In the neighborhood.
In the neighborhood.

I thought that if could enhance a picture to give it a sense of urban grit, I could enhance other subjects in the same manner. I could give you a better sense of my intent. It’s easy to document a subject. It’s not so easy to give you a sense of really being there. Or, of feeling the subject.


Off I went. Into the bowels of my photo software.

The first picture was easy. It’s more or less the same sort of thing I did yesterday. That I do from time-to-time. I managed to photograph the social club’s banner prior to the second line propped up against a building in the neighborhood. That added a little life to what could simply a location picture. A scene setter.

I’m not so sure about the trombone player. When I photograph brass players up against an open sky with backlighting, I sort of see them glowing and sparkling. The light takes me away. The music takes me away. The sense of just being in a parade transports me to some other place. There has never been a second line parade that hasn’t made me feel good. Even in a pouring rain. In very hot weather. Terrible humidity.

Technically speaking, working in a backlighted situation is hard. Sometimes I can’t really even see well enough to focus. All that sunlight bouncing off that polished brass is hard on my eyes. It’s hard on my lenses. The camera’s software. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t know what to do with all that bright, reflected light. I’m pretty sure that I don’t.

Did I get it? Did my work in post production help the picture?

I’m not sure. There’s sparkly stuff all over the place. That feels right. There is also some of the gritty stuff that you see in my location work. That also feels right. It’s that kind of neighborhood. The glow also feels right. But, still…

Oh. One more thing. There’s this. I’ll keep you updated.

Ray Laskowitz: Krewes, Clubs, Indians and Brass


Glowing brass.
Glowing brass.