Picture Perfect Design Inspiration
Roos International Picture Perfect Design Inspiration
An Inspired Image Made Perfect by Design Photography is an interesting medium because it combines elements of science, art, and craftsmanship. Many people count on photography to show an event as it was, without much of an idea of just how much talent it takes to render a photographic that actually looks ‘true to life.’ And fine art photography takes all of this to an entirely different level—with the artist sometimes manipulating the image produced and daring to present a scene not as it looked, but as it to their artistic eye, should or might have looked. It’s a bold step to take, but if done correctly, the image produced can evoke deep internal feelings that leave a lasting impression on the viewer. For instance, look at “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico,” created by the famed photographer Ansel Adams.
Inspired by Reality
This famous photograph is one of the most famous and collectible of all time—with Sotheby’s auctioning a single print $609,600 (on October 17th , 2006). Not nearly as famous is the story behind this photograph. In the words of Adams himself in Architects & Artisans:
“We were sailing southward along the highway not far from Espanola when I glanced to the left and saw an extraordinary situation… I almost ditched the car and rushed to set up my 8×10 camera… The situation was desperate: the low sun was trailing the edge of the clouds in the west, and shadow would soon dim the white crosses. Realizing as I released the shutter that I had an unusual photograph which deserved a duplicate negative, I swiftly reversed the film holder, but as I pulled the darkslide the sunlight passed from the white crosses; I was a few seconds too late!”
With only one useable negative, it would take all of Adams’ skill to relate the scene he saw with his eye as well as the scene that was beginning to etch itself on his mind—the moon rising above the hills and the graveyard crosses– and to capture the feeling of transition between day and night in a finished photographic print.
For anyone unfamiliar with fine arts photography, the last paragraph may not make a lot of sense. Isn’t the image the actuality, you might ask? Well, since you have now viewed the finished print from Ansel Adams, here’s a chance to see an actual contact print, before manipulation, direct from Adams’ negative:
Post-Processing in the Pre-Digital World
It could be argued back and forth for the rest of eternity which image actually captured the way things really looked in Hernandez, NM on that October evening back in 1941. But that would miss the point. Both images are in actuality the same photograph—but show a ‘real’ scene. All Ansel Adams did—not to take anything away from his craftsmanship—was to decide how to ‘accentuate the positive,’ in the negative.
And in those pre-Photoshop days, here’s how he did it: with ‘dodging and burning’ tools and an old-fashioned print enlarger.
‘Dodging’ means to withhold light from the photographic print paper, while ‘burning’ means to give more light to the print. The tools used to do this are shaped differently to help selectively allow less or more exposure on parts of the print. Those that get less light will print lighter, and those that receive more light will print darker.
More exposure can cause details that were faint to become more prominent, while less exposure can cause details that were lost in darkness to step forward and be perceived by the eye more easily. The edges of the tools are typically feathered, and the artist must continually move them in order to avoid exposure lines. Fragments of a second can make a visible difference.
Those with an interest in the skills required and how the sense of artistic sensibility can affect the final print can view a video on the techniques here.
So what the viewer sees in a finished print from Ansel Adams is the product of tremendous skill and time spent to make a photograph look just as how the artist wanted it to look. Adams treated each element of the scene by considering how it related to everything else around it. And, at the end of the day, the photograph absolutely depicts reality and how it was on that day in “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” because every element in it was actually there already in the photo negative. It just took an artist’s eye to allow others to see that reality as Adams saw it.
Art historian H. W. Janson called “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” “a perfect marriage of straight and pure photography”. An artist’s eye, the skill of a craftsperson and an inspired vision can combine into a stunning creation.
What is the Right Image for Your Design Inspiration?
If you are looking for ways to take your own design inspiration to a level of true artistry, you should know about Roos International. They have been fostering 30 years of Design Inspiration, and invite you to their online showroom where you can be inspired by thousands of material, product, and wall covering ideas. Like the Ultra Matte laminate materials, you can see here. This is the newest innovation in laminate, with a revolutionary surface based on nanotechnology. It’s beautiful in black, gray, and white, s phenol free and is postformable for both vertical and horizontal surfaces. Plus an extremely appealing tactile sensation you have to feel to appreciate.
And best of all? It’s highly scratch resistant with no fingerprints left behind. Because, if we may be permitted a small pun, prints belong in a photography museum—not on your design surfaces.
Interested? You can see or download a PDF on Ultra Matte laminate.
Come and see thousands of ideas for architectural and building design inspiration. Roos International makes it easy to design and create your own project with beautiful products, downloadable technical datasheets and application examples online. So don’t wait to create your own picture perfect project today.
Roos International will help inspire your own story with the largest selection of decorative surfacing materials for walls, surfaces, and ceilings all in one place.
30 years of Design Inspiration.