The Bath | American Portraits

Little caption is needed in this as I feel it tells it own story. These are my three babies, Cyrus, Ana and Asher. It was not posed. Instead, I set up and waited for it. All I needed was this one frame, their attention was caught perfectly in real expression. It’s not a portrait about smiles and rubber duckies, but about life. In this case, life in the tub. This concept was inspired a bit by the people like Norman Rockwell and Arnold Newman. Image makers who we never afraid to show a life sort of feel that needed no explanation. I worked specifically to convey this feel and I’m happy with the result.

The Deeper Story: I posted this image to my Facebook Page. The next day it was deleted for supposed terms of use violation and I was actually banned from posting to Facebook for 24 hours. This was really disturbing to me. I was treated like an evil doer for something in no way wrong. I’m pretty conservative about showing nudity in any of my work. It’s just not my style. The camera was specially to focus on the mood and now show anything that could be taken wrong. And yet, for whatever reason Facebook pulled it. Thankfully they can’t do that here.

In a way this was a good thing. It made me realize that the blind censorship approach Facebook takes, can not only revoke our right to express completely moral art, but free speech itself. For any reason Facebook can punish you for what they decide to be wrong. As if you’re a child. Even as an active advertising on Facebook I have no contact person, no rep and no way to address this issue with them. Not a good place to be.

I have never been for the idea of giving up your blog or website and using Facebook. I don’t trust them at all. This gave me a sharp reminder. Not that I need to censor myself. But that I need now rely on a company like this to share my work. This image promoted me to start The Light Letter, an email list. I want to share my ideas and images with those interested, without worrying about absurd restrictions. It raises a real question that I think everyone should consider. How reliant have we become on online entities like Facebook who hold almost no accountability for their actions and in many ways control what we can say and show to the world. Something to think about.


For Photographers. How it was made…

Technical Notes: Canon MK2, 50mm 1.4 @ f4, 1/40, ISO3200, Induro Tripod

I processed in LR first, converting using Silver Shadows 2. and manual tweaks. I finished in PS with tone control and finally a subtle application of Hill of Lucas Effect from Hollywood Effect 2. This gave me a little grit to the scene, but I went very gentle on it. Finally i came back to LR adding a little grain from Silver Shadows 2.

I used a tripod for specific reasons. Much of the time I was standing around the corner watching the live view of the kids playing. It would have been easy for a bath time scene to feel like a snapshot. By tripodding, I was able to nail my position and composition. While I could have gained shutter speed by opening up the aperture, the tripod would still have been necessary. I also wanted some depth of field, since I did not know how they would move in front to back. Note Cyrus on the left, He’s leaning forward. Had I opened up to say 1.4, he probably would have been soft in the print.

I’m a firm believer in the tripod. While sometimes it’s impossible or totally impractical, A tripod should be used when feasible regardless of shutter speed. This is a theory that has never let me down.



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2 Responses to The Bath | American Portraits

  1. Imene says:

    I can’t believe this image would be banned from FB. It is such a sweet picture and I see no harm in it.
    Your children are beautiful!

  2. Keith Carr says:

    I think Facebook is a waste of time. There are much better ways to waste time than FB. Great photo! Nothing there to censor IMHO.

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