Passing Goldstar (Explored)

A recent photograph made it into Flickr’s Explore (double click to embiggen).

Passing Goldstar

About the photograph: I was standing near Gold Star on Division St., admiring how afternoon light illuminated this long time resident of Wicker Park, waiting for the first person to enter my shot. However, when I entered my digital darkroom, I noticed the women was partially blurred. Often converting to black and white hides these flaws, I used a Tri-X 400 emulation filter (from Alien Skin), but then was sad about losing the golden hour light. I stopped working on the photo, however in the morning when I woke up, I had a new idea. I could use Photoshop to merge some of the color back in to the photo.

I processed the image again from the original Camera RAW file, using the same settings, except, obviously leaving the afternoon sunlight. With both images open, I used the Clone Stamp tool in Photoshop, and with my mouse, dragged over areas that looked like they needed color.

I started with just the neon Goldstar sign, then added the more of the building, then the doorway, then as a last touch, the woman’s feet and the shadow on the sidewalk. I’m not 100% certain if I like that, but I think so. I also could have re-colorized her purse, but it had reds and blues in addition to the golden palette of the rest of the image, so I left it black and white.

I goofed, slightly, when initially using the Clone Stamp tool by not exactly lining up the origin, but this gives the color aspects a subtle three dimensional look, so I left it as it ended up.

All in all, I’m happy with how this image turned out.

Cyanotype, Photography’s Blue Period, Is Making a Comeback

Lake Street Bridge During A Blizzard
Lake Street Bridge During A Blizzard – toned blue.

I’ve made digital cyanotypes as long as I’ve used the Alien Skin “Exposure” plugin for Photoshop, but I’ve never made an actual one. The faux, digital versions are much different than actual cyanotypes. I’m intrigued though, the emotional impact of a blue-toned photograph is compelling.

The Phoenix artist Annie Lopez wanted to stand out among her contemporary peers. Instead of trying to invent something utterly new, she has been turning to a 174-year-old photographic printing process — cyanotypes, once used for copying architectural drawings — and giving it her own distinctive twist.

Making a cyanotype involves placing a negative image — which could be a photographic negative, or an object, as in a photogram — on treated paper or fabric. (Ms. Lopez took from her own life and her father’s battle with Alzheimer’s, using photocopies of medical books as well as comments made by family members.) After an iron-based solution is brushed on, the paper is placed under ultraviolet light, or in direct sun, to develop.

“One of the best-selling points of this exhibition is that cyanotypes are both underrepresented and trendy at the same time,” said Nancy Burns, who organized the Worcester show with Kristina Wilson of Clark University. “It’s very hip in contemporary art, when you start looking for it.”

The cyanotype process — from the Greek cyan, or “dark-blue impression” — was invented around 1842 by the British astronomer and chemist John Frederick Herschel (1792–1871). The benefits of the format were evident from the start.

(click here to continue reading Cyanotype, Photography’s Blue Period, Is Making a Comeback – The New York Times.)

I’ve also heard cyanotypes called “sun prints”:

Maybe you remember sun prints (also known as cyanotypes) from childhood. You set a leaf or flower on light-sensitive paper and exposed it to the sunlight for a few minutes. Your parent or teacher probably rinsed the print and showed you the results as they developed. A shadow of the specimen emerged—the color of the paper shifted from white to light blue. The final result was a white or bluish-white silhouette on dark blue paper.

When I first started paying attention to cyanotypes, I loved how they rendered familiar objects and shapes as bluish, shadowy abstractions. I also wondered why they reminded me of x-rays or architectural drawings. A description of the cyanotype process from Encyclopaedia Britannica shed some light.

(click here to continue reading Celebrated Summer: Making Sun Prints with Transparencies | Britannica Blog.)

Like I said, I’ve never made an actual cyanotype, yet. The images on this post are simply “toned blue” as a reminder to myself1 that I need to make a real cyanotype. 

Loren Squints Blue
Loren Squints Blue

You’ve Got Everything, Polapan Blue
You’ve Got Everything, Polapan Blue

Across The Evening Sky All The Birds Are Leaving - Copper Blue
Across The Evening Sky All The Birds Are Leaving – Copper Blue

Just A Restless Feeling By My Side
Just A Restless Feeling By My Side

Minister of Design and The Future, Blue
Minister of Design and The Future, Blue

Take the Blue Train
Take the Blue Train

Thistled and Scorned
Thistled and Scorned

Empty Blue Number 2
Empty Blue Number 2

Phil Looks Cold - Blue
Phil Looks Cold – Blue

  1. like so much of my blog []

You Did Not Count the Time was uploaded to Flickr

Toned in Photoshop with a red filter.

As seen from inside DIRTT (behind a glass window) during the most recent Chicago Architecture Tour Open House (2013)

embiggen by clicking

I took You Did Not Count the Time on October 20, 2013 at 03:00PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on January 06, 2014 at 03:52PM