Sunday, October 24, 2010

visit James Jean

If you haven't seen the artwork of James Jean before, go check out his amazing website. Everyone's aesthetic sensibilities are different, but my reaction, while perusing his images, was rapt fascination. Some of those pictures were so hypnotic to me that I would have stared at them all day, had they been hanging on a wall in my house. The man can make art.

And there's another skill I need to learn: how to photograph paintings correctly, so that they look as if they've been scanned. How do photographers do that without suffering the problems of white "flash spots" or edge convexity caused by lens distortion? How do they make sure that every square inch of the painting is lit equally? And how do they make sure the painting is seen in its "true" light (if such a thing exists), i.e., not too bright or too dark? Much to learn, I have.



Charles said...

The lighting problem is solved by highly diffused lighting, which is generally achieved by bouncing the light off of something else (preferably something white but not shiny--my brother uses a white bedsheet when photographing his candles, I think). This eliminates the need to use flashes and lights all areas of the painting equally.

As for barrel distortion, this is usually most severe and noticeable when zooming, but any optical distortion can be removed post-production by warping the photo in the opposite direction (PhotoShop even has a lens correction filter for this).

The "true light" issue is something else than can be fixed post-production (PS Curves allows you to select a white point, a black point, and a gray point, all of which let you fiddle with the white balance), but many professional photographers set their white balance beforehand with a standard card of neutral hue (usually gray).

Just some tips from a fellow amateur photographer.

Kevin Kim said...

I've learned a new term: barrel distortion. Thanks.