Wednesday, September 01, 2010

head shot

"So," you find yourself asking, "Ibid, what exactly are my tax dollars paying you to do all day?" I'll show you.

Ok, great. What's that?

We're updating this history book and adding pictures of all these former Walter Reed muckity mucks to it. It's gonna look kinda yearbookish. A bunch of pictures were given to me that were taken over the span of 100 years. Some were just the head and shoulders while others included down to below the waist. Even the head shots had varying levels of background and different sizes of head. No consistency at all. None apart from the flags they liked to use in the back. I had to study them all and figure out how to make them all look alike. Like they were all taken in the same sitting, just in different decades. They all ended up looking a whole lot like the first photo in the picture above.

That finished, I could see there were a lot of unfilled space. More unfilled than filled, truth be told. Nobody seemed to have them. The museum, the newspaper, public affairs, the history department, nobody. But, a lot of the pictures were hanging on the wall in an auditorium. They couldn't be taken down, but I could take pictures of them. But the glass was really, really reflective. So the photos end up a lot like the second picture. Ceiling lights reflect off the glass unless I hold the camera way up high. Then the chairs reflect. And, of course, I was reflected, too. I needed more material.

I returned later with official permission, an assistant, and a big white sheet. The assistant was there to hold the sheet. With his help I got pictures like the third photo. You can see the lights, but the sheet blocks the room. Alas, the photo suffers from severe keystoning. So I took it into Photoshop and tweeked it. I had straight on photos of the frames so I skewed the keystoned photo until the sides were straight then resized it so the frame overlapped the photo of the frame.

Finally, I put in something very similar to the first photo, dropped guides to mark the edges, more guides to mark the top of the head and the bottom of the chin, resized the wonky photo so his head and chin hit those guides, and cropped him to the right size. Thus, photo five - the one that gets put in the book.

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