Thu 18 Oct 2007 8:27 PM
Keith Loutit is a photographer whose work I happened upon at Jeff Curto’s photoblog. It’s one of the better blogs out there dealing with all things digi-visi-photi related. It is called Camera Position. Loutit’s work was new to me, it amused me. When I sent friends the link to his work, they didn’t spend much time with it. They replied why send us pictures of Tonka toys and lego men? Aha! They had been fooled like the many pitiful naive
saps before them. Loutit’s not interested in models, only making images that appear to be models! He’s fooling and foiling the world one person at a time…
As it transpired, there is quite a buzz about tilt-shift photography – a statement that would have been more welcome two years ago, when it was novel enough. Now, as I discovered through my research, every Tom, Dick and Harry is up to the old tilt-shift shenanigans. Unfortunately, most of it is gish (def: an olde Scotch term for pish, which is a mispronunciation of piss. Origin; the Black Cow Public House, Glasgow). The reason for this is selfish economics. To buy a tilt-shift lens will set you back the best part of a grand. A feasible alternative for our laptop-room developers is to mimic the effect using photoshop. This has produced shamefully bad results. I admire people experimenting with self-taught techniques. I wince whenever those piss-poor results get posted on the web.
Keith Loutit was my first exposure to this photographic game being played and with a convenient (yet acquiescent) confidence I’ll state that he is one of the best players out there. Simply, an actual tilt-shift lens renders way better results. In addition, there are certain types of images that are more suited to manipulation and reduction.
Three simple rules – an image should be an aerial shot or at least at captured half way up
the fire escape; primary colours are good (as are sharp lines); ambient, morning or evening shadows are bad. Miniatures and models are viewed from above, are decidedly paired down in terms of palette and lit by fluorescent lamp. Give your image the best chance to look like a model. Fog and Seattle weather is also to be avoided.
Props to you Keith Loutit. You’re not the only one out there doing a cheeky technique well, but you’re my first and my favourite. To prove a point about how editing and selection is more important than pointing a camera
and clicking listen to this New York Times Photographer get all excited about mediocre results. Apart from the tennis arena shots, I was devastatingly non-plussed by this presentation.