Here's a photo I took with my iPhone 6 Plus, recently, in the San Juan Market in Mexico City. I'm happy with it. However, I couldn't help wondering how ot might work as a black and white:

Hmmm, I like this one, too. But I decided to return to the full color version. Then I thought, what if it had “bokeh” (selective focus), forcing the foreground to appear more important by playing down the background:

I decided to push the bokeh more aggressively…

But felt that maybe that was too extreme. I decided to go back and tinker with the colors:

Oh, yeah, I like that; but how about more of the same?

Garish? Maybe. I do like it, though. I tried adding some bokeh to this version:

OK, that's my favorite. Not realistic, true. Overdone. Obvious, even. An abstraction, really. But then, so is the black and white version. It's not natural, either. Truth is, though, this bright, powerful version feels more like being there, to me. More like the emotional impact of being there. Both have their audience. Frankly, I'm in the audience for both.

I'm still happy with the original, too, really. It's already miles ahead of anything I was ever able to do before digital photography came along.

Now, I don't much like using the ready made filters in the apps I work with, even though some, not all, of them are quite beautiful and effective. I prefer to play around with various adjustments, sometimes delicately, sometimes pushing them beyond reason. I don't keep track of my methods, because I don't want my work to become formulaic. I approach each image based on its content, and manipulate it accordingly.

Apps used, PhotoForge2, Leonardo, Snapseed.

Next, we'll take a part of this image and get really wild with it. Stay tuned…

Hasta Mañana




  1. oops, there were no images in mine, John.

    I was excited to talk with Thea, and I hope you’ll be excited to do another little painting!


    Support Irreverence!


    1. Hmmm,
      I don’t know what to tell you, Ann. Images come through just fine on my iPhone and older iPad Retina.
      Maybe try again?
      Yep, paintings coming soon.

  2. This is an interesting examination of the possibilities. Each has something going for it yet I’m stuck on the classic black and white which seems to capture the gloss of the fresh fish and display the tonal range better. The black and white sin bokeh draws my eye through to the fishmonger more making it more of an environmental portrait of the vender and less about the fish. Dig?

    1. Hi Steve.
      Thanks for your input.
      I do, indeed, dig. I agree that the bw would be the best for an environmental portrait. That is something you are exceptionally good at creating, by the way.
      I think that and the final, color-pumped verion would work as fine art.
      The original, untouched version whether in color or bw would be more appropriate for journalistic use.
      This post is the first half, though, of a demonstration of going all out to arrive at a fine art piece or possibly an image to be used as an illustration.

  3. My favorites apps. I really like your post. I felt like you were taking me down memory lane. Can’t wait for the next one. 💓

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s