Photo Editing

I have been editing photos for a number of years now and so thoroughly enjoyed this process. I wanted to show how I would go about editing a simple photo to get the result I desired, this is the first photo I edited for this series of photos.

1. Original Photo

Orig photo

Unfortunately, I shot this photo before learning to shoot in a RAW format and therefore, did not make any adjustments in ‘Camera RAW CC’. This file is a jpeg and so I imported this file directly into photoshop.

2. Levels Adjustment

Levels adjusment

As I did not have the opportunity to edit the photo in ‘Camera RAW CC’ before bringing the photo into Photoshop, the first step I took was in adding a ‘Levels adjustment’ layer. I looked at the histogram of my image and adjusted the levels to add contrast to my image and get a better exposure (the image was originally underexposed). I could have used a ‘Curves adjustment’ layer or a ‘Contrast/Brightness adjustment’ layer to alter the contrast, but for this photo, I found the levels adjustment gave me the look I wanted.

The photo after this adjustment:

Levels change

3. Adding a LUT

A LUT is an acronym for ‘look-up table’ and adds a level of dynamic range to a photo. They are often used for bulk editing photos because once you’ve designed the look you desire for your photo, you can apply to multiple images without having to edit each photo individually.

For this image, I chose ‘Crisp_Warm.Look’ as enhanced the dark shadows in my image whilst maintaining detail by boosting contrast and adding an almost autumnal glow.

Crisp warm look

I then lowered the opacity to around 50% so the effect was not overwhelming.

4. High-Pass

The final layer I added to this image was a ‘high-pass’ filter. This adds depth to my image and increases fine detail which is exactly what I wanted as I wanted to emphasize the chips on the drumstick.

This effect is achieved by creating a new merged layer, (cmd+alt+shift+e) which takes all layers and creates a new, single layer.



I then set this layer to blend mode overlay and reduced its opacity to 60%.

Bland Mode overlay


All of these edited still make the photo ‘real’. I have not created any false truth, but merely emphasized the aspects of the photo I wanted to as these convey the meaning I wanted to convey in this photo. For this photo, I wanted to show how deep the chips were as this conveys another method in which music can be ‘seen’.

Sticks 1 - Final.jpg

Further Research into my Idea

Jared Ficklin is a designer and has a passion for visualising music. My idea revolves around being able to visualise music and capture that in an image, so I have researched into Ficklins work.

For more on Ficklin see and his website )

New ways to see music (with colour! and fire!)

Ficklin’s presentations shows different ways to ‘see’ music and sound. First he uses a Rubens tube. This is a long tube of metal with holes bored into the top, connected to a tank of propane. When different frequencies are played through the tube the fire from the holes adjust to the sound.

Rubens Tube

(See and for more)

He goes on to use a similar product, a flame table. This shows sound and frequency in a different way. Instead of just showing just amplitude and frequency it is more articulate in its representation of sound.

Flame Table

Rendering songs

He began by rendering the frequencies of one band’s song and then the rest, he then compiled these into one visual impression;

Redering Smells like Teen Spirit

Just by looking at other song’s sound waves, it can be identified which song a Nirvana fan would enjoy just based on how the waveforms look.

Video opening

He finishes up this presentation by talking about the TED talk opening. Just by having the sound waves seen in real time, even without hearing anything, separate parts of the audio can be seen.

TED talk sound waves

This final idea comes into what I wanted to capture in the radio recording booth with the various audio levels in the studio. Ficklin thinks this concept is exciting, as he says, “You can get the tone and the timbre and the pace of the speech, things that you can’t get out of closed captioning.”

Visualising sound is another way to enjoy it and this is what I want to capture in my final project. 

Reading Log Week 6

Analog to digital: the Indexical Function of Photographic Images

Digital photography turns photos from objects into data which makes them easier for editing. I have only ever worked with digital photos, having been a digital editor before taking photos of my own. This does come on to an interesting topic which I must consider in my work. Previously, when seeing an image, whether the subjects were constructed/set-up or not, you knew you were looking at reality, with digital photography and editing this is skewed.

As the article argues, “With digital technology, it is arguably easier to edit and create images of objects that never existed in reality, thus casting doubt on the reliability of photography’s connection to the real.”

I will be incorporating image editing into my final photos as I believe it is another key element to add meaning to a photo. I would argue most (to all) photos that are being used now for any purpose have been edited to some degree.

Another important aspect of digital photography is that it means a photo can be stored in multiple places and can be sent instantly. If the physical photo is needed it can be printed out but with everything moving online, newspapers, peoples blogs etc. digital photography allows for the immediate sharing of photos. The only issue with this I can see is ‘fakes’. Newspapers have been known to share images that are in fact lies, just to try and break the story before other newspapers do.

The article goes on to talk about other applications of digital photography. One I hadn’t even considered which is scientific analysis. With digital technologies, it is possible to enhance photos, for example, boost the exposure and see darker sections of an image.

Reading Log Week 5 + Photo Progression

Up to this point the only controlled lighting I have used has been using studio lighting, the rest of the time I have had to adjust to my surroundings.

