The Texture of the Unpolished

Although I can't imagine living life as a professional creative person without Photoshop, I don't rely on it nearly as hard as a photographer as I did as an Art Director or Graphic Designer. Advertising creatives seem to rely on images as a cook uses ingredients in a dish: you mix n' match, slice n' dice, and rob Peter to pay the ever insatiable Paul. As a photographer, I work very hard to capture virtually everything the way I want it in camera. That way, all I'm using Photoshop for is resizing and some sharpening.

I've become happily dependent upon Apple's Aperture image software, primarily for its ability to archive images and help me sort my way through literally thousands of them, pretty quickly. It's more of a database program than an image editor.

Anyone who has ever worked with me even a small number of times knows that I love stories, and adore color and emotion in an image. Managing processes and details has always been my Achilles' heel. Aperture makes my feet a little more, well, planted.

Yesterday, I began in earnest on my creative promotion that I hope will pay my way to my first photographic safari of the Pacific Northwest. My image search brought me a little south of my Hopewell / Princeton home, into Trenton, New Jersey, the capitol of the state. My specific quest was for a stereotypical used car, or rather, used clunker lot, complete with colorful triangle flags, and white shoe polish prices on the windshields. Although I didn't find that iconic car lot, I did find reason to shoot many, many images of the crusty, hardworn area that is Trenton.

It was the middle of the day, and the sun was high…and very hot. I had sustained a bit of sunburn from a fruitless fishing outing the day before, and the slightest degree of sun on my neck and arms was really uncomfortable. Additionally, the sun was so bright that it made reviewing the images on my Nikon's otherwise stellar LCD panel nearly impossible. I had to rely on my training, which taught me to ultimately convert the aperture settings, exposure values, and shutter speeds into correct "takes" in my head.

This morning, I "dumped" hundreds of images into Aperture, and used it to quickly sort and stack the bounty of the day.

I didn't get my "get me to Oregon" car lot, but I did stumble upon some wonderful light and color paintings, despite the fact that the harsh, stinging sun was nearly directly overhead…pretty much one of the worst times for shooting.

Life can be slow and prickly in Trenton. The images show that. But the unpolished texture is often more compelling to me than the buffed and clean. I'll be spending some time today putting those rusty, peeling textures into an organized place.

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