Re: Perfection

1

Vanessa Paradis ate my baby!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-27-08 10:36 PM
horizontal rule
2

I bet I know what the child was wearing.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-27-08 11:46 PM
horizontal rule
3

I'm surprised by the number and variety of Google image search results for 'baby mohawk'.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-27-08 11:51 PM
horizontal rule
4

Vanessa Paradis

Heart flutters ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 2:30 AM
horizontal rule
5

http://rottenindenmark.vox.com/library/post/sometimes-15-words-is-all-you-need-to-know.html


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 3:55 AM
horizontal rule
6

This is all just material for her NYTimes best-selling memoir. She looks pretty urbane and sophisticated. I bet she spends about eight more years acting in a bizarre and selfish way and then writes about how she is not selfish anymore but in some way she does not regret how she behaved because men, and especially men in a small town like Miami, scarred her so much.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 7:04 AM
horizontal rule
7

6: Heh. It'll be a Modern Love column, won't it? "I was convicted of filing a false police report, but the truth is, Riley really was missing. This little guy who'd been so cherished in my imagination was one of several things that had been missing in our relationship."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 7:09 AM
horizontal rule
8

that's frighteningly plausible, di.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 7:21 AM
horizontal rule
9

"What kind of society leads a woman to instinctively respond to a failing relationship by presenting herself as some sort of parody of a wife and mother, only plausible if John had completely forgotten all of my attributes except my femininity? And how did I become a small, unwitting symptom of this problem? I pondered these questions as I pursued my demons, and more importantly John's demons, at a provincial art school."


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 7:28 AM
horizontal rule
10

i laughed reading "I don't understand," John Buchness, 26, said then, choking back tears. "It's Christmas."


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 7:54 AM
horizontal rule
11

"Indeed, the imaginary missing child was merely a simulacrum of the imaginary relationship itself."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 8:04 AM
horizontal rule
12

I was going to say that Hillary is fourth in succession for the Presidency behind Biden, Pelosi, and Byrd.

Byrd is a hundred years old, and no one will bat an eye if he goes down. Biden and Pelosi look pretty sturdy -- so far. As for Obama..... everyone's predicting that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
13

i laughed reading

"I don't understand," John Buchness, 26, said then, choking back tears. "It's Christmas."

fun!
i'm going to try all html tags, what took me so long


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 8:09 AM
horizontal rule
14
Richard said the victim said the attacker called her "a lot of names and stated that 'You are going to be a Barack supporter'," pinning her hands down while carving the letter B on her face "using what she believed to be a very dull knife."

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 8:10 AM
horizontal rule
15

8: I'm practicing for when I really write an ML column one day. "It wasn't so much that his naked body was unattractive -- though by then, to me, it certainly was. No, the real problem was that this ugly naked guy has stopped making the effort to cover up the more profound ugliness that was his soul." That's just one idea. There are more, of course. I fully expect to research other possibilities in the new year.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 8:10 AM
horizontal rule
16

12: Biden and Pelosi look pretty sturdy -- so far.

As long as they stay away from Fort Marcy Park.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
17

"When I showed them the photo. my friends all quickly agreed that he was ugly , but when I started polling strangers on the street the responses were rude and difficult to interpret."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 8:41 AM
horizontal rule
18

Speaking of ugly photos, does this picture of C. Kennedy look grotesquely tinted to anyone else? Her face looks very nice, but her hair looks green.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 9:04 AM
horizontal rule
19

All pictures I've seen of her make her look old and tired. She must have enemies.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
20

it's just b/c her cardigan is green, i like that colour
but her haircut, this layered look is not good for her maybe, better the straight cut maybe like the actress' who starred with Bruce Willis in the detective series, the 80ies in Chicago and something with moon, can't recall the title


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
21

when i had that promotional full cable TV for three months i liked to watch the makeover programs, rooms, people
the regular comcast does not have those channels now, i really should unsubscribe maybe, 14 $ for not watching TV and they charge me for the modem which i bought and they keep charging me 3$ for its renting, i call them and nothing happens, so 17$ every month wasted, should better donate it somewhere


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 9:43 AM
horizontal rule
22

"Moonlighting" was the TV show you were thinking of, read.

