Golden Future

Today, rather than focus on my (as always) copious opinions on the topic “Always Be Learning,” I thought I’d give you another look at the before & after of a photograph.

This is the facade of the Reuter Center, home of the University of North Carolina/Asheville’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute—also known as the College for Seniors. It’s a wonderful resource for folks who move to Asheville to retire, offering diverse educational programs and the companionship of like-minded learners.

Here’s the unaltered image as produced by the GF-1. I was pleased with the intense blues and lines of the building. I debated briefly whether I wanted to get rid of the tiny tree branch protruding into the frame in the upper left, but decided that I liked the little living imperfection.

But I was unsatisfied by the blankness of the glass facade and the lack of drama. I wanted something more abstract and more ambiguous. I made a straight conversion to black-and-white, but that was even duller. It was time to bust out the heavy-duty image filters.

There was some high-pass filtering. Some detail enhancing, some curve manipulation, some toning. Honestly, I can’t remember all the steps, because there were a lot of them. I fiddle with these things pretty relentlessly, trying one thing after another, in various combinations, until I’m happy with the result. My guess is that I spent twenty minutes or so to arrive at this picture.

Reuter Center, UNC Asheville, NC

In this case, I was after an image that would be both optimistic and a little ominous. I love that you can now see into the building, as well as being dazzled by the reflections and the light. The altered version has a retro-futuristic feel that I associate with the golden age of science fiction and—further back—the robo/deco sensibility of Metropolis. To me, this poster for The Age To Come is glamorous, but maybe a little menacing too.

This is not documentation or journalism. It’s not about what was there when I took the photograph, but about what’s in my head and heart when I get it ready to show to someone else.


A Year Ago: Direction

Fenced off driveway.This is what has become of my neighborhood supermarket…
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