Perspectives from a Photo Retoucher: Parasites of the Photography Industry?

Describing her work as the creation of  “moments that didn’t happen”, photo retoucher Amy Dresser speaks at Luminance 2012 about her thoughts and views on her profession. She discusses her process and techniques which “blur the line between photography and illustration”:

As far as portraits go, the key to Dresser’s philosophy of retouching is to not make it perfect, and to only get rid of what’s distracting. Focusing on evening out the tone and saturation of the skin will enhance the image while keeping the integrity of the person’s character.

In her method, the three things to work on in an image are:

  1. Skin
  2. Color
  3. Mood

photo retouching

She shows composites in both realism and fantasy, laying out step-by-step explanations of how images are made, and for what purposes.

composite photo retouching

The start of a photo composite

Giving in-depth insight into the many, many types of problems that retouching resolves, she says,

“I see the marriage between photography and retouching as, like, kind of  a limitless relationship; we can make anything happen between the two of us. And if I can give Weird Al’s horse Weird Al hair, then we can kinda do.. we can take over the universe, assuming the universe can be taken over by an image.”

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5 responses to “Perspectives from a Photo Retoucher: Parasites of the Photography Industry?”

  1. Debbie says:

    Would love a tutorial start to finish on a portrait. Nothing extreme, just the basics, showing how she enhanced with the dodge and burn for hightlights and shadows. I can see where some would love this tutorial.

  2. Leon Barnes says:

    I second Debbie’s request. I would like a little more back and forth between before and after.

  3. Max says:

    Would like a tutorial on techniques. Nothing of real interest. Interesting images but NO info! Somewhat a waste of time.

  4. Daniel says:

    Ya this was great but I would love to see a start to finish.

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