The photo of Caroline Kennedy was presumably taken at the diner where the interview took place, which would explain some of the poor lighting, but jeez, it would have been pretty easy to fix the color balance. I really don't know how standard that sort of aesthetic tweaking would be for a news piece. I remember how the online Right screamed about some photo of Palin, saying that it should have been photoshopped to be more flattering because that was a standard that was not observed, but I don't remember exactly what their complaint was---visible wrinkles, maybe? Here, the color makes C. Kennedy look like she has a shitty dye job, brassy and overprocessed, which begins to look a bit like an editorial statement.

I don't even support her candidacy, but wow, that article was negative.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 9:59 AM
horizontal rule
23

re: 18

Dyed blonde hair does often look a bit green under certain light.

I don't really know anymore re: colour photography. I think about 90% of photos look heavily 'shopped to me these days. Everyone's using that f'ed up quasi-HDR colour look* and even photo-journalistic stuff looks like it's been created by some wannabe Crewdson in a studio lot.

* see Flickr, passim.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 9:59 AM
horizontal rule
24

re: 22

I posted 23 before I read 22, but, I think shit loads of post-processing gets done whether people admit it or not. I know how colour looks straight out of a dSLR and how it now usually looks in print and the two are not the same.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
25

Also, the depth of field in that photo has been messed with [unless the photographer was using i) a super fast [and I mean noctilux fast] lens, ii) a tilt and shift lens or iii) a lensbaby].

[Any of these three are quite possible just not typical for photo-journalism.]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
26

I think about 90% of photos look heavily 'shopped to me these days.

Me too, but then I often end up sighing and thinking that once again my eyes have fallen behind the current zeitgeist.

I think shit loads of post-processing gets done whether people admit it or not.

So do you think that the standard has realistically become "if her hair is greenish, then that's the way the photo editor wanted it to be"? It sort of reminds me of the paradox of responsibility for comments pages: if the site owner intervenes at all, it's taken as an implicit statement of approbation for the rest of the comments.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
27

I'd be surprised if there was an intention to make her hair look greenish. Rather, the colour has been tweaked into a fairly standard HDR-digital/cross-processed-slide pseudo-Lomo sort of aesthetic. It's a fairly banal look, heavily over-used.

Software like Capture One and Lightroom have buttons for it these days.

The depth of field thing is the same. It could be done in camera, but I'd bet there's a 50/50 chance it was 'shopped.

I don't think it's an eyes falling behind the zeitgeist in the sense that you are used to a particular look [from older film and digital cameras] and are now seeing a new [but relatively untampered with look] from a new generation of gear. These photos look heavily shopped because, basically, they ARE heavily shopped.

Modern camera gear is just as capable [often more so rather than less] of colour fidelity as anything from the past.*

* One of the things I do in my 'day job' is consult on colour management.**

** that's a pretentious way of saying, I've had to write a couple of reports on colour management for our photo studio and make some purchasing recommendations.***

*** but it does know I know, broadly, whereof I speak ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
28

Ah, so it was probably a sort of default template? What do you think about the question of journalistic standards, when by intervening some the editor is presumed to have approved the whole?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
29

re: 28

It might not be a default template as such [although such templates, do, as I said, exist] but I'd be surprised if 'green hair' was the object of the exercise.

The object is more likely 'make it look like an over-priced Ukrainian knock-off of a 1970s Japanese camera with an Italian name heavily marketed by a bunch of Austrian chancers...' [possibly through several removes] ...

I'm not sure about journalistic standards [as in, I haven't really thought about it enough]. Photo retouching and tweaking has always happened. It's just easier and more pervasive now.

I do know that on a purely gut 'aesthetic' level, I disapprove.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
30

Remember that 2006 photograph on the cover of the NY Times magazine of Mark Warner that was so unspeakably horrible that it may have sunk the poor guy's incipient presidential run before it even began? Here's the NYT statement about what happened:

The cover photograph in The Times Magazine on Sunday rendered colors incorrectly for the jacket, shirt and tie worn by Mark Warner, the former Virginia governor who is a possible candidate for the presidency. The jacket was charcoal, not maroon; the shirt was light blue, not pink; the tie was dark blue with stripes, not maroon.

