Sunday, October 28, 2012


The good news is that I didn't have to wear the chicken suit tonight.  One of the Boy Scouts volunteered for that.  I thanked him profusely.  I'm not sure he understood why.   His performance was the highlight of the Court of Honor.  Yet, in the process, while I was imagining my role as the wife in the chicken suit, I got a new earworm, '...the things we do for love, the things we do for love, like walking in the rain and the snow when there's nowhere to go...'  You know that song.  Now you can have a new earworm too.

I spent my afternoon humming that song as I Photoshopped pictures from the costume party that I was supposed to have been chaperoning.  I didn't do much with the ruler last night.  (You don't believe I actually brought a ruler, did you?)  In middle school, the kids really aren't clinging to each other yet.  The boys' hands look awkward as they try to casually rest them on the girls' shoulders or scarier still, their waists.  They were almost always five or six inches apart.  No ruler needed. One chaperone did have to stop a boy who wanted to snap a picture of a girl coming out of the bathroom.  Those are small potatoes.  High school will be the chaperoning nightmare.  I haven't decided if I'm going to volunteer for that yet.  

I have to admit that I was embarrassed to be there last night.  I didn't know what I was going to do with myself.  As I walking out, trying to get to the school on time, Mike told me to take the good camera so I could get some good pictures.  Nick didn't really slow down for me to get more than one picture of him.  He told me I embarrassed him by taking all those shots.  The most embarrassing part was that I suddenly took myself seriously as the one who was going to get some decent pictures of these kids in their costumes.  No one had asked me to take pictures.  I had initially intended to snap some shots of my friends' kids and text them.  But then, with this big camera with the heavy zoom attached to it, people started jumping in front of me and posing.  Well, okay!  The challenging part was that until the flash went off, I had no idea who I was seeing through the viewfinder, especially the way the kids were moving around.  Remember that the gym was dark, lit only by sparkly lights that ruined whatever night vision I might have left.  I was shooting into the dark. 

And the pictures were awful.  I'm telling you that I took more pictures that were badly framed, kids with their heads sliced in half, a half of a couple dancing, blurry butts, and washed out, red-eyed faces.  Here's another problem.  The kids danced in big circles, so unless I wanted a picture of someone's backside, I was SOL to see the kid doing something cool on the opposite side.  And no, the principal of the school was not going to be happy seeing a bunch of pictures of kids' butts.  At least he didn't mind my suggestion that I bring a thumb drive in so the kids could get prints of themselves, so I wasn't in trouble for appointing myself as the photographer. 

But that begs the question - how am I going to provide any decent prints?

The answer is that I have Photoshop.  Oh man, how is it that I have not become addicted to this program before?  It's because I've never struggled with such a bad set of photographs before.

Today, I took a few zits off a sweet girl's face, not all of them, mind you, but the worst of them.  I didn't want it to be obvious that I'm doing it.  I cropped one kid's profile out of the background of another shot, lightened it up and found a great picture lurking there.  I shifted another picture into the pink by adjusting the hue because the girl's pink dress looked so great against her blue hair, which turned only slightly purple when I messed with the color.  I blurred out people in the background of another shot.  I slid the zombie's picture into the red zone to highlight the fake blood on his chin and T-shirt.  And I took out all the red-eye except for the creepy court jester who just needed to have a bad case of laser eyes.  I have processed a bunch of cool pictures!  Well, at least I think they're cool.  We'll have to see if they pass the Mike test.  Mike is actually a good photographer as opposed to me, a hack, who happens to be standing there with a camera in her hands. 

While I was working away at Photoshop, I got to thinking about the ethics of taking away zits in a photograph.  See, I liked this girl whose face I was adjusting.  She's a sweet girl, but not quite the top of the food chain at school, if you get my drift.  If I can get a really great picture of her into the yearbook, for example, will it raise her score on the popularity scale?  Who wants their zitty stage to be memorialized forever anyway?  Who knows if some cute boy won't look at her slightly differently if he can be directed toward the beauty beyond the zits.

The other side of it is that I, myself, am now a proponent of all that I have protested in women's magazines.  I cheered when Jamie Lee Curtis published an untouched photo of herself on the cover of More magazine in 2002.  Was it really that long ago?  I just hate when I don't even recognize a shot of someone famous because it's been extensively retouched.  So why am I willing to do it for a fourteen year old kid?  Am I a hypocrite?

Maybe I am.

Cropping, blurring, lightening, darkening, fake-blood enhancing, and zit-busting.  It was so much fun!

Thank you for listening, jb

No comments:

Post a Comment