Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Editing Editing Editing

I'm in the middle of a marathon editing session of Marilyn Monroe photographs. There are 28 in the series and over the course of March and April I slowly edited 13 of them. Within the past 36 hours, I have managed to knock out 12 with only three more to go. I figured out the trick - I leave an unedited one up on the desktop and can't check my email until I finish it. Surprisingly that works well.

I have discovered a few things in the editing process:

1) I'm editing over 1950s spot-toning - sometimes the spot-toner did a good job, sometimes they did not. Moral of this story: I can't help but love the healing tool even more (didn't think that was possible) OR my have times changed in photo editing. Below is the craziest use of spot-toning ever (removing a fingerprint?).

[I'd like to imagine that the guy in the checkered suit is Weegee]

2) I am getting to know how a pencil falls on the back of photo paper - how it smears, where the points lay in certain letters, etc. The red pen looks like it left a little bit of blood in the corner:

3) There are no longer any pure blacks in these images. They are covered with what looks like photographic dandruff. Since I am changing the opacity of the image, I am not worried about getting rid of all these spots but only the ones large enough that one can still see at half opacity (and those that obstruct Marilyn's face). The night sky (can you see Ursa Major or the satellite trails?):

4) I absolutely hate editing via the healing brush areas like this most (can't say that ever was an issue in any other series I've ever worked on):

5) My two obsessive collections have been combined as I realize that my scanner bed is as dirty as some of the photographs - i.e. cat hair on top of scanned Marilyn photographs. Here's to wondering if I should leave it?

6) I now overlook the weird dots David C. Nolan left on the edges to keep his text straight. At first I nearly edited all of them out but it was essential that they remain. They play more of a prominent role once the photograph is overlaid. Also, he has more spelling errors than I ever imagined. [See above in the "(Dead)" image.]

Hopefully by the end of today I will be finished with this portion of the Tale of Two Obsessions installation (editing and rough draft prints).

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