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Simplicity - part 1 of 1 2

by Paul Gallagher Published


When considering the use of Photoshop to create images, two things have always confused me immensely. Firstly that there are so many ways and mechanisms in Photoshop to create the same effect or make the same manipulation to an image, and secondly, people seem to regularly opt for the most complicated method. I am not quite sure why this is but when I conduct workshops or deliver lectures I am regularly met with people who say, "You can also do that using the Levels command".

It would appear that there is some degree of status in knowing more that one way of doing the same thing in Photoshop, regardless of the fact that knowing two ways will not necessarily produce a better image!

My approach to Photoshop and the use of its tools and commands is borne of a need to carry on producing black and white images beyond the darkroom. When I first used Photoshop I felt somewhat inadequate for some time because I carried the belief that I should have a grasp of all that Photoshop can offer. This, of course, is completely ridiculous as there are few people in the world that come close to this! (The Editor being one of them! news to me Ed.)

My approach was devised after weeks of making a spectacular mess of things and being on the brink of giving up. I decided to step back and ask myself what was it that I did in the darkroom that worked, and apply this to my use of Photoshop. I do not want to sound like a 'darkroom dinosaur' here, but I see little point in overcomplicating issues to produce the same end results. Sometimes I make a thousand-mile round-trip to the Highlands of Scotland, make an exposure and return, mix my chemicals, bring them up to temperature and process the films.

Then I hang them up to dry and finally scan the film to produce a file. The last thing I need is to dive head-first into a world of technological complexity! All that I did in the darkroom was dodge and burn using pieces of card and increase of reduce local or global image contrast. Simple!

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last update 18/07/2022 16:31:48

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Updated 18/07/2022 16:31:48 Last Modified: Monday, 18 July 2022