The Times's policy rules out alteration of photographs that depict actual news scenes and, even in a contrived illustration, requires acknowledgment in a credit. In this case, the film that was used can cause colors to shift, and the processing altered them further; the change escaped notice because of a misunderstanding by the editors.
I dunno, I'm not really buying it. Surely the editors have a preview? Run test prints? What sort of "misunderstanding" could possibly explain this, that it would all magically work itself out in newsprint, that someone else was in charge of final approval? And what exactly does the Times mean by "alteration"? I wouldn't at all be surprised if there weren't Talmudic layers of interpretation being used to justify some alteration and not others.
Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
31

the depth of field in that photo has been messed with

They probably did some artificial sharpening on her face, which explains why it "pops" a little jarringly. Though you get a pretty narrow depth of field if you're shooting close to wide open with a 1.4 or 1.8 lens; it doesn't surprise me that the shoulders would be so out of focus.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 10:33 AM
horizontal rule
32

29.---Oh, you mean these aesthetic effects could be the result of the actual camera itself. I don't know anything about that, I'm afraid.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
33

This week's Modern Love actually has a pleasant, light, witty touch and is not overwritten. And it's about cancer, ex-boyfriends, and being single and childless! A minor miracle.

P.S. I tried to google the title of the "Elle" article mentioned in the piece, and discovered that googling the phrase "ruined my life" turns up great stuff! Top pieces from the first page: My Book Deal Ruined My Life!, Bad Therapy Ruined My Life!, and Reality TV Ruined My Life!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
34

I think print photography has always been heavily manipulated, particularly the colors. Photoshop just automates the process.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 10:40 AM
horizontal rule
35

re: 31

It's not just the shoulders, etc. I own several fast lenses and shoot medium format, so I am used to seeing really shallow depth of field.

What is odd about it is this: the plane of focus isn't flat, or doesn't appear to be. It's not perpendicular to the angle of the shot [which you'd expect].

That might be the result of the combination of a very fast lens and some post-processing around the eyes. Or it might be a LOT of post-processing, or it might be a lens that doesn't have a flat plane of focus [like a lensbaby or a tilt-and-shift lens]. Could even be a camera that doesn't have a flat plane of focus [like a large format camera with movements] but that is getting increasingly unlikely.

Those are all aesthetic effects that portrait photographers can and do exploit [and can sometimes look really cool], it's just not what I'd expect in a 'news' shot.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
36

re: 32

The original source of the aesthetic is in film photography and it can be done 'in camera'. It's just that with digital photography that is a hassle and you'd do it later, in post.

I even quite like that look [done the old-fashioned way, or done digitally] sometimes. I really like what Crewdson does -- which is sort of hyper-real -- for example.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 10:43 AM
horizontal rule
37

28: Dowload the jpg and look at it blown up a bit. To me it just looks like there's some flourescent lighting from the top mixed in with on-camera flash. That's a fairly standard situation. The DOF looks much like I get at f2 or 2.8. She's leaning forward, her shirt and shoulders are well behind the plane of her face.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
38

Nah, Caroline is just butt-ugly. She's not the cute little girl we loved so much* any more.

*before you people were born


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
39

I downloaded her into my iPhoto (I haven't yet figured out the first thing about my shiny new hacked Photoshop), and managed to make her look normal and rather attractive mostly by reducing the highlights and reducing the color saturation.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 10:59 AM
horizontal rule
40

See here.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
41

She looks OK. I mean, she's 50. She has some wrinkles, but her eyes are beautiful. Deep, rich and yearning...yearning to become a U.S. Senator.

Forget the photo, the article itself was unflattering.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 11:06 AM
horizontal rule
42

I prefer the butt-ugly Caroline of my dreams.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
43

See, 39/40 is about what I would expect, and decidedly un-garish. Basically, it seems to me that the minimum standard for digital pics in a news* story is comparable to what Auto-Levels does - cleanup saturation/color temp issues without actually retouching anything (such as wrinkles). Since changing color balance** doesn't add or remove any information (unless you intentionally do it; I mean the photog doing it to make a green sweater look green even tho the lighting made it look gray), and removes possibly distracting artifacts of lighting, I don't see it as being in any way unethical - similar to deleting "um"s from news quotes. Which, as we've discussed before, creates expectations and can be tricky, but far better that than to use the artificial tools of recorders and cameras to make people seem artificial.

Actual photoshopping - taking out wrinkles, modifying certain color tones without touching other areas, changing eye shape - is, IMO, right out. I suppose there's some slippery slope in there, but wholly of the "I know it when I see it" category. Save your artsy-fartsy techniques for the fashion pages.

