In China

Biking in the dark.

There is a reason.

For a lot of things.

Trust me.

This picture is on the small side for a couple of reasons. It’s also been highly worked over in post production for a couple of reasons.

Wanna know more?

Here we go. I made this picture in Guangzhou, China is in 1989. I made it on film. I liked the picture well enough at the time, but in those days we didn’t scan much. So the transparency went into my metal file cabinets. I may have scanned it on a primitive scanner. But, that scan was useless. It barely cut the mustard as they say in the United States.


In 2005, a big storm came. Hurricane Katrina. You Remember. My neighborhood was flooded with six feet of water. My house only got between 12 inches and 6 inches of water depending upon where the water came from. But, it marinated in all that chemical filled water for almost six weeks during the hottest time of year. Finally, the water receded and we could all go home to see what was left. My house pretty much okay. I didn’t have remediate the walls — except for one — because the house was so old that the walls were made of plaster, not drywall.


The internal damage was amazing. Even if water didn’t reach the top drawer of my filing system, the mold did. As I recovered whatever was still usable, I didn’t know that. At first glance this picture looked fine.


Mold had embedded itself in the plastic. Sometimes you couldn’t even see it with a magnifying glass. Or a loupe. But, you could see it on the computer screen. For some pictures that was death. They were unrepairable. For others that didn’t have a lot of sharp background, there was a little work around. Make a smaller scan and tinker with it.

That’s what I did with this picture. It can’t be opened to its normal size because you’ll see all the mold damage. As I’ve written in the past, sometimes art created in post production becomes the result of some kind of work around. After all, by its very nature, photography is a mixture of art and science. By doing such extreme post work I was able to hide all the flaws that are unrepairable.

Make no mistake. Even though the image looks okay here, I could never license it for anything other than web use at about this size. For me, this is all kinds of experimentation. Could I even come close to repairing such a damaged image? And, how could I push it, into something a little more artistic? I’d say that I failed on the first, but succeeded on the second.

Oh well. That’s how you learn.



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