Empty but for memory

I hope you’ll forgive an occasional side-trip into something other than anime…  Anyhow, an image from six years ago popped up in my Facebook memories this morning, and I was gripped by the need to re-edit it.

Below is my new version, the original version is after the jump.

To provide context:  This was originally posted to Facebook a couple of days after I returned home from my dad’s funeral.

Today’s version.

The original title and caption:

Empty but for memory

This is a the last of a long line of Dad’s chairs. This is not how I remember Dad’s chair. This is not how I want to think about Dad’s chair.

I remember him sitting there… Coffee or beer, newspaper, remote, and ashtray (back before he quit, much too late) near to hand. Kids, grandkids, and cousins on his knee. Watching benevolently as we scrambled beneath the Christmas tree and he struggled to wake up. Relaxing after work. Cooling off after chores or projects. Cursing politicians. Berating referees. Cheering when his team made a play, or howling when the opposing team made a better play.

Laughing. Crying. Living. Loving. That’s how I’ll remember this chair.

Goodbye Dad.

In Memoriam, H Dean Lyons 5/29/1939-1/6/2012

After the jump, the original image and some thoughts on the re-edit.

The original version:

As published six years ago.

Honestly, I have no idea what past me was thinking when he created this edit.  I remember struggling against a color cast.  The lamp was kind of a bright white, and there was a lot of yellowish cast from the sun coming in a window on my left…  But how did I ever think that replacing it with such a stark and sterile lighting scheme was a good idea?

It’s always an artistic and philosophical struggle.  It’s well known that colors affect mood, but I also tend towards thinking that my photography should reflect reality.  Did I choose that scheme because of the bleakness of my mood back then?   Or because I lacked something in my editing skills?  I’ll never know for certain.  As I sit here, I can alternately convince myself that both positions are reality.

But, as the years pass, I learn new things about the editing process…  and sometimes my views of an image change as well.  So I started with the all over again with the unprocessed image and dove in.

In this edit, I decided to work somewhat with the cast.  I rebalanced the lighting and colors, and then eliminated the brightness caused by the cast by darkening the overall image.  By happy accident, this caused the chair to stand out even more.  I further enhanced that by brightening those colors just a skosh.  There’s a painfully bright spot near the center, but there seems to be nothing I can do about that currently.  I tried a couple of arcane tricks from my toolbox, but reducing the brightness did the remainder of the image no favors.  (HDR is a powerful tool, but tricky to use.)

I don’t always find something new or better (the two are not the same) when I re-edit…  Other than some technical flaws I think I’m much happier with this version.  It’s not necessarily 100% what I saw, but I think it’s closer to what I felt.  For the moment, I’m content to leave it at that.

6 thoughts on “Empty but for memory”

  1. I’m a little confused here. If I read this right, you’re talking about three versions: an old edit, the orignal unedited version, and a new edit. I only see two pictures, and from the text I gather it’s the old edit, and the unprocessed image. When you finally talk about the new edit, the text seems to take for granted that I know the picture (but I can’t see it). Am I misreading something?

    The second thing, here, is that I actually like the first edit, and unlike for many, it feels… comfortable. This might have something to do with me being slightly photophobe (people always complain that my screen/graphics settings are too dark, too). It’s rather interesting how physical differences can create a completely different visual world view. This extends to, for example, fantasy symbolism of light vs. dark, something that I understand in my brains but is lost on me in more visceral terms: I like darkness (I turn off the light when I take a bath, for example). I find such point-of-view differences fascinating.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mea Culpa Yes, there are three versions discussed but only two shown… The unprocessed version (mentioned, but not shown), the original processed version (the second image), and today’s newly processed version (the first image). I’ve edited the original text and added captions, so maybe it’ll be a little easier to understand.

      Just so we’re on the same page, when you refer to the first edit, which of the two are you talking about?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, thanks. I was under the mistaken impression that the first image was the processed old one, and the second image was the unprocessed one. I understand your post much better now, and my addendum is put on hold, too. In short, I like the new edit better than the old one. It looks more comfortable, while the older one looks more… exposed?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Then my new edit worked.. :) ‘Homey’ was what I started to see as I was working on it, and ‘comfortable’ is a close companion to that concept.


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