Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Jianchuan Photoshopped - Part 1

I took a day trip to Jianchuan from Lijiang last time I was in China.  I had high expectations for photo opportunities after reading about Jianchaun in my Lonely Planet guide.  Maybe I didn't find the right Ming and Qing courtyards, maybe I took the wrong trails, maybe the weather was too gloomy, maybe I'm just not a very good photographer or maybe a combination of all of these things, but I was disappointed and didn't find much to photograph.  Most of my photos were within a block of the bus station and were took as I was waiting for the bus back to Lijiang.  When I reviewed my photos later I found I had a few interesting subjects but the photos were nothing special.  I decided to see if I could make them more interesting.  I certainly did not take these photos with the thought of Photoshopping them up.  But for me, sometimes it a matter of salvaging something interesting in a less than perfect photo.  
I saw this old sewing machine in a house/shop while walking down the street.  
Original photo
There were some people in the house so I waited till I was out of view and quickly took a picture and walked on.  When I saw the photo later I thought this was quite interesting and wished I had taken more time photographing it.  Anyway I tried to make the most of what I had with the help of Photoshop and I like how it turned out.  I have put many different frames on this photo and I am not sure I have found one that really fits it.  Maybe it's best unframed.  I have some friends that don't like all the Photoshop stuff (Purists?) and that's okay with me.  I don't Photoshop every photo and don't want to.  In the end it's a visual art and I try to create something that is visually interesting to look at.  As soon as a photo is composed and a photographer decides what to include and what to exclude the manipulation of reality begins.  So why stop there?  We choose what to have in focus and out of focus and how to set the exposure, what type of lens to use, flash or no flash, etc.  Is that a purist? I don't know.  I wish I were good enough to create perfect pictures straight from my camera all the time but I'm not.  I'm not good enough to create perfect pictures even with the help of Photoshop.  But I hope I can occasionally create something that's interesting to look at.  


  1. It looks cool...way different than the original. Good timing on this one...I actually drove through Jianchuan today on the way to Shaxi.

  2. Thanks. I know you will get some great photos of that part of China.