Surreal or Real?
This year has certainly offered some real challenges to just about everyone. It almost seams like something out of another world, unreal, almost like a dream! Do you get a feeling that it is Surreal?
Especially within the photography industry, artist strive to set themselves apart not only from other artists, but also from the rapidly improving images that are taken with cell phones. Strangely enough filters in cell phones can make a fair image into something that may be fairly good.
So when an artist goes back and looks at an image that was through to be good at the time, but maybe it did not get the recognition that it may have been due. Perhaps it was very similar to other images that may have been released just prior or at the same time. While it is clearly important for most to stay within their 'brand' as it relates to their business, many photographers will experiment every now and again and release, perhaps a special limited edition piece that may reflect a certain period in time, a feeling, or even and event. This images can be edited to give almost a dreamy appearance in order to record an event or even a particular feeling. One such artist who has make quite an international name for herself is Brooke Shaden (Brookeshaden.com). Much of her art is fantasy that in some cases relates to how she is feeling at a moment.
While producing this type of work with every image certainly may not be appropriate for everyone, it certainly bears a little examination to say the least. How can a work be made surreal? Good Question!
Sometimes all it takes is a little color toning to change the palate apart from what one may expect to see in the real world. For photoshop users, one of the quickest and easiest ways to dramatically change the color palate is to use the "Color Lookup table" under the adjustments panel. Photoshop comes with quite a few which can even make a daylight image appear as though it was taken must later in the evening. By creating a hue and saturation layer the colors, saturation, and exposure of an image can be changed dramatically. Artistic filters can be added to create almost endless results. Lets not forget any number of actions that are available commercially or free in some cases.
Lightroom of course has hundreds of presets available that can turn an image to B&W, change the exposure, colors, white balance with just a simple click of the mouse (or tablet). Tone curves are also available in Lightroom for a variety of results.
Not to be left out of the mix, some artists have moved on to programs such as Capture One. This program of course has various options for color grading. I am not a Capture one expert, but Youtube certainly has many examples of how an image be be slightly or dramatically changed using this program.
Most image editing programs have some degree of color grading, which is certainly worth a look. Consider creating a surreal image, if not for publication, at least to express how you may feel about the world around you.