Photography Inspiration

Manipulated photography

Faking It Exhibition: Manipulated Photography before Photoshop

In our digital communication age, everyone knows Photoshop. Even the Oxford and Mirriam-Webster dictionaries have come to define Photoshop as a verb:

transitive verb, often capitalized\?f?-(?)t?-?shäp\
Definition of PHOTOSHOP
: to alter (a digital image) with Photoshop software or other image-editing software especially in a way that distorts reality (as for deliberately deceptive purposes)

In this age digital wonderment we believe that photo manipulation began with Photoshop. However, this is not the case at all. Ever since the inception of photography in 1839, artists have used the public’s belief that photographs are “real” and always tell the truth.

At the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC there has been an exhibition called,Faking It: Manipulated Photography before Photoshop. This exhibition started in New York City at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and will end at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas. In Faking It, the curator, Mia Fineman, Assistant Curator in the Department of Photographs at the Met, has divided the exhibit into seven parts that start in the 1840’s up through the late 20th century.

Manipulated photography

In the first section, Picture Perfect, we witness how photography was manipulated because of its technical limitations. For example, all photographic processes were mono-chrome or black & white. So to add tan element of realism, daguerreotype plates and photographic prints were hand colored. Also, because of the exposure limitations due to the plates light sensitivity of those early times, photographic artists would make muptiple exposures on several plates and then with masking in the darkroom, blend all of these exposures together. A technique much like the modern equvilant of HDR (High Dynamic Range).

In another section, Artifice in the Name of Art , photographers begin to use this ability to manipulate photographs with their psychological power of “realism and truth” to tell unique or sereal stories. Other sections also show how photographs manipulated to distort the “truth” for purposes of policital propaganda.

For me, the most exciting element of this exhibition was seeing the actual prints of so many images I’ve only known from images in books. Seeing the actual print of Henry Peach Robinson’s, Fading Away was a real joy. Also learning that Edward Steichen‘s portrait of Rodin, was actually a composite was fascinating. Even Mathew Brady got into the act with his group portrait of Sherman and his Officers. Now, we know the artist Man Ray manipulated images, but so did the documentary photographer Lewis Hines. In the mid 20th century you may be aware of Duane MichalsJerry Uelsmann creating dream-like images, but portrait photographer Richard Avedon created interpretive photographs for Vogue.

“Faking It: Manipulated Photography before Photoshop” closes at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC this weekend, May 5th, 2013. If you can make a moment to visit, check it out. If you miss it, check out the exhibions web site at both the NGA and the Met Museum of Art. You can also get the catalog on

Source: Jarvis Grant,

creativity process

The 5 Biggest Creativity Killers

When it comes to doing creative work, it’s important to not only look for ways to let our creativity thrive, but to also be mindful of insidious “creativity killers” that can sneak up and strangle our ability to come up with our best ideas. According to research from Harvard University, there are five main culprits that are responsible for killing our creativity.

creativity process

It’s important to recognize these impediments to the creative thought process because many are insidious, and worse yet, most can be made on the managerial end, meaning we may be stifling our creative workers without even realizing it.

For those of us doing creative work, we must be mindful of these deterrents of the creative process so we can continue to put out our most novel ideas.

1. Role Mismatch

As Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Placing people in roles that they are not fit for is a surefire way to kill creativity. Although this may seem like a managerial concern, there are personal consequences here as well. Additional research has shown that we are at our best when we are “busy” (and pushed to our limits), but not rushed. In the wrong role, we can struggle to keep up and live in a constant state of creativity-crushing panic.

2. External End-Goal Restriction

Although self-restriction can often boost creativity, the Harvard study shows thatexternal restrictions are almost always a bad thing for creative thinking. This includes subtle language use that deters creativity, such as bosses claiming “We do things by the book around here,” or group members implicitly communicating that new ideas are not welcome.

3. Strict Ration of Resources

While money and physical resources are important to creativity, the Harvard study revealed that mental resources were most important, including having enough time.

Creative people re-conceptualize problems more often than a non-creative. This means they look at a variety of solutions from a number of different angles, and this extensive observation of a project requires time. This is one of the many reasons you should do your best to avoid unnecessary near-deadline work that requires novel thinking. Also, when we are faced with too many external restrictions we spend more time acquiring more resources than actually, you know, creating.

4. Lack of Social Diversity

Homogeneous groups have shown to be better able to get along, but it comes at a cost: they are less creative. This even applies to the social groups you keep, so beware of being surrounded by people who are too similar all the time, you may end up in a creative echo-chamber.

5. Discouragement/No Positive Feedback

It’s tough to continue working on novel ideas when you haven’t received any positive feedback. This feeling is backed by psychological research that shows people who’ve started a new undertaking are most likely to give up the first time things come crashing down, also known at the “what the hell!” effect.

Creative people thrive on having others impacted by their ideas. Without feedback, their motivation begins to wither and die.


How about you?

What kills your creativity?

