Editing Will Make It… Right? …Better? …Prettier?…??

100 freshman midterm essays on Aristotle and his Politics later, I post this week’s blog…a little later than intended.
As I began this week to crop and color my images for our upcoming assignment, I realized why I am struggling with Photoshop, which surprisingly has a lot less to do with the technical aspects of the program and more to do my application of photo-editing techniques. As a historian, I encounter a lot of facts- whether simply laid bare or interpreted by another historian- there they are…everywhere…facts. So when I turn on my curves layer and start to adjust the tonal values in my historical image, I struggle because there seems to be no “fact” guiding my work- no definitive, this-is-it, cannot be disputed result that my edits can ever achieve. Rather, I find myself taking the “hmm, right there looks good approach” to my image restorations, an approach that, as a historian in a grand quest for objectivity, always leaves me less than satisfied. Subjective as design may be, our readings and experiences this semester showed that there are certain precepts that seem to ground the art of design in something more solid. Basic design principles might lead us to agree on margin size and alignment, but, when it comes to editing historical images, how much contrast is too much before we can all agree that the restoration was a failure? How do we determine if a color application on a black and white photo is “right”? I guess, this week, we post an image assignment and wait for the answers.

This week, I commented on Kirk’s blog.

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