* I do think there's a bit of a continuum between hard news, in which the reader clearly expects to see pictures of what happened, as unadorned as practical (the layman doesn't admit to distinctions of in-camera and Photoshopping; he wants news pictures conceptually equivalent to point-and-shoot), and softer news, like an interview with a newsmaker. It's understood that an interview is an artificial situation, as is a portrait; therefore, a certain level of artificiality is accepted and understood, but you can very quickly get away from what makes sense in the context of "this is a newspaper delivering news - just the facts, ma'am."

** Used as shorthand, obvs.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
44

BTW, somehow I had never mentioned to AB how to modify the graph thingy on iPhoto - she's the family photographer and archivist, and has something like 10,000 pics in her library. And had no clue about the Color Levels. If we didn't have a baby in the house, I suspect that she'd spend the next month doing nothing but going through pics using that tool.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 11:23 AM
horizontal rule
45

39/40: What I get from both the original photo and your retouching is that that diner is a shitty shitty place to have your photo taken. Fluorescent lighting and boring brown/beige background is going to make anyone look bad.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
46

43: But this is just the problem: "hard news" is an artifact as well, and just as susceptible to the ideologies of the reporters, photographers, editors and printers as a movie review or a commentary piece. And THAT'S what kids in J-School need to be reminded of every day. I don't think there can be a "conceptual equivalent of point-and-shoot", certainly not with digital photography, but moreover not when there are several layers of gatekeepers analyzing and editing the "raw" information that goes into any content.

Journalists should constantly be asking "Why did I make that choice?" -- which seems like an obvious injunction, but unfortunately it rarely happens. Most MSM outlets are never going to have a conversation -- in their daily newsmeetings, much less in their published content -- about the gender issues that photographing Palin, Clinton or Kennedy give rise to. 'Cause it would be "too political" or "not relevant", when in fact its one of the few things that is truly relevant in reporting these candidacies.

I just hung out last night with a bunch of my journalist friends, and they're great people, good politics, intelligent, well-read and all that, but to a person they're bought-in to the Ideology of American Journalism. Not to mention, they're all walking a tightrope in this economy -- two of them are basically doing two jobs at once, and even then they're not secure in their employment. Kinda makes it unilkely that they're gonna rock the boat in newsmeeting, doesn't it?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
47

43: But this is just the problem: "hard news" is an artifact as well, and just as susceptible to the ideologies of the reporters, photographers, editors and printers as a movie review or a commentary piece. And THAT'S what kids in J-School need to be reminded of every day. I don't think there can be a "conceptual equivalent of point-and-shoot", certainly not with digital photography, but moreover not when there are several layers of gatekeepers analyzing and editing the "raw" information that goes into any content.

Journalists should constantly be asking "Why did I make that choice?" -- which seems like an obvious injunction, but unfortunately it rarely happens. Most MSM outlets are never going to have a conversation -- in their daily newsmeetings, much less in their published content -- about the gender issues that photographing Palin, Clinton or Kennedy give rise to. 'Cause it would be "too political" or "not relevant", when in fact its one of the few things that is truly relevant in reporting these candidacies.

I just hung out last night with a bunch of my journalist friends, and they're great people, good politics, intelligent, well-read and all that, but to a person they're bought-in to the Ideology of American Journalism. Not to mention, they're all walking a tightrope in this economy -- two of them are basically doing two jobs at once, and even then they're not secure in their employment. Kinda makes it unilkely that they're gonna rock the boat in newsmeeting, doesn't it?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
48

Sorry about that. Weird error message forced me to double-click. But I am very strident!


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
49

She's wearing normal street makeup, and unless they captured that shot from a video camera, the picture was taken without a flash, indoors, under some kind of filtered sunlight, or some kind of bright (daylight fluorescent?) light. Didn't work, so somebody amped the saturation to make her look alive. There's almost no blue in the picture, and not very much red.

max
['You have to adjust standard film tones as well.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 11:48 AM
horizontal rule
50

33: It was much saner than the average Modern Love (and I've had very similar experiences, both in medical waiting rooms, and in communal dressing rooms). If it was accurately reported, though, the nurse was really out of line. Telling a patient that the procedure they're about to undergo is something that most people take anti-anxiety medication before, but there's no way for any to be prescribed for her? That's really screwy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 11:56 AM
horizontal rule
51

Eh. I don't really disagree with the critique of 47/48 (actually, I think 47 is much closer to right), but I think it's conflating issues somewhat. Just because there's no such thing as "objective journalism" doesn't mean that there's no difference between more and less honest attempts to communicate facts. Yes, choosing what quotes to run is an active, editorial decision that is not Objective. That doesn't make it equivalent to making up quotes and ascribing them to a person.