David Präckel: Basics Photography Lighting

Control over lighting means the photographer is able to achieve the exact effect they desire. For example, if they wanted to capture a large depth of field they would need to use a small aperture and this reduces the amount of light hitting the sensor, controlling light means the exact settings the photographer wants to capture are achieved (see Photo progression post Week 5 for more).

Präkel begins by introducing the Flashgun. It is light, fits on top of the camera with the ‘hot shoe’, and is able to create bounced or diffused light to suit the photographer’s needs. Some downsides are, “the exposure is only correct for a set distance, which can produce dark backgrounds and overexposed foregrounds” (Präkel, 2007). Some flashguns can be external, connected by a wire or wirelessly, to allow the photographer full control over their shots light.

Präkel goes on to mention ‘guide numbers’ which is a concept I am still trying to understand. He says, “there are three key specifications for any flashgun – guide number (a measure of flash power for a given film speed), recycling time (the speed to recharge between flashes) and coverage (the angle that the flash beam covers).”

“Guide number = aperture x distance

To work out the aperture: measure the distance to the subject (use your lens scale). Divide the guide number by this distance to get the f-stop. Guide number of 45 (GN) Flash to subject distance is 8m (FD) Aperture is unknown (f) f = GN/FD 45/8 = f/5.6

To work out the flash distance: divide the guide number by working aperture to get the flash to subject distance. Guide number of 45 (GN) Flash to subject distance is unknown (FD) Aperture is f/11 (f) FD = GN/f 45/11 = about 4m”


I began by setting my camera to the window light (turns out setting a correct exposure was too low) and then adding my flashgun to my camera.


This turned out to be exposed correctly on my subject but underexposed outside. To fix this I did my settings again, with the light meter indicating the shot was over-exposed. Adding the flashgun again I took a much better photo of my subject with correct exposure throughout.


Präkel then talks about flash synchronisation. This is important when using cameras with a manual shutter as if the shutter speed is too fast, only some of the image will be affected by the flash. The limit on the Nikon D7000 is a 250th of a second.

He also touches on how the flash duration can affect how a photo looks. Instead of having a very quick shutter speed, the light being so fast has the effect of freezing a moving object whilst having a manageable shutter speed.

This comes on to rear curtain photography


This is achieved by having more than one flash with a relatively long exposure, one at the start and one at the end, in a dark environment. Using the example of someone running, with one flash at the start and on at the end, an initial outline of where the subject starts is formed. The second flash is the stronger outline of the two and motion blur is behind them. (This is seen better in this image);

First and second curtain sync

The book goes on to talk about the on-camera flash. This flash is unflattering and can lead to red-eye and, if using a wide angle lens, can lead to hot spots of light. The on-camera flash also only goes in one direction and gives a very flat frontal light. But it is good as a fill light in an already light situation.

Cultural Imaginaries and Landscape Photography

‘Cultural imaginaries’ is one aspect of art that I have previously had an interest in. Editing different photos together to create a new reality has always fascinated me, and in fact is the reason I chose to study photography, as you can see from my first post on my photographic inspiration. However, I have never taken or studied landscape photography so this is a new avenue for me.

This is a presentation that was done on these two topics in which the presenters focused on a different photographer or artist to show different aspects of this topic.

What is Landscape photography?

  • Showing a space or location
  • Often not focused on people but on objects in the world
  • Shows predominantly nature but can show the man-made world too

Esteban Diaz


These photos were taken by Diaz using a kite and a pinhole camera to get a birds-eye view landscape shot. He uses a tilt-shift effect to make the subject of this photos appear as miniatures as this adds meaning to them. Take the second shot for example. The tilt-shift technique makes the large landscape appear to just be a toy in an amusement park, like all the effort to build these huge structures is redundant in the size of the huge world.

Lauren Marsolier


Lauren Marsolier is another landscape photographer. She uses very simple photo subjects with a focus on composition to add meaning to her images. There is also a recognisable colour pallet consistency throughout her photos of bland colours, which adds to the emptiness of her images. There is also a theme of symmetry throughout her photos which I feel adds to the sense of emptiness, that there were people and they have left and all that is left is the location. This may be my favourite photographer I have come across whilst on this course, I just think these shots are beautiful. 

Alexander Gronsky


Alexander Gronsky is a landscape photographer who focuses on ‘location influencing emotion’. He has a series of photos he named, Less than One, in which he took images showing locations in the world where the population density is less than one person for every 10 square kilometres. He romanticises forgotten or neglected areas by showcasing their isolation as beauty.

Mishka Henner

Mishka Henner isn’t so much a photographer as an artist who collects and compiles images. He uses digital technology a lot, particularly Google’s Google Earth and Google Street View.


In this series, Henner gathered screenshots from Google Earth of Dutch military and government sites they desired to keep secret. The covering of these areas with pixels is an interesting concept, as is the fact that Henner does not take these images himself, he merely collects them.


