High Key, Andrew Wyeth and a Sad Old Building

High Key, Andrew Wyeth and a Sad Old Building

Barely Standing by Richard

Barely Standing by Richard Lewis 2014

“It’s all in how you arrange the thing… the careful balance of the design is the motion.” – Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth was on my mind when this old building presented itself. I happened upon it in the middle of the afternoon on a bright winter day. Not the most ideal time to photograph but the shadows on the wall, the way the large branch at the top of the photograph mimics the roof line, and even that little scraggly tree on the right just seemed to work.

I don’t work in a high key style much, but when I looked at the lighting in this image I thought it would be a good idea to head down that road. Not being very familiar with the technique I looked to one of my heros, Andrew Wyeth. Wyeth was a master at controlling the lighting values in his paintings.

High key is defined as “having a predominance of light or bright tones.” At first glance high key photographs look very light and even almost white, but it is not the amount of light color or tone that makes high key work. Like any other photograph, it is how the range of the values between light and dark are presented. This is where Andrew Wyeth excelled as a painter. He used the light and dark values in his paintings to totally control how the viewer looks at and interprets his work. I believe it is what he meant by “careful balance” in the quote above. A great piece of art is in not just a careful balance of the composition elements, it is a balance of the light as well.

How I Did It – I followed my normal work flow using Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop. Then the photograph was further processed using the High Key filter in NIK’s Color FX Pro to create the tonal range. Finally, to thank Mr. Wyeth for his help, I very lightly overlaid a texture layer with coloring that, to me, adds a Wyeth feel to the color palette.

Enjoy.

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2017-05-19T10:36:23+00:00April 7th, 2014|7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. west517 April 7, 2014 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    beautiful!

  2. Anonymous April 7, 2014 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    I always enjoy viewing your work Rich.

  3. denisebushphoto April 7, 2014 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    The first thing I thought of when I read the title then saw the image was that the earth tone colors were similar to some of Wyeth’s paintings

    • Rich Lewis April 7, 2014 at 8:23 pm - Reply

      Thanks Denise, that was definitely the intent.

  4. MJF Images April 12, 2014 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    I don’t do high key much either, but it’s a nice way to add diversity. Nice treatment!

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