Narcissus, 2006

My next leap in photography was to digital. Up to this point, I had shot most everything on film, though I had scanned a lot of it and did some selective toning or coloring with the black and white images. I was becoming somewhat familiar with the digital tools available. Today’s image was a complete leap into the new and modern era. I knew I wanted to work on an image based on the mythology of Narcissus, and this proved a very good subject to begin my experiments. Then one rainy day I finally dragged Jared into the studio. We took the big four foot by seven foot mirror off the wall and placed it flat on the floor. I began to spew black fabric around the mirror so that the lighting hitting it would give it an undefined jagged edge, like rocks at a creek side. Jared stripped down to a loin cloth that we wrapped around his waist. He began to hover over the mirror began to light him, the whole environment becoming theatrical. We spent the entire afternoon shooting hundreds of images studying all the possibilities; different body positions, angles of his and my focus, looking at it from every conceivable perspective. In the end I had so many image to choose from that it became an agonizing process to choose the one I would work into a final image. I knew the next step would take so much time I wanted an image that captured the overall balance of frame and composition and could showcase the extraordinary light and tone of the scene.

I spent several days working on this image, building it up layer by layers in Adobe’s Photoshop. The reflection in the water is actually from the mirror, but I began to work with layers that first desaturated the color, eventually adding the ripples to really look like water. The upper layers I heightened the saturation of the color of light on his skin to really make it pop and enhance the beauty of his skin tones. All of this now would take me maybe an hour to create if that. I printed, matted and frame the image and hung in on my wall. This became one of my most popular images. I had found an interesting new world of tools that could utter help me create my vision. Why had I resisted the new technology for so long? My purest thoughts of what photography should be suddenly went out the window and I suddenly embraced the new medium and began to focus my process in a new direction.