Annular Eclipse 2012 Puerto Vallarta

Eclipse Photographs Puerto Vallarta

An annular solar eclipse took place on May 20, 2012 (May 21, 2012 in local time in the Eastern Hemisphere), with a magnitude of 0.9439. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s apparent diameter is smaller than the Sun, blocking most of the Sun’s light and causing the Sun to look like an annulus (ring). An annular eclipse appears as a partial eclipse over a region thousands of kilometres wide.

Here are some photos from the annular eclipse on May 20, 2012 taken in Puerto Vallarta:

Annular Eclipse 2012 Puerto Vallarta

Unfortunately, we were well away from the path of the “Ring of Fire”, but the effect was still dramatic.

Annular Eclipse 2012 Puerto Vallarta

This timelapse video is really cool:

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world longest photographic negative

The longest photographic negative in the world was created in Argentina

The longest photographic negative in the world measures an astounding 39.54 m (129 ft 8.69 in) in length and was created by Esteban Pastorino Diaz using a very well designed custom-built panoramic slit camera on 13 June 2010.

Having a background in engineering, Pastorino has been building his own cameras since the late 1990’s. For this particular endeavor, Pastorino constructed a 360 degree rotating camera made of high impact black plastic and an old pentax film camera that he retrofitted and mounted to his car.

custom-built panoramic slit camera

The negative is a panorama of major streets in Buenos Aires, Argentina, captured by the slit camera while mounted on the roof of a moving car.

world longest photographic negative

For his record shattering project, Pastorino plotted a route through Buenos Aires, from Moreno to 983, continuing through 9th Ave around the Obelisk and past President Roque Saenz Peña Avenue. Then towards Plaza de Mayo, continuing to Hipolito Yrigoyen Avenue La Rabida and ending on Avenida Leandro N. Alem behind the Casa Rosada. The route took 14 minutes and 45 seconds, the camera rotated 97 and a half times on its axis throughout the route.

Below  is a video where you can see a big part of that ‘never ending’ negative (imagine trying to process this!).

Since submitting for the Guinness World Record, Pastorino has already broken his previous achievement. In 2011, Pastorino photographed the New York Marathon, exposing over 1000 feet of film.

pin up before and after

1950?s Photoshoped Pin-Up Girls: Before And After

Maybe the older of us saw those Pin-Up Girls images in noses of bombers and the walls of soldiers barracks in the 1940?s and 50?s… Youngsters may have seen them at garage sales, family memory boxes or maybe at a museum exhibition. They feature the photographer’s artwork depicting idealized versions of what some thought a particularly beautiful or attractive woman should look like.
Manipulating images from removing clothing, thinning a model’s frame, or giving her bigger hair or more makeup, is a practice that’s been around much longer than Photoshop. These before and afters of classic pin up illustrations from the 40s and 50s shows the original photographs next to the artist’s rendering of the “idealized” woman. Proving that certain things never change…

pin up before and after

pin up before and after
pin up before and after


Many famous actresses in early 20th century film were both drawn and photographed and put on posters to be sold for personal entertainment. Among the celebrities who were considered sex symbols, one of the most popular early pin-up girls was Betty Grable, whose poster was ubiquitous in the lockers of G.I.s during World War II.

Click here for a more before and after images. (via F-Stoppers)

click on

Keep calm and click on

These words seem so simple. As a photographer and being in the industry, I see fellow photographers stress out and sometimes forget why we do what we do. Even if you’re an amateur photographer, or trying to break out into the photography scene, there are many challenges among us all.

With the age of digital and social media among us, it’s very easy to get lost in what’s really important with the art of photography. What sets us all apart from one another? We all have our strengths, weaknesses, and desires in what we photograph. One thing that we should always remember though is why we do this. We love photography. Whether it be for business, fine art, or just for fun, one thing always holds true, we can all go a little crazy sometimes and stress ourselves out.

There has been a huge internet buzz lately about “Keep Calm” postings to remind us that it’s ok. No matter what you do, what you believe, it’s very calming to imagine just letting go of it all to gain some serenity.

Whether it be at a photo shoot itself, the preparation, the thought of all the work that will go into it, or in some cases, afterwards in the post-production processes, things can get hectic. Maybe the thought of having to deal with clients, family, or friends with all the work that goes on behind the scenes begin to stress you out. Just Keep Calm and Click On…

click on


Remember to have some fun, don’t let the little things get to you while shooting or working towards something you know is great, just “KEEP CALM and CLICK ON.”

Dakota Fanning Poses For ELLE UK February 2012 Cover

Talented actress Dakota Fanning covers ELLE UK February 2012 issue. Photographed byDavid Slijper and styled by Anne-Marie Curtis, magazine cover features a close-up shot of her beautiful face.

17-year-old popular actress is looking sensual on cover with red hot lips and curly blonde locks. She wears a Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2012 dress and looks outstanding.

Dakota Fanning Elle UK Feb 2012

Dakota Fanning by David Slijper for Elle UK February 2012

Watch what happened behind the scenes at Dakota Fanning’s cover shoot with ELLE, see the shoot in the February issue of ELLE, on sale January 4. 

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