustment in Photoshop which comes to rescue. I also have a suggestion that many will find surprising: do not look at the histogram. In case you’re so addicted to it that you can’t do without, please don’t give it a weight it doesn’t really deserve. The adjustment we need is called Threshold. Figure 3 shows how it works: my suggestion is to launch it as an adjustment layer. It only has one cursor, whose values go from 1 to 255. These numbers are connected to luminosity, a generic term indeed. There is a rather easy formula which can be used to compute luminos-

ity in RGB – that is, how dark or light a given pixel is. It is based on a mix of channel values, described roughly by the formula 0.3R + 0.6G + 0.1B. The coefficients are a bit different, but the key point is that their sum yields one (as in 0.3 + 0.6 + 0.1 = 1.0). In a grayscale picture, all the channels are equal, but in a color picture they are not. Whatever the case, the sum of the coefficient being 1, and the values of each channel contained in the interval between 0 and 255, guarantee that luminosity can’t be either smaller than 0 (i.e. negative) or greater than 255.

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MARCO OLIVOTTO |T h e a r t o f a r b i t r a r y COLOR

shall remain) lies under the collar. Then (figure 5) we go hunting for highlight by dragging the slider to the right: only the lightest areas remain white, and since we’re looking at some extended area, we decide that our candidate zone for the highlight lies on the forehead. One may object that it is very difficult to recognize what these areas represent, but there’s a workaround: if you wish, you may set the opacity of the Threshold adjustment layer somewhere around 50%. This will let the picture show through while still maintaining the effect of the adjustment. It is very wise to drop a couple of color samplers in the areas we wish to use as shadow and highlights. This can be accomplished with the Color Sampler tool, but also with the Eyedropper tool, which will temporary change its function to Color Sampler if we press Shift while clicking.

Fig. 7

The Threshold adjustment works like this: it looks at a pixel, computes its luminosity and compares it with the value set by the slider (aptly called “threshold value”). The default, seen in figure 3, is 128. If the luminosity of the pixel is smaller than or equal to the threshold value, the pixel is set to black; otherwise it is set to white. In practice, the black areas in figure 3 represent the pixels whose luminosity is smaller than or equal to 128; the white areas represent the pixels whose luminosity is larger than 128. If the slider is set otherwise, the distribution of these areas will change accordingly. Figures 4 and 5 put the slider to work so that we can easily isolate the shadow and highlight of the picture. In figure 4 the slider was dragged to the left until only the darkest areas remain black: anything else is white, which means that the black areas are the darkest in the picture. We discover that there are two candidate areas: one in the background, one under the collar – as we suspected. We’ve already discussed why the background area can be neglected, and we decide that our shadow (where some texture and variation

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Figure 6 shows a screenshot of the image with the two color samplers (the arrows were added to make it easier to see them). #1 is the shadow, #2 is the highlight. In the Info panel these two samplers are listed with the RGB values which lie under them. Actually, the readout is not strictly the value of a single pixel: my setting for the Eyedropper tool is that an area of 5x5 pixels must be averaged and sampled/read, rather than a single point. This influences the reading of any color sampler. The two readings are 30R 30G 30B and 194R 194G 194B: not quite black and white, respectively. In the shadow, we are 30 points above the deepest black available in RGB; in the highlight, we are 61 points below the brightest white. There is a well-known command called Auto Levels which will improve this: go Image → Auto Levels and you’ll get figure 7. The two points now measure 1R 1G 1B and 249R 249G 249B respectively. Not yet the minimum and maximum, but the difference is blatant. Anyone would describe figure 7 as having more contrast than the original, figure 2. The formal definition of contrast is not so simple, and there are different formulas trying to describe the same phenomenon. To me, at street-level, contrast is what happens between shadow and highlight: that is, it’s how the image changes when we distribute its levels of gray between two extreme points. Auto Levels does a decent work, and I am ready to bet


MARCO OLIVOTTO |T h e a r t o f a r b i t r a r y COLOR

Fig. 8

that anyone would pick figure 8 over figure 2, when asked to choose one. This is artificial intelligence at work, indeed: Photoshop scans the pixels, finds the darkest one and pushes it into complete darkness, then finds the lightest one and pushes it into clipping. All the rest in between follows. But is this the best version we can obtain? The limitation of Photoshop is that artificial intelligence is brilliant to some extent, but utterly stupid if compared to human intelligence. We immediately spot a face in the picture, and that is what we want to

enhance, period. Photoshop has no idea at all whether that’s my grand-grandma, a statue, an exploding chipmunk or a graph representing the distribution of the votes which led to Brexit. We are not at all interested in the background, we are not interested in the garment: it’s the expression of grand-grandma that makes the photography – not anything else. For Photoshop, that is: pixels, with no meaning. It only knows the numbers, not the shapes or expressions we see. In this case, we are lucky, because the three aforementioned areas are quite separate in terms of luminos-

