I’ve been quiet on the blogging scene for the last few days – making last-minute revisions to my talk ‘The Seeing Eye: Getting the Picture, Developing the Image’ which was delivered last night to Oxford Photographic Society. It was a pleasure to speak to a very obviously enthusiastic club with about a hundred present. Not many clubs I’ve been to recently can boast so many members.
A question was posed last night: when do you delete images? It’s a topic that’s been aired before in our community and to which I have contributed.
It was a timely topic because having recently come back from the Lake District with three hundred images I have been pruning that number down in the last week. Half have now been trashed. Those are the ones that are either duplicates, very obviously out of focus or very clearly ‘tests’ before the camera is set for the ‘proper’ image. It’s always a difficult task, and the commonly accepted advice is not to delete images about which there is merely uncertainty until a period of time has elapsed – because processing ideas occur later rather than sooner. Having sent a bunch of images to the Recycle Bin on my Mac I always have that moment of doubt: have I just trashed something I shouldn’t have? Decisions, decisions!
It’s made all the more relevant because a week ago I was going through some old stuff and found this image. My first reaction to seeing this was: why didn’t I junk this years ago? It’s an image of a slatted vertical curtain of alternating red and blue plastic. I found this in the main turbine hall at Tate Modern in 2008.
And then I thought, let’s have a bit of fun and see what we can do with this. And here’s the result.
The steps involved to get this result are:
- Use the rectangular marquee tool to select a thin slice (in this case across the image).
- Go to Transform, Distort, and grab the handles on the edges of the rectangular slice and drag these to the top and bottom edges of the original image. You should now have a totally blurred image of vertically striped colour. Crop this if you wish to improve the overall ‘composition’.
- Save the result and also save a copy.
- Flip the copy (in this case horizontally).
- Expand the horizontal canvas of one of those two images by adding an image-width to one or other side.
- Drag in the other image into the expanded canvas, align carefully and flatten the image.
- You should now have an image of vertical stripes that is precisely symmetrical in all respects around its central vertical line.
- In Photoshop, go to Filter, Distort, Polar Coordinates, check the Rectangular to Polar box and click OK.
This process occasionally needs a little refinement with some images and I will come to that in another post.
Meanwhile it creates a problem: if I can do this with a totally rubbish image, is it wise to chuck anything away? I’ve just given myself another headache.