Photo Envy #3

I found this in a late Feb. 2012 NY Times Sunday Magazine and I was stunned by the beauty of these portraits of survivors of the Japan tsunami by Denis Rouvre.

The landscapes that accompany this are not as compelling to me, but they help the reader understand the narrative.

The online reproduction was not nearly as beautiful as the good old paper magazine I got Feb. 26, 2012.

The link to the online version is here. Consider me envious of this amazing work.

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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Retouching

How much is too much? Retouching that is. Yes, this seems like a recurring theme for my blog, but I guess it goes to who I am as a photographer and how I see pictures.

Sports Illustrated unveiled their 2012 Swimsuit issue recently and while I usually really appreciate the production value of this once a year magazine, I feel like they stepped over the line of what make an image feel real and believable. Maybe they expect the viewer to “suspend disbelief” as we are asked so many times while consuming movies and TV and making this magazine believable is not their goal.

I have a little (very little) perspective, having photographed a half dozen or so WWE swimsuit issues over the years. I feel like combining some of the world’s most beautiful women with some of the most accomplished photographers in the world while adding amazing and beautiful locations somehow is enough without all the photoshop.

very little retouching and some fly away hair makes this seem more believable

I’m sure the un-retouched images were beautiful and nearly flawless to begin with (see the video clips on the site, no retouching there, just some color grading and it looks pretty great to me), but they over smoothed these models to the point of looking unreal in the stills.  To me the final images look more like pseudo-photo illustrations or cyborgs models.

This is where they lost me. I can’t see past unrealistic looking models They look plastic to me. It’s a real shame, because I’m sure with very little or no retouching, it would have already been wonderful.

Maybe Sports Illustrated can take a step back next year and give us more real looking images and restore some of the realism to the magazine and web sit that used to exist.


Take a look for yourself at the images on their web site here and let me know if I’m over reacting.

The one thing I think Sports Illustrated has lost in all this is the believability. They’ve lost me for sure. When you look at magazines, whether they are home, technology, fashion etc, one of the things I think you want, is to believe in what you see.

Right now I don’t believe much of what Sports Illustrated is delivering in their swimsuit issue and I suspect many people agree with me.

So I ask the question…how much is too much when it comes to retouching?


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Web Site Update: Long Time Coming

Much of the past 2 months have been spent on a significant web site update/upgrade.

These projects always take about twice as long as expected and this was no exception.

What started in mid-November and was hoping to launch in early January, just plain took longer.


Typically lost in the process of a project like this are the regular blog updates, which I am planning on returning to now that this has concluded.

Send me your feedback and let me know your thoughts.

heather mclaughlin - February 28, 2012 - 7:33 pm

loving what i see here, rich. keep up the good work.

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New Photoshop Demo, Content Aware Fill

I’m not one to lean too heavily on the deep use of Photoshop for my final look, but this caught my eye.

Adobe has posted a video of the new content aware fill feature of the new Photoshop.

Now keep in mind, these videos of features in yet to be released software always look better and easier than they really are, but

if this is anything like it looks, this will either make life much easier or create expectations that are impossible to meet.

This could give new meaning to “fix it in post”.



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Photo Envy #2

Typically when you have influences in photography you admire people for the one craft they have mastered. That is unless you admire the work of Walter Iooss. When people ask me why I like Walter’s work so much, my answer is “because he’s as amazing at photographing the Super Bowl as he is at photographing super models.” 

But that is not all he does. He develops a rapport with his subjects that maintains an authenticity in his images that is simply beautiful.
With subjects like Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and the list goes on. It includes a multitude of images of un-famous people, whose lives are beautiful, like his images of kids of Cuba playing sports.
Walter shot his first Sports Illustrated assignment while still in high school in 1959, has graced the cover of the famed sports magazine over three hundred (yes, 300) times. And he’s still doing it and doing it near the age of 70 at the highest level.

If there is one career I aspire to, it’s Walter’s. The quality, evolution and diversity is simply stunning in the photography business.
You can read Walter’s entire biography at his web site here and quite frankly lose yourself in the depth and wealth of amazing images in his catalogue. And it’s quite a story of how he combined hard work and tremendous work ethic into a marvelous career.

My 2nd installment of Photo Envy celebrates Walter Iooss, who beautifully combines the world of photography with sports and swimsuit models like nobody else.

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