RAW: Pittsburgh presents Allure

August 06, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

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I've been to The Night Gallery.  I've been to Double Mirror at Delanie's Coffee.  Now I'm showing at RAW.

I'll have large prints and mounted 8x12's from my Black and White Water series.

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I'll have a variety of prints, including metal from my still in progress Positive Graffiti series.

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I'll have a bargain bin of miscellaneous signed test prints priced to move (so you can pay for your kids' college with a rare item when I'm huge).  BONUS: Everyone who buys a ticket through my artist profile gets one of the miscellaneous prints (like the one below) for FREE!

What is RAW?  It's an art show.  It's a music show.  It's a fashion show.  It's a good time out is what it is.

Do you have to be in the market for art to enjoy yourself?  NO!  You're not obligated to buy anything but your ticket.  Come bring a friend, have some drinks, listen to some music, dance a bit, and check out all the cool stuff.  You can discuss art and be as high or low brow as you like with it all.  Who knows, you might even find that piece that'll tie your whole room together... in my booth.

Head to www.rawartists.org/joshuatarquinio and get your tickets now!

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Pop Portraits

July 31, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Check it out…
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I’m calling it a pop portrait since it was inspired by my visit to the Warhol Museum.  Warhol was big on reproduction, photo booths, and flat, hard lit headshots like that one of Debbie Harry.  The reasons he liked that style were for the fact that it tended to wash out the skin so blemishes wouldn’t show and it would create hard lines that would facilitate his screen prints.

Andy Warhol also shot TONS of “screen tests” which pretty much amounted to a 4-minute slow motion film of a close-up of a person just looking into the camera.  The lighting for which was a little less harsh and direct than his headshots though.

So I took a little bit from each idea and turned it into this.  I’m not claiming to be original.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s ever thought to arrange 4 portraits into 1.  I’m just telling you where I got the idea to do it and why I appreciate the way it looks.  If you like it too, I’ll be happy to accommodate.  And if you’ve got the wall space, consider getting a series of individual prints.  Or do the whole family like in The Jonses.

 

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Portfolio Shoot/Re-touch Practice

July 02, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

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Jennifer Hooper, an actress from Erie, PA, answered a craigslist ad I put out about a mutually beneficial portfolio shoot.  She got some nice professional shots.  I got a healthier looking portfolio and proof that I am a bad mamma jamma when it comes to the retouch.  Now, I don't mean to imply that she was in desperate need of retouching.  Jenn's gorgeous regardless.  But if you don't know by now that everybody needs a little digital help these days, especially if they're modeling, then I'm amazed you were able to find the power button on your computer, let alone make it to my website.  Hey there, you.  Don't forget to take your pills and be careful on those stairs.

No, the bad mamma jamma part comes in with the subtlety of the retouching.  That picture above?  I didn't just remove a couple blemishes and wrinkles.

Take the big picture first....

_MG_7245-1RETOUCHfullcomparison Left side, original.  Right side, retouch.

You can immediately see that I warmed up the color, cleared blemishes and removed the circles from under her eyes.  How about that extra strand of hair hanging down in the lower left?

How about her eyes?

Eye Retouch Comparison Shot_MG_7245-1RETOUCHeyecompare The reason Jenn wore that shirt was because she felt it brought out her eyes.  Overcast natural light is great lighting for everything but bringing the color out of someone's eyes.  So after I removed a few of the red veins in her eyes, I brightened them a bit and added the faintest hint of a catch light.

Finally, the part that I believe sets me apart from the average person who thinks they can retouch a photo: the skin...

Skin Soften Comparison_MG_7245-1RETOUCHskinsoften Softened, but with texture retained.

A lot of "retouchers" will use a technique that removes most if not all texture and I'll admit, I was guilty in the past of doing this...

Skin Softened 2_MG_7245-1RETOUCHskinsoften2 Left: Good.  Right:  Bad.

My aunt and uncle have these massive framed 16x20's of their 4 kids' senior pictures on their wall.  They're all "airbrushed" like the shot on the right here.  I suppose if you factor for technology and techniques 10 years ago, they're pretty good.  They don't look like themselves though.  They look like plastic dolls and that brings me back to my whole point about making the photos as "you" as possible.  I realize this was a modeling shoot and, per se, it doesn't really matter how I photoshop Jen as long as she doesn't look SO fake that people call me out on it.  (As a matter of fact, I'll make it a point to write a post on that.)  But skin has texture.  People have pores.  If you want to look real, if you want to look like you or even human, you don't want your skin smeared into airbrush hell.

Don't let your next photographer turn you into a china doll... unless, you know, you're doing an art piece or an ad and that's the point.  You know what, your next photographer should be me anyway so I don't know why we're arguing about this.

No, you started it.