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MARCO OLIVOTTO |T h e a r t o f a r b i t r a r y COLOR

ity. On the average, the face is the lightest; the background is the darkest; the garment lies somewhere in between. This means that we can enhance contrast in the most relevant area (the face) with a curve made to enhance it in the light parts of the picture – let’s say between midtone and highlight. The more or less official division of tonal areas goes like this: shadow, three-quartertone, midtone, quartertone, highlight. This is, of course, from darkest to lightest. There is no fixed border between these areas: midtone is not 128 in each channel, but somewhere

Fig. 9

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around that value. If we’re going to use a curve, we first need to set its endpoints. In the case of this picture (figure 2) we need to make the shadow darker and the highlight lighter, but I would refrain from going straight to 0 and 255 respectively. Two conservative values for shadow and highlight are 10R 10G 10B and 245R 245G 245B, but the sky won’t fall down if we push them a bit further, say 5R 5G 5B and 250R 250G 250B. The reason why we don’t want to plug the shadow and clip the highlight is that it is sensible to keep a margin of intervention for


MARCO OLIVOTTO |T h e a r t o f a r b i t r a r y COLOR

further operations, in case we need it. Also, it has an advantage when we want to print our photographs: printers usually have a narrower dynamic range than a monitor, and keeping the blacks a bit lighter and the whites a bit darker may help. Figure 8 shows what we need to do. After creating a Curves adjustment layer, we move the leftmost and rightmost points of the curve inward, until the readings for the Color samplers in the Info panel are what we need. Notice that the values are now double: on the left of the slash symbol, the original readout; on the right, the one after the curve has been applied.

not be the best choice for a color photograph, and in some cases we need to intervene on each single curve to remove a cast or give a particular nuance of color to a certain area. The principle is identical, though, and we may apply it to any kind of photograph. The discussion on which color the shadow and highlight should have would bring us too far, so we’ll stop here for now – but we’ll be back on the subject someday soon. Again, and ‘til the next time, godspeed you!

This is very similar to what Auto Levels would do: no analysis of the image is involved, except for the one we used to identify shadow and highlight. Yet we can enable the tiny instrument available in the Curves panel (the one with the icon of a pointing finger) and explore the image: a small circle will start gliding up and down the curve, accordingly to the luminosity we are reading. Light parts will fall in the upper section of the curve, dark parts will fall in the lower section. The trick we need is to make the curve steeper in the areas we want to enhance. This is a fundamental principle of color correction, and digital imaging in general: the steeper the curve, the more the contrast – as Dan Margulis put it. We want to enhance the face, which lies above the midtones, whereas the garment falls largely below. The result is visible in figure 9: the face has a lot more contrast than in the previous version, because it falls in the area of the curve made steeper by the point we inserted. At the same time, the lower part of the curve is flatter, and the garment will lose contrast: it’s give and take, and there’s no free lunch – unless we have a completely dull original like that in figure 2 where we can (and must) drag the extreme points inward. Where to stop? This is largely an aesthetic decision. We may want a very harsh black and white, so we will have a serious go at the mid-point, which will be dragged down a lot; or we may want a softer version, so we will be more delicate in moving the mid-point. Notice that we used the master RGB curve because, in a grayscale photograph, the channels are identical. The master RGB curve is 100% equivalent to a set of three identical curves, each performed on a channel, so it’s a lot quicker to use. Mind you, though: this may

www.marcoolivotto.com www.moonphotoshop.com marco@marcoolivotto.com

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MEET THE

Pentaprism

STAFF


dennis RAMOS

Dennis Ramos is an international award winning fine art photographer born in Manila Philippines. He migrated to United States after completing a degree in medical science. His love and passion for digital photography started with artistic portraiture using mixed lighting. His fascination with the light led him to explore and experiment other forms of photography that eventually evolved into fine art landscape. To this date, you will find him exploring light through architectural landscape and seascape. www.dennis-ramos.com

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DENNIS RAMOS

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DENNIS RAMOS

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Spring | Bernd Walz


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t o n i PFAFFENBAUER

I am a wildlife photographer from Vienna, Austria. I have started to photograph wildlife and landscape, but in recent years I have focused on just two main projects. One is to study and photograph brown bears in Kamchatka (Russia), spending time throughout the year in their habitat, documenting these very unique animals. The other project is documenting the survival of musk oxen in the harsh environment of scandinavia’s cold winters, along with some landscape photography. Especially for people not being outdoors too often, I would like to present and share a fascinating and breathtaking part of nature. Furthermore I really appreciate being far away from industrialisation, enjoying nature for myself and absorbing the beauty and diversity of our wilderness. www.travelphotography.at


TONI PFAFFENBAUER

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TONI PFAFFENBAUER

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TONI PFAFFENBAUER

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TONI PFAFFENBAUER

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IN THE NEXT ISSUE INTERVIEW WITH

ARIADNA BELKINA

Pentaprism Magazine #13  
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