Creating New Pictorialist Photographs Digitally

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The techniques that produced pictorialism are now available to the masses with digital cameras and image-manipulation software. To be sure, many film and digital photographs look like paintings, but the process used to make them has changed as the technology has. There are methods to produce photographs that look like paintings—everything from photographing in a mist to using special-effect painting filters in Photoshop. To make a pictorialist photograph today, all you have to do is search the Internet for "pictorialism" and "Photoshop."

Gone are the chemicals and trays that were used to develop a pictorialist image. When you do a search, you can find many ways to complete the process in Photoshop or another image-processing program. Some sites will describe a process similar to the Photoshop process described in the following paragraph (in case you have the inclination to make a photograph pictorialist).

Begin by applying a black-and-white adjustment layer (Layer > Adjustment Layer > Black and White). Moving the different color sliders gives you enhanced contrast in areas that correspond to certain colors. In the image in Figure 17.3, I've enhanced the green so that the light (bright)

areas of the image were once the green areas. From that image, you can use a soft brush to apply vignetting around the photo's edges, much like film photographers would manipulate a photo by under-developing parts of it. Finally, you can apply a Gaussian blur to the image (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur). Figure 17.3 shows the before and after images when you apply this process.

CHIAROSCURO: THE ART FORM THAT NEVER DIES

Another pictorialist technique was to get chiaroscuro, or intense contrast, in a photograph. When the weather and light cooperate, you can get chiaroscuro in digital images, as shown in Figure 17.2. A break in a cloudy sky on a winter day is an ideal opportunity for this type of shot. To obtain the effect, you shoot at a wide angle into the sun. Julia Margaret Cameron was one of the first pictorialists. Her celebrity portraits of the 1860s and 1870s were photographed in the chiaroscuro style with soft focus.

Chiaroscuro Still Life Painting

Figure 17.2

Just as chiaroscuro has lived seemingly forever in paintings, so, too, does it survive in photography, from obtaining it with film to mastering it in digital.

Figure 17.2

Just as chiaroscuro has lived seemingly forever in paintings, so, too, does it survive in photography, from obtaining it with film to mastering it in digital.

Photoshop Curve

Figure 17.3

Image before and after Photoshop manipulations were applied to make image look pictorialist.

Figure 17.3

Image before and after Photoshop manipulations were applied to make image look pictorialist.

Pictorialism of the late 19 th and early 20th centuries remains popular in galleries and museums today and can be expected to become more sought after in the future, increasing the value of the images. Re-creating the craft hasn't caught on as much as, say, trendy Lomography (see Chapter 14) because it's not connected to a certain class of cameras or film. Its closest counterpart—a process that was created independent of a camera model or film type—would be abstract photography like that produced by Aaron Siskind (see Chapter 23).

Future movements in the United States depend heavily on monetary rewards. Lomography has produced a profitable business because of the cameras and film that can be bought and sold. In the future, you'll probably see pictorialist filters in Photoshop and in mobile device applications because they can become part of profitable software. The pictorialist craft is wide open to be rediscovered, possibly becoming a moneymaker if some entrepreneur can develop and successfully market a camera setting for it or a camera and/or film that simulates the vintage pictorialist works of yesteryear.

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Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Compared to film cameras, digital cameras are easy to use, fun and extremely versatile. Every day there’s more features being designed. Whether you have the cheapest model or a high end model, digital cameras can do an endless number of things. Let’s look at how to get the most out of your digital camera.

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  • alberic
    How to do a pictorialist image in photoshop?
    8 years ago
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    How to make a pictorialsim photograph in photoshop?
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    How to do a pictorialism effect photoshop?
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    How to do digital pictorialism in photoshop?
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    How to make pictorialism?
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    How to make pictorialism with camera?
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    How to take a photo in a pictorialist style with a digital camera?
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