Process Undress / by Rebecca Tillett

A friend and commenter on this lovely blog of mine recently asked to see a before and after example of one of my recent refurbished images and I am happily obliging. Time must be changing me because this is something I would have never previously been really comfortable doing. This is most definitely because I consider the image straight out of my camera unfinished work and have always felt the original impression and opinion of the finished image would then be compromised. Quite like seeing a "making-of" special on a good movie. As interesting as I find them I also believe they kind of ruin the magic of the movie itself. I also don't like the prospect of having to defend my raw images to "REAL" pompous photographers who take every opportunity to tell every poor soul who'll listen that their work is "straight out of the camera" and "has not been touched by Photoshop at all" in a simultaneous effort to put themselves on a pedestal and insult those of us who use and enjoy Photoshop like film photographers of the past used and enjoyed darkrooms. And you know what most of these "photographers" have in common? Their work completely sucks. Any true artist will use the tools available to them to accomplish their objective. It's about doing what you love and how you get there shouldn't be an issue. I feel bad for those who obsess over the latter, appearances, and the opinions of others.

At my last solo-show I was actually approached by a guy my age who spent no less than 5 minutes or so praising my work before learning that it was digital. And then like the pretentious prick that he was he said "I can't believe you shoot digital," gave me a look of disbelieving disgust and horror and then returned to sit with his hipster art friends. (This is probably why I've always been so resistant to the "artist" label. I'd rather not be lumped in with these people if I can help it.) Anyway, it's almost like he was pissed with me for duping him, for tricking him into believing my work was real art which according to him, it wasn't of course since it wasn't film. I was insulted for about a second before it occurred to me that I couldn't give a flying fuck what this loser thought of my work and my process. And then I felt silly for feeling insulted even at ALL. I think I was just shocked really, that these people actually exist in the real world and not just in some lame late-90's teen movie.

I will add this disclaimer though (so I'm not eating these words later!): Photoshop, like any tool, is just that: a TOOL and should not be used in excess. There are those existing on the opposite end of this argument that abuse the hell out of that program but I'll save this rant for another allergy-pill and exhaustion induced day.

Annyywaaayy, the above image is 4 of the same photograph. The first is the raw original ("straight out of the camera", no less!), the second is the first edit I did back in 2007 which you'll see wasn't too drastically different from the original, the third - also done in 2007 - was a much-washed-out version (I went through a phase of this, I think), and the fourth is the "refurbished" edit I just completed last week. I wasn't compelled to create a refurbished color version of this piece but I did of others in this same series which you can see on my Flickr. My latest love is highlighting imperfections which kinda surprises me since hiding them is all I used to do. That might be evident in this example. I have absolutely fallen in love with the Shadow/Highlight tool.

Finally - for a while now I've pondered recording my process on the computer, a video, but because I'm not sure how many people would find that interesting coupled with my privacy preferences when it comes to my creating it's not something I've decided on doing. But if this sounds intriguing to you, definitely make your voice heard!