This is a bit of old and new. The technique of “hand tinting” on black and white images has been around for decades. I started hand tinting years ago on black and white prints in my early film days. Back then we would make a print in the required finished size, then myself or an assistant would spend hours with tiny brushes or swabs painting on the print with chemical dyes, it was a laborious process! If we made a mistake, a new print was made, and we started all over again.
Today, we can do the same effect in Photoshop, it still takes time, but there is more control over the effect and mistakes are easier to correct. Typically I would hand tint a bride’s bouquet or other detail where the contrast of color against the black and white of the print would be interesting. But, this is not a “typical” portrait. One thing I will say is that my “typical” clients are not all that “typical”. No, not all are tattooed, but most are interesting in one way or another, and, they all have one thing in common, they want artistic images that make a statement about who they are.
As I am shooting I get ideas about how the finished images should look, and all the time during this shoot I was thinking, “this has to be black and white.” I guess it could have been the subject’s flawless pale skin and dark hair, or, the industrial setting, or the light, the dreary weather, or, to be honest, sometimes I don’t know why, I just “feel” it. So, I was thinking and feeling “must, must, must be black and white” all during the shoot. Then I got the images into my computer and there was the problem, her colorful tattoos! I don’t have any myself, but I can, and do admire tattoos as art, and it would be a shame to lose the vivid color to black and white. I felt like I was in one of those movies where the guy has a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, one saying “black and white” the other, “color.” To appease both, I decided to hand tint the tattoos.
I liked the effect so much that I have decided to make a display print for an upcoming bridal show on January 17, 2010 at the historic Gwinnett County Courthouse. At first I had planned to print the image on metallic paper which would make the image “pop”, but then my print supplier came out with a new product, printing images on brushed aluminum! Needless to say, I was interested from the moment I saw it. This might be more suitable for some of my motorcycle images rather than weddings, but I think this just might have the right “edge” for this image. The whole “metal” thing works for her as well, she sells Harley-Davidson motorcycles!
Other Images From the Session