Moving up a level this exercise looks at making changes to a portrait that may be considered to be altering reality. I used a self-portrait taken outside using available light with my face in shade out of direct light as instructed.

 1.
 I needed to make a selection of just the face and then increase the contrast and brightness . Working on a duplicate background layer I used the magnetic lasso tool with a feather setting of 30px in Photoshop to make my selection and created a layer mask. I found until I increased the amount of feathering the editing was very noticeable (it was quite difficult to be very precise around the hairline). However I feel this procedure has actually enhanced the image and as the aim of this part of the exercise was for the image to remain natural looking I am pleased with the outcome. This is considered standard dodging , not a new technique by any means , and as such perfectly legitimate to my mind. I feel I have learned something new through this exercise and would certainly use this kind of enhancement for processing some of my portraiture work. 

Before selection. 

After selection. The difference is quite subtle. 

Before                                                         After

 2.
Making a selection of just the iris and pupil I then exaggerated the colour and brightness of the pupils. Again I just made a subtle alteration and at this point if I had made greater adjustment’s  I feel the image might become a less honest representation but actually still reasonably truthful.



Before                                                                                 After

3.
Taking a further step I then altered the hue of the eyes (my eyes are green/grey and I have always fancied greener more emerald eyes! ) . At this point I think the image started to become unreal and I felt I was beginning to alter the truth. The person in the image was becoming someone different, but is this such a bad thing? I use cosmetics to enhance my appearance, is it so wrong to use digital techniques for the same purpose? My daughter has green coloured contact lenses what is the difference between those and changing my eye colour digitally? However a photographic portrait is usually presumed to be an accurate and truthful representation of that person , at what stage does this type of enhancement falsify that reality? This is quite pertinent for me to consider carefully as I continue with my portraiture work. 


Glossy magazine are notorious for their use of digitally enhanced images that depict models with perfect skin , teeth , and bodies . Any, even minor , imperfections are frequently airbrushed out. Whilst this may be deemed acceptable in the world of advertising I am not convinced too much enhancement  has a place in my own everyday workflow. I am not against using methods to improve my subject occasionally, remove spots etc.  But I also see nothing wrong with flaws and wrinkles and often exaggerate the latter -- a kind of reverse enhancement perhaps. Most importantly I feel a meaningful photographic portrait should show a likeness not too far removed from reality.  

                 Before                                                                                      After                                                              

Original                                                     Final result

 


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