John Erve  

Proud Native American by John Erve

November 2020 - Proud Native American

November 2020 - John Erve


About the Image(s)

I took this portrait at a Native American Pow Wow Event in San Francisco last February. I find the expression enigmatic. Processed with Topaz and finished with an Orton blur effect in Photoshop Elements to soften the skin.

Nikon D5500 with Tamron 90 mm macro lens; 1/100 sec. f/5.6 ; 1600 ISO

5 comments posted

Jack Florence Jr   Jack Florence Jr
I find this to be quite the compelling portrait, John. Your model has distinctly androgynous features, and an intense gaze, she's quite engrossing. I am curious as to what others think about the blur, however. I would consider reducing it a bit, or even eliminating the blur altogether around the eyes, which I prefer to see tack sharp in a portrait. Although providing context, I think the white headdress distracts just a bit because of its brightness. You might consider burning the top edge (or burning it more), or even cropping down just a tad, as we'd still be able to know it's a headdress, but the face would be more centered. Very nice, John!   Posted: 11/03/2020 15:24:23

Albert Zabin   Albert Zabin
You have captured some of the subjects personality. The head dress was very hard for me to identify. At fist glance, I thought it was the wall paper.I would ring out more detail. The young woman's face and expression are strong, even commanding, so more information of the headdress would not be too distracting. I don't like the sepia ton A slight selenium tone would be better, in my opinion   Posted: 11/12/2020 16:39:33

Ed Ford   Ed Ford
John I believe that your conversion to B&W was good.

Her expression is very good and to my eye you have captured a good moment and framed it well.

Sadly when you used the blur to soften the skin (which worked) you lost the detail in the eyes (also the ear rings) that was in the original. I have never used the program you mentioned (Orton) so I don't know if there was a way to keep the eyes while softening the skin. In addition the head dress has lost some of its impact in the B&W version.

I did some work in PS2021 using the Camera Raw filter and desaturating the image. I also backed out the texture and clarity to create the softness while keeping the clarity of her eyes. Last I decreased the brightness in order to try to bring out more detail in the head dress I would be interested in your thoughts.

  Posted: 11/21/2020 17:39:19
Comment Image

John Erve   John Erve
Ed, thanks for your comments and I think your version works very well and in a certain way gives the subject a more feminine character due to the smoothness of the skin. This was a very difficult image for me to process and I have long hesitated to display it so I am happy to have gotten some feedback on DD. The main reason, as Jack noted in his comment, is the androgynous character of the subject. When I took the portrait, I was not sure about the gender although I felt there was a more male appearance to the face despite the female costume and ornaments. Having the eyes sharp made them too piercing for me so I went for this "Orton" effect that blurred the image particularly the eyes. In my opinion, the unfocussed version supports the undetermined gender of the subject and adds to the mystery.   Posted: 11/21/2020 18:29:24

Jen Carrick   Jen Carrick
This, to me is an intriguing portrait. I thought it was of a young man. Than I read your description and saw it portrays a young woman. It was interesting to read you used software to soften the face. I do like Ed's treatment as well. Thanks for a thought provoking portrait.   Posted: 11/23/2020 18:05:13


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