Friday, January 19, 2007

Airbrushed portraits

There are a few things that irritate the hell out of me and one of them is the overuse of airbrushing techniques to smooth out portraits. Worst of all is when this technique is used on children and young people with perfect complexions.

Turning everybody into a porcelain doll is just nauseating. There are several amateur photographers who, as is often the case with people where a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, seem to delight in turning everyone they photograph into a plastic effigy. I've even seen the technique used on babies. For heavens sake! A baby’s beautiful pure skin airbrushed and all those cute little wrinkles wiped out.

What on earth are these photographers thinking? Look at any leading professional photographer’s work. Yes, they airbrush their models but you can still see skin texture and pores. The gradations are subtle and smooth, colours blend beautifully across cheeks but you can still see that it's skin, except in a few highly stylised images where the obvious intention is a 'plastic' look.

I hope this article is food for thought. Portraits are about showing character through every line and crease in our faces. I've got far too much respect for life and reality to airbrush my subjects out of existence.

Cheers,
Paul
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