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Amanda’s Portraits

May 08, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Amanda’s a wife, a mother, a runner, and a success story.  She’s about to reach a personal milestone and she wanted a commemoration.

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End of the rough, windy road.  Out of the woods.  The angle’s chest height, forcing her to look down at you which makes her stronger.  Taking away the color forces you to take in the form instead of be distracted by the color and, in my opinion, allows you to see deeper into the photograph.

The other thing the black and white image does…

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It gets that unsightly orange reflection off her neck.

Let’s go a little deeper…

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Just a close-up, you think?  Look harder into her eyes.  Those are eyes that have been through a lot.  Less than a war, but more than just having a couple of kids.  They don’t presume to tell a story deeper or harder than yours, but they’ve got their story just the same.  And I’ll tell you it’s more inspiring than mine.  I won’t show you the before picture because I really didn’t do much more than sharpen it a bit.

Toward the end of our shoot, the sun was coming up around a bend in the road so we shot over there.  There were a bunch of different shots and they were all gorgeous.  I worked on the worst looking one just to see if I could bring anything out of it and it ended up being my favorite of that series…

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^Original

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^Final

Sun flare all over my lense gave a vintage kind of wash to it, so I went with that.  I brought the contrast up and sharpened it a bit, but I kept the darkest parts from going all the way to black.  Doing that kept everything in line with a vintage film look.  For those of you too young to know what film is, it makes it all Instagram-y.

In all, in under 2 hours, we took I think around 115 pictures.  Came out with around 30 I considered good enough to keep.  She spotted one I missed.  I made corrections and touch-ups to about 6 or 7.  I think the post production (sorting, uploading, editing, uploading) took about 3-4 hours.

 

Unrelated,did you know I have some artwork for sale?

 

 


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Theo

March 14, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

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Theo’s a gentleman disguised as a punk.  That’s how I see him anyway.  So, my idea for his shoot was “punk disguised as a gentleman.”

I drew up 5 images beforehand because I prefer to have a road map than just to show up and figure something out.  If or when we get the main shots done, we can play around and have fun.  The one above was one we got while we were playing around.  That’s Theo’s “I’m having fun” face.  Anyway take a look at the original and see what you can tell about the difference…

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Yeah, it’s darker but I’ve also taken pains to remove the glare from his glasses and the veins in his eyes.

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I needed a good location to shoot though, so I talked to my friend Tera and was able to procure some time pre-open at Bocktown Beer and Grill in Robinson Township.  Many, many thanks to them.

The first shot we nailed down was…

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The idea I was going for was to make the picture sort of seem as though I’m a friend he was expecting to show up and he’s acknowledging me as I join him.  Not entirely happy with how it turned out.  Not that it’s not a good picture.  I just envisioned his head being a little closer to the camera.  Minor tweak I’d want to go back and do if I could.

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This one, I was 98% pleased with.  The lighting was exactly what I wanted.  After we shot this one, we tried another pose here that I ended up not liking as much as this one.  Excluded from that other pose, were the salt and pepper shakers and candles.  I’d have liked to have redone this shot without the shakers and candle.  Can I edit the shakers out?  Of course.  It felt like it was more trouble than it was worth though.

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This one wasn’t part of the original plan.  Indeed I only ended up getting 2 of the 5 I sketched out.  I just kind of wanted to do this one because the back hallway inspired me and I’d never really done it before.  It was Theo’s idea to go from punk to posh as he got closer.

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This one ended up being my favorite at this location if not all day.  It really feels to me like this portrait captured that magic moment where the subject is relaxed, yet engaged, half posed, half candid.  Besides all that, he just looks good.

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After a most satisfying lunch we opted to slum it a bit and found this place.  I stared at the picture for a while.  Something wasn’t quite right.

I was paying more attention to the graffiti than to Theo.  Since he was the subject, I had to find a way to turn the attention to  him.

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So I saturated those colors a little bit more (because that was partly the point) and then I cropped it down to make it pointless to even try to decipher the graffiti.  (You know you were trying to do it in the above picture.  Let me know if you figure out what it says.)

I also made a point to crop out the GR in GRUBER to add a little more potential depth of meaning to the picture.

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The last picture in this post, I didn’t particularly want to take.  I’d prefer not to shoot anybody next to a gnarly set of roots unless they’re a woodsman, forest ranger, or a wood nymph.  The woods and punks have nothing to do with each other as far as I know and the combination to me is like taking a picture of a department store manager on a space ship.  Might look good, but it doesn’t fit.  It doesn’t describe the subject.  Thinking about it though, maybe this means something to Theo.  Maybe he grew up playing in the woods and to him this shot represents his emergence as the individual he is.  Either way, sometimes you can’t argue with an image that just plain looks good.

As always, don’t forget to like the facebook page and go buy some art.

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