Editing John’s Photo

Editing John's Photo
Copyright John Huson — Processed by Brian Auer — Used With Permission

The deadline for the “Edit John's Photo” project is only a few days away, so if you're planning on participating be sure to get your entry to me by the end of October 16th (that's this Friday). I'll be posting the final project results on the 19th as a thumbnail gallery linked out to the individual entries so everyone can explore the different takes on this photo. So far, we have 18 entries.

For my own entry, I didn't do anything terribly difficult. I started off finding a crop that I liked. Then I processed the color image with ACR in a fairly mild manner with medium to low contrast, and pulled it into Photoshop. I opened the color image back up in ACR and converted to b/w, again with medium to low contrast, and again pulling it into Photoshop. I put the b/w layer on top of the color layer and set the blend mode to overlay at 100%. This got me close to what I wanted, but not quite. So I duplicated the b/w layer and set the blend mode to soft light.

What I was generally going for with the blends was a digital version of the bleach bypass process sometimes used in film photography/videography. A simple way to achieve bleach bypass with color negative film is to reduce the time in the bleach (hence the term bleach bypass) while carrying out the rest of the C41 process as normal. This leaves some of the silver in the emulsion along with the color dyes (the bleach strips the silver compounds that actually captured the latent image). So you end up with a color negative AND a black & white negative on the same emulsion. The result is a low saturation and high contrast image.

I have an exposed roll of medium format Ektar 100 I intend to do this with, but I haven't had any luck getting it developed. Most C41 developers out there are push-button no-touchy, so they can't just modify the bleaching step. If I ever find somebody with the right equipment (or just get my own C41 stuff), I'll have to share the results from the roll and we can see how close the digital method comes to it.