When I read Richard’s comments last night in relation to the earlier comments by Mike and Harvey it was pretty clear they were talking about different photographs: “Guitars? There are no guitars in that photo.” Then I saw the link in Russ’ 10 Jan posting . . . yes, that “guitar photo” is obviously reworked in an “artsy” way—the use of colour makes that clear. As Richard suggests it has the look of something created for a magazine feature, and perhaps in its intended context it was quite successful (not knowing the context it is difficult to judge). There is a world of difference between self-consciously “artsy” photography and extemporaneous “real life” shots, even when a person with a good sense of composition has done the latter, and even unquestionably successful “artistic” photographs can create erroneous impressions if taken as "real life".
Last Summer I came across an on-line article on the topic of “aging gracefully” in which the writer praised Emmylou as a positive role model for older women for allowing her hair to go grey, using the cover photo from “Stumble Into Grace” to illustrate her point. So far so good. She then went on, however, to say words to the effect that “this woman is really 64 years old, but she doesn’t look it in this photo, does she?—no wrinkles, no lines—this photograph can’t be real, it must have been Photoshopped!” I felt her statement was rather unfair and so I wrote to the writer, explaining that the photo she was using was 9-10 years old, so that Emmy would have been about 55, not 64, when it was taken, and also pointing out that this was a professionally done (“artsy”) promotional portrait made under controlled conditions of light, angle, make-up, etc, with the intent to maximize her beauty (and that set certainly achieves its goal), so it cannot be taken as showing an “everyday” Emmylou even at age 55. I also suggested that if she wanted to see what Emmylou looks like at 64 she could find numerous photos on line taken at recent concerts and public events, such as the Newport Folk Festival (there are lots on Flickr). The writer graciously acknowledged my observations and actually amended her article and posted a second photo (from NFF), although she still seemed to “miss” the point that a professional photographer can use light and angle to get a great picture without needing to resort to Photoshop ☺
Anyway, while artistic professional photography can produce beautiful images (the set for “Stumble Into Grace”, for example, or the more recent set for “Hard Bargain”), an extemporaneous “real life” shot can, I believe, give you a sense of the person, and in that spirit I want to share one of my favourite shots of Emmylou, which I found on the Bonaparte’s Retreat Facebook page:
- Emmylou and Smitty
- 35687_401875108137_239146038137_4440681_657100_n.jpg (69.28 KiB) Viewed 414 times