In photography, you can come more or less close to what is seen by the naked eye - if a photo makes a scene appear to be dusk, but it was really midday, it's as misleading as a fake quote. CK's hair really is a certain color - while our eyes may see it as different colors in different lights, our brains correct for that in a way that allows us to say, "Her strawberry blonde hair sure looks green under these fluorescents." But unless the story is about the quality of light given by fluorescents, printing the green hair pic is misleading.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 12:14 PM
horizontal rule
52

51: The other shot in the NYTimes of her outdoors is okay. The diner shot is mixed light and fixing that would violate most of the "standards" now in place for news photography. There's no way to tell what anyone else is seeing but on my calibrated-by-hardware screen there's only a slight greenish tinge to her hair I automatically associate with flourescent lights.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 12:47 PM
horizontal rule
53

Everyone is talking as if the colours in that photo are a failure on the part of the photographer to correct for mixed lighting or some sort of error.

I don't buy it. It's an aesthetic choice. It's not like a pro photographer doesn't know how to white balance a photo.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
54

to me it just looks like there's some flourescent lighting from the top mixed in with on-camera flash.

not on-camera. There's obviously a flash up and to her left. But there also seems to be a hair-light, I think high in front - the one showing in the catchlights.

Her hair looks golden to me, and it all-in-all looks pretty good. But my monitor is a real poor one, and can't be calibrated very well. (really, i've spent hours on it, and it's still objectively bad) But I wonder what's the chance that the photographer just had a poorly-calibrated monitor?

Lastly, Matt could you compress your photography knowledge into a neural zip file and email it to my brain? K, THX!


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 1:48 PM
horizontal rule
55

and I've had very similar experiences, both in medical waiting rooms, and in communal dressing rooms)

Strangers offer you Xanax?

Women's dressing rooms are as magical as they say!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
56

Strangers offer you Xanax?

It makes the lingerie-clad pillow fights less stressful for everyone.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
57

50, 56: It's sort of unprofessional for the hospital, but I can see it. It strikes me as within the bounds of people informally helping each other. Nurses can't write prescriptions, and in my experience the chance that a big-city woman will have an extra Xanax on her is pretty high. I've been offered it by strangers on planes when I wanted to sleep.

That's one of the very few ML columns that made me really like the author. I loved it when she tossed off a philosophical "ah, men". We should all cultivate such grace about human failings.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
58

57 wins.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
59

jackmormon - you sure get a long of painting done between unfogged threads


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
60

a long of painting? what gibberish am i speaking? I meant "lot".

I really like the girl playing cards.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 2:01 PM
horizontal rule
61

You want it? It's for sale!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
62

re: 55

Hah. Like anyone who is mostly an auto-didact* my photography knowledge is quite deep in some areas and completely absent in others. Lots of random gaps.

My knowledge of lighting, for example, is piss-poor as 99.9% of everything I've ever shot, I've shot using available light or a single strobe [on or off-camera].

* I know quite a bit professionally [although I'm not a photographer] about photographing books, but that's not the remotely same as people.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
63

Oh, and on a non-photo note, to 47/48: I was introduced to the idea that Objectivity is Bunk by my sister when I was a college frosh and she was getting her J-school degree at Northwestern. I'm not sure where journos unlearn it, but it's not as if they've never heard of the concept.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 3:40 PM
horizontal rule
64

53: I don't buy it. It's an aesthetic choice. It's not like a pro photographer doesn't know how to white balance a photo.

54: not on-camera. There's obviously a flash up and to her left. But there also seems to be a hair-light, I think high in front - the one showing in the catchlights.

