Project: Fayetteville Farmer’s Market – Project Explanation

This week’s photography project was a doozy!  The subject was the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market.

This gave me great practice in a few different areas.  First, I was shooting in extremely bright light at noon-time, and most of my subjects  were standing in dark shadows.  Trying to counteract or at least minimize the damage done by such terrible lighting conditions was a pretty constant concern when shooting, especially in a packed catch-as-catch-can shooting environment.  Second, I’m trying to get rid of my nervousness with shooting strangers and all that entails: asking permission, putting them at ease, and trying to capture a sense of who that person is after only having the briefest of interaction with them.  After asking the first few people if I could photograph them as they work, it became easier and easier to do.  I think it helped a lot that I was able to introduce a very clear reason for wanting to photograph them: “I’m working on a photo project about vendors at the Farmer’s Market.” is a lot clearer and ‘innocent’ sounding than, “I want  to photograph you because you look interesting,” or the like.  Thankfully, not a single person I asked told me no.

The main part of the project, though, has little to do with the actual photographing part of the shoot, but instead with the post-processing of the images in the “digital darkroom”.  I’ve been reading Annie Liebovitz’s At Work (I can’t recommend this book highly enough) and Ansel Adam’s The Negative as well as working with John Beardsworth’s Advanced Digital Black & White Photographyso needless to say I’ve been very into black and white editing recently.  Also, Anne pointed out to me that Kodachrome film is now officially dead–  the last roll of Kodachrome film being processed last month (July 2010).  I’ve always loved the feel of older color photographs– especially the look created by Kodachrome film. Pictures shot with Kodachrome film seem to be both heavily saturated and desaturated at the same time.  So I decided to treat each photo in three different ways.  In the first set, I simply corrected the color as I would a standard color photograph.  In the second set, I treated the photo as black and white, editing color channels, brightness, and contrast, and sharpening as necessary.  In the final set, I adjusted the settings of each photograph to resemble a “vintage” feel–like that created by  kodachrome film or (older generation) polaroid film by editing color channels, saturation, white balance, etc.

The three posts following this one, will feature each set of color correction styles.  The first set will show what I dubbed “standard” color correction.  The second set will show the black and white edits.  The third set will show the “vintage” color corrections.  Each set includes exactly the same shots, in exactly the same order; the only difference lies in the manner in which I treated color in each set.  What’s interesting is that a certain shot that works very well in black and white, might not work at all in standard correction set or in the “vintage” correction set.  Other shots work well with all three treatments, but the overall tone or mood of the shot changes drastically when viewed in one form or another.

Feel free to use these permalinks to see the different sets from Fayetteville Farmer’s Market:

Set One: “Standard” Color Correction

Set Two: Black & White Color Treatment

Set Three: “Vintage” Color Correction

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