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Wisdom from Georgia O’Keeffe

Adjusting Duotone curves in Adobe Photoshop
Long days in the digital darkroom lately, adjusting duotone curves for my forthcoming book Landscape Dreams, a New Mexico Portrait. I am grateful that my publisher the University of New Mexico Press is allowing me to work directly with Oceanic Graphic International, a printer in Hong Kong to adjust image files so when they are printed the final reproductions will look as close as possible to the original images. This is a challenge as in the traditional darkroom we deal with a much more subtle tonal scale and higher print densities than what a printing press is typically capable of handling. I remember hearing Georgia O’Keeffe comment about something like this to Juan Hamilton one time. She was working with Hamilton to approve the transparencies for her magnum opus book at the time titled GEORGIA O’KEEFFE. Juan comments to Miss O’Keeffe that one of the transparencies didn’t look like the original painting it was made from. O’Keeffe looks at it, pauses for a moment and then says that while the colours in the transparencies of her paintings may not match exactly, she was more concerned that the reproductions “felt” like her paintings. I like that. Her idea of making sure that the reproductions “feel” like the originals has been guiding me as I put the last “sparkle” on each of my images before they hit the press in a few weeks. Pray for me!

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CRAIG VARJABEDIAN is an award-winning photographer who explores the back roads of the American West, making pictures of the unique and quintessential. He shares awe-inspiring stories of the land and the people who live on it . . . one photograph at a time.