Ya'll see two faces, I see a vase. I think you're both calculating that there's a flash in the picture, and I am calculating that there isn't. So: she's in a back room in a diner, sitting in a booth directly under a recessed ceiling lamp - that's what's making her hair glow. The light off the left side of her head is the next recessed light over. If they were using a flash, particularly at close range (they either took the picture real close up with a shot lens, or from some distance away with a long lens - thus the depth of field issue) it would blow away the ceiling lights and she would look like one of those people posing for a hollywood awards show at night.

So, in a fairly brightly-lit diner the photog tries to get away with not using a flash, possibly because he's sitting directly across a diner table from her. Problem is, is that in marginal indoor lighting conditions where the lighting looks fairly solid to human eyes, a CCD camera greens out (35mm would be really dim and yellowed out). I know because I've tried taking enough pictures in bad indoor lighting, and the whole thing goes green.

So the wall behind her should be a beige that is almost white, and the booth cushions should be bright gold, not dingy. Crosscheck: look at her left eye around the tear duct and the top of the bottom eyelid. It's like dried blood purple of all things. Go look at your eye in the mirror (and see if I lie) - it shouldn't be that color unless she's in rigor, or she's putting makeup in those locations.

Why they choose that bad photo I do not know. Either they went no-flash the whole way, or the flash ones were even worse, or the editor just doesn't like her. But they took a dim, greenish photo and probably jacked up the gamma to try and repair, and that made her hair glow, and emphasized her already emphasized wrinkles. I think she choose appropriate makeup for a pale, untanned, middle-aged woman attempting to win selection to the Senate during a New York winter: pale, dignified, sedate. And unfortunately way too goddamn pale for cameras or TV, where clown makeup is the order of the day. Inexperienced.

max
['She's toast.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 5:30 PM
horizontal rule
65

64: The reason I'm thinking flash is because the wrinkles are so sharp and because of that small catchlight in the eye.

The hair is so bright I'd expect strong shadows showing up on her neck and under her nose, etc. but they are very open. So, there must be lots of fill light, either from a flash or from a big window.

I'll go with a window + flash as fill and flourescents overhead.

(And if someone asks the question on photo.net we'll get twenty more opinions.)


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 5:51 PM
horizontal rule
66

61. Couldn't possibly afford it. :(

speaking of things I can't afford...*want* (maybe I will find a banking exec and mug him for his bailout money.)


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 5:53 PM
horizontal rule
67

I am calculating that there isn't

rather hard to explain the catchlights, as bio mentions.

Also, the shadows on her face, like the tell-tale nose triangle. Natural light is too diffuse for that, pretty much has to be a flash, i think.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 5:57 PM
horizontal rule
68

front flash could have a diffuser with open top which bounces, explaining the hair

we're really over-thinking this, aren't we?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 5:59 PM
horizontal rule
69

68: Not compared to the pix/el pee/pers on dp/review or photo/net. They can go on for days or weeks on things like this.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 6:08 PM
horizontal rule
70

68,69: Underdetermined inverse problems are the hobgoblins of idle speculators.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 6:14 PM
horizontal rule
71

re: 66

I've played with 40MP cameras at work. They are very 'wanty'. A Mamiya AFD with a P45 [bigger sensor than the one proposed for the S2] is smaller than a lot of dSLRs [thicker front to back, but still compact]. The images are just ridiculous.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 6:55 PM
horizontal rule
72

Couldn't possibly afford it.

Oh, I don't know about that---I need money more than I need paintings---but I'll stop with the hard sell. Thanks for the kind words.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 7:39 PM
horizontal rule
73

Here, the color makes C. Kennedy look like she has a shitty dye job, brassy and overprocessed, which begins to look a bit like an editorial statement.

Her hair colour does look a bit odd, but light hair can often look weird in photographs.

I'm no great fan of her Senate candidacy, because I think it should go to someone (e.g., and especially, Carolyn Maloney) who has paid some dues. But I think Caroline Kennedy looks just fine.

The youth-versus-age standards are quite different for women and men. In brief: a male politician about 45-50 is considered "young," whereas a woman in the same age bracket might manage to pull off "looks young for her age," but is still considered middle-aged or "older." Basically, I think women, even in career/professional contexts, are still judged/perceived, age-wise, according to a bio-fertility framework (in which case: yeah, 45 is older, if not downright elderly), whereas men are more likely to be judged/perceived in terms of the typical trajectory of the relevant career path (in which case: yeah, 45 is young, or at least youngish, for a Senator).