This next series Henner collated is of sex workers around the world in desolate places that have been photographed by Google’s street view car. Although he did not take this photos, they have meaning in how they are framed and what is in the shot, and how Henner obtained them. These women’s faces are never seen, which takes away their identity, and they did not ask to have a photo taken of them but the background of the image, the location, speaks volumes. The desolate nature of the setting, along with the fact these images were found shows maybe how neglected these women are in society or how they are de-humanised in society as they are objectified by their patrons. This is an interesting method of finding and sharing images the Henner gives meaning to, by collating them.

Digital Imaginaries

I shall show images from digital artists that I admire and then describe why I believe this to be the best form of art.

These are a few examples of digital imaginary photography. All of these images show an impossible reality but that reality is made real in an image. They are almost reminiscent of paintings and drawings when there was no option to capture exactly how someone or something looked, and expressions were coherent among artists. The option of digitally enhancing or mixing an image is also a method for an artist to layer added meaning. For example, the image of the Black Panther by Cisco Giestas shows what forms this animal by literally making the animal out of its habitat. This is called a double exposure and is achieved by mixing two images together. I attempted the same thing a few years ago.

Taylor Swift double Exposure



Gender, Gaze and Otherness Presentation

This is a presentation done by another group, therefore I do not have the slides to go along with my notes. I shall attempt to find similar photos to the ones discussed and work by the artist discussed.

Lee Miller

Lee Miller - The woman in Hitlers bath

Lee Miller in Adolf Hitler’s bathtub, Munich, 1945.

This is a photo by Lee Miller of ‘herself sitting in Hitler’s bath’. Her style supposedly developed fashion photography in surrealism. This is an interesting concept to me, linking representation into a photo of another subject perhaps, and is something I shall keep in mind for my final photo series.



(From: )

They briefly touched on a technique in film photography called solarisation. They described it as mixing a film negative with a positive, created by using a flash when developing the film. (See for more).


This is topic I have come across before while studying literature and cinema. I have known intertextuality to be a reference to another text, the use of which is to add meaning to the user. For instance, Mary Shelley references the Rime of the Ancient Mariner in her novel Frankenstein, as this contextualises her character’s actions and foreshadows his demise. However, a photo is a still image and thus has no narrative progression. Therefore intertextuality in an image is understanding one photo in the context of another.

Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus is known for her work looking at the ‘freaks’ of society, the social outcasts. The saying, “meaning depend on the difference between opposites”, was mentioned though I cannot find a source.

Her Work:

Diane Arbus 2

Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967

I have seen this photo before in my set reading (See ‘The Photograph – Graham Clarke – Chapter 2 How Do We Read a Photograph?‘ pp. 28-30) and it highlights what  Diane Arbus was trying to show.

Arbus subverts what was then a common view of social outsiders, that they are freaks, and instead gives them centre stage. All of her photos show a proud subject, not hiding away but accepted and this was not common at the timeof her series. Each of her photos highlights ‘otherness’ as well as gaze, their direct interpolation shows the subjects pride in the image and their ‘otherness’ qualities are not hidden but celebrated.

(To see more )

Nan Goldin

Nan Goldin uses themes of domesticity, focusing on the harshness of life featuring drugs, sex and violence.

Nan one month after being battered 1984 by Nan Goldin born 1953

Nan Goldin, ‘Nan one month after being battered‘ 1984

This self-portrait shot signifies a lot of the themes in her work. The setting is clearly domestic but the facial expression is not one of comfort or homeliness. The bruising and blood-eye all connote the extreme violence that has befallen Goldin. The central framing and direct looking at the camera shows Goldin is not trying to hide the fact that she has been beaten, but is highlighting a part of her life that most people would try to hide. This shows her representing ‘otherness’ through gaze. She is using these themes to convey a message of power and realisation.

Misty and Jimmy Paulette in a taxi, NYC 1991 by Nan Goldin born 1953

Nan Goldin, ‘Misty and Jimmy Paulette in a taxi, NYC‘ 1991

This shot again reflects those connotations. The subjects are looking directly at the camera, and therefore the viewer, and are proud to be who they are. Discriminated by some, Goldin emphasizes the otherwise perhaps not talked about people/communities.

Nan Goldin's “Amanda In The Mirror”

Nan Goldin’s “Amanda In The Mirror

Goldin uses mirrors a lot in her work. Perhaps it is symbolic of looking directly at one’s self, or it is just the surface of that person and therefore a false ‘reflection’ of them as a whole person, maybe it is to critique a society obsessed with looks. (This shot reminds me of a shot of Dahl (Katee Sackhoff) from Riddick (David Twohy, 2013)) Goldin focus’ on photos of homosexual and transgender people.

Sarah Maple

Sarah Maple highlights injustices towards ‘others’ and particularly women. She is a feminist activist and shows her views through her photographs which highlight gender and pride.

Sarah Maple 1Sarah Maple 2Sarah Maple 3

She subverts common ideas of ‘lady behaviour’ and views toward women by showing the opposite. These images are powerful because they are so different to common representations of women in society. She uses shock as a tool to represent an alternative view of ‘gender’ and ‘others’. (See for more).