Eggleston - April 03, 2006

Tonight I watched "William Eggleston in the Real World." It was OK. The thing that most got me was envy at being able to just spend your life walking around taking photographs. Man would that be nice.

The thing that annoyed me the most was that there were a few scenes where Almereyda used the video equivalent of the Photoshop "Highlight/Shadows" adjustment, which I loathe. I guess the lighting in the room (a gallery of his work at the Getty Museum) was such that Eggleston was shadowed. So Almereyda used that filter to bring up Eggleston's face and bring down the white walls in the room. I suppose aesthetically it was important to bring up those shadows. I've certainly done it myself. But I usually meticulously mask areas of the photo I want to bring up. You can't even tell it's been done. When someone uses Photoshop H/S filter, the automated nature of it inevitably produces annoying and obvious halos around everything. Plus, it just removes all the dynamics from a photo. It's because it's procedural. I guess in video, you can't go and mask things out that way. So you probably have to just use that adjustment.

It's really awful and, in my opinion, amateurish...



Good thing I am just an amateur because otherwise I would feel mighty sheepish right now. I use the H/S tool all the time and love it. If it creates halos on my images I guess my eyesight it too poor to notice. Really Tom I think over indulgence with Photoshop processing is played up way too much. IMO, most of the flaws that pros like you notice really go unseen by most people. Particularly when posted to a website (prints are a whole other issue), what difference does most of this make? Not much to me. Sure, I can notice when a shot is super fine, but to me the key to a good picture has much less to do with details of post processing (while ackowledging that pp can ruin a good shot) and everything to do with how you see and shoot the picture in the first place. I am going through this same issue now at work on a totally non-photographic design question. How much of what graphic designers tell us is crucial to success really is? (I am working on a trade show booth design now)

Posted by: Bob on April 4, 2006 12:36 PM


I can understand what you mean, especially if it is a commercial product and meant to be of a professional level. There are some basics film makers should be following and having some lights in an interview is first year stuff. My opinion anyway.


I work with some graphic designers and it's fairly common for people/ clients to write off their many years of training and experience, especially in this day and age with the software available, and think they know better.

But, as we like to joke in our section when a scientist comes down with a gawd awfull poster design, would they like us to come up and run their experiments, do their field work, write their papers..... just as you don't hire a doctor to do your plumbing or vica versa, those rules and training and experience count for a lot when trying to get a message across in a crowded environment.

my 2c anyway :-)

Posted by: jeremy on April 4, 2006 11:07 PM

Oh yeah....

Nice image Tom, lovely tones and light.

Posted by: jeremy on April 4, 2006 11:11 PM