Probably Caroline Kennedy could look younger by changing her hair and makeup and etc. If she "took ten years off her face" through a shorter haircut and maybe botox treatments or something, I guess she could just about break even with the 50-year old male counterpart who no longer looks young but whom nobody would see as "old." But the use of makeup in the service of a more youthful image does have its perils and pitfalls: just google-image Katherine Harris and you'll see what I mean.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12-28-08 8:54 PM
horizontal rule
74

I hate this guy:

I mentioned the Dove ad campaign that proudly featured lumpier-than-usual "real women" in their undergarments. It turned out that it was a Dangin job. "Do you know how much retouching was on that?" he asked. "But it was great to do, a challenge, to keep everyone's skin and faces showing the mileage but not looking unattractive."

Unfortunately, the before & after photos of a model with a perfect body, for certain conventional notions of "perfect," who apparently isn't perfect enough, are behind a password.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-29-08 9:02 AM
horizontal rule
75

re: 74

I think we can take for granted that everything that ever gets printed in advertising or fashion has been heavily 'shopped. Even the 'natural' stuff that makes a point of being against artifice.

I'd imagine even those who are committed to naturalistic work that doesn't involve heavy retouching are still going to clone out zits and the like.

We've discussed this before, but it was always this way. The level of retouching on those classic 'silver screen' portraits of bygone movie stars was amazing. You even see the same plasticky looking skin on some 1920s and 30s publicity photos that you see on over 'shopped modern stuff.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-29-08 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
76

The level of retouching on those classic 'silver screen' portraits of bygone movie stars was amazing.

Clark Gable couldnt grow a moustache so they had to add one to the pictures.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-29-08 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
77

75: Granted. What this guy does isn't just smoothing skin and dropping a few pounds, though. He does incredibly subtle work pixel by pixel that elongates the neck, changes the angle of the hip, moves shadows, makes the hair fall differently. Stuff I didn't realize you could do on a very sharp, unforgiving b&w photo.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-29-08 9:33 AM
horizontal rule
78

re: 77

Oh yeah, the worst modern retouching is really pernicious stuff.

You could really do a lot to black and white photographs, though. The Hollywood portrait guys often shot using huge glass plate negatives which are extremely easy to retouch. You just paint on them [or draw on them with pencils]. There would be limits to what you could do [compared to photoshop] but perfect skin and the elimination of a slight double chin or bags under the eyes, say, would be easy.

Black and white photos aren't necessarily unforgiving either. With the right makeup, and the right filters, for example, it's possible to smooth the skin tones right out and produce those high-key images with perfect luminous skin that we know from classic fashion portraiture [Avedon and the like].

The sharp/grainy 'unforgiving' look is also the result of certain creative choices and not necessarily more 'authentic'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-29-08 9:57 AM
horizontal rule
79

76: cut and pasted from his luxurious pubes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-29-08 9:59 AM
horizontal rule
80

78: yeah, black and white's a lot easier to work with, and you can up the grain and so on post-retouching if you feel like it.

Digital Darkroom, the standard retouching ware pre-photoshop, was black and white only.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-29-08 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
81

78: yeah, black and white's a lot easier to work with, and you can up the grain and so on post-retouching if you feel like it.

Digital Darkroom, the standard retouching ware pre-photoshop, was black and white only.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-29-08 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
82

Don't that just figure.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-29-08 10:08 AM
horizontal rule
83

Just to clarify, when I said 'filters' in 78 I meant literal filters. Not digital ones. Bits of glass in front of the lens.

Using a red filter, for example, will artificially 'bleach' out skin and leave it looking smoother and paler.

Of course, with digital people usually do that in 'post'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-29-08 10:20 AM
horizontal rule
84

You caught digital people on film?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-29-08 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
85

Hey, some people are either there or they aren't ....


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-29-08 10:25 AM
horizontal rule
86

I have nothing to offer in the fake police report competition, but, as I have previously mentioned in this space, it's pretty hard to beat the Posh Deep Blue Suburb police blotter for sheer entertainment value.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-30-08 9:46 AM
horizontal rule
87

I can only wonder: which log entries involved KR?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-30-08 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
88

87: I can't rule out involvement in the one about the older male seen urinating behind a pickup truck.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-30-08 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
89

thanks very


Posted by: yurek | Link to this comment | 08-16-09 7:40 PM
horizontal rule