|Model - Freyja Phoria|
Hi Ben. Thank you for taking a little time to answer some questions for me. How is it you found yourself tinkering with peoples images?
'I’ve always been into photography, and used to “edit” my photos but it was literally just using sliders in whatever program I was using. When I was doing wedding videos with a friend, one couple only wanted photos doing instead of video. Of course we said yes, no problem. Taking the photos was fine, but then it came to editing. After reading reviews I signed up to Adobe and got the photographers pack with Photoshop and Lightroom in it.
It was a bit of a crash course in LR, but it got me started. From then I started getting more in to photo editing, mainly just going back over my old ones. I always used LR if possible. I had ventured PS before, but it was so complex and different to what I’m used to, I tried not to use it. Looking back, I should have definitely opened it sooner as now I much prefer working with it.
I had a shoot with a model from Purpleport who recommended it to me. After signing up and putting some castings out for free editing, I found I had a knack for it and now do it as much as possible.'
Possibly a risky, polarising question, but, what's your editing programme(s) of choice?
'Currently the Adobe suite. I use PS and LR for photo editing, but Premiere and After Effects for video editing for my day job. I have recently got a Wacom graphics tablet, and am planning on getting some drawing programs for that, but that needs to be researched once I’m a bit better with freehand drawing with it, or when I have free time.'
Most things over time change and develop. Since starting, how has your work changed?
'It’s improved exponentially. I came across my old Myspace page that had some photos I “edited” and they are as you would expect. How I could have thought they were good at the time is beyond me. Even in the past year though, and especially since learning PS and using the tablet, I’m doing my best work yet. Considering how reluctant I was to open PS, it’s been an absolute game changer. I wouldn’t have dreamed about doing this kind of work a year ago. I’m also doing more of my own photoshoots, something I never did before. I’m building props and learning new techniques to try and create some really cool stuff.'
Have you had a go at, or do you think you'll ever have a go at editing your old work to see how it looks with all you've learnt since?
'I haven't yet. There's a few that I think I'd like to go back to and see what I can do now. Some of my really old projects have been lost though due to old hard drive problems, but certainly the projects from the last 2-3 years I would to revisit. Lessons were learnt and everything is backed up twice now. Some photos I took I may not be able to improve on much, when I started out everything was a big learning curve, so the raw images certainly weren't as good as they would be now.'
For your work, where do you find your inspiration?
'All sorts of places. I watch a lot of anime and that's always a good source, lots of scifi/cyberpunk. But it depends on what the image is I’m trying to do. For one photo shoot I did of my friend dressed as Jesus, I spent a good few days looking at renaissance and religious paintings. Currently I’m doing research for a new project I want to do involving a sort of crowned alien goddess. On top of the anime, I try and read as much as I can, William Gibson, Alfred Bester and Philip K Dick are my favourite authors. Books, films, computer games, music, inspiration can come from anywhere. Anything can randomly put a thought in your head and it grows and evolves the more you think about it.'
|Model - Freyja Phoria|
You mentioned it so despite the un-photography nature of the question, I can geek out a bit and ask it in good conscience...What's your favourite computer game? I'll accept current favourite if "of all time" is too hard!
'Depends how far you want to go back. I'm 33, and have been playing games since the 80s, such as Doom, Gauntlet and Wolfenstein. I don't think I have an absolute favourite, but Bioshock, Metal Gear Solid (on the PS1), Half Life, and the Fallout series are amazing. I recently tried speedrunning Resident Evil 2 with a friend to see if I still could. That was a great game. Most games nowadays can't compete with the older generation. Save for ones like The Last of us and Heavy Rain, everything is just cookie cutter, same old tedium.'
|Model - Freyja Phoria|
On an almost daily basis image sharing sites and apps like Instagram contain many editing blunders. Obviously you don't now, but, have you ever made any silly blunders in an edit?
'Ha. I still do, but it seems to be on my own work. When editing pics there’s a lot of checking to make sure everything is ok. With mine, I get to a point that’s possibly the end and say “yep, that’s good”, then later once it's been through LR or is uploaded I notice maybe a bit of green that wasn’t removed from the green screen, or a smoke effect ends where I didn’t warp something far enough. By the time I notice it, it’s too late to go back, so I leave it as it is. Or for your readers I should say, I never make any mistakes and everything I do is always perfect.'
In one of my smoother segways... Speaking of Instagram blunders, one of the most prevalent is the "wobbly lines" associated with the thinning of body parts. In the past I've made my feelings on this subject known, but as someone who edits images of people more often than I do, I'd be interested to know yours. What's your stance on thinning people with post processing? Do you do it? Do you outright refuse? Do you refuse if asked by the photographer but oblige if asked by the model? Do you only do it if needed for an uber-stylised effect?
'That’s a difficult one. I do do it, but it's not a common thing I do on every photo I work on. Certainly, for stylised shots where it’s called for, it's not an issue for me. I’ve been asked by photographers to slim parts of a model, under their requests. Bring a waist in a bit, or make a bum a bit firmer, but the full on head to toe body reshaping I wouldn't be comfortable doing. People should comfortable with their bodies, but from the perspective of a photo retoucher, and I don’t want it to come across like I’m a scumbag, I wouldn’t get work if people were fully comfortable with themselves. People are what they are, they have their blemishes and scars, but I can remove those and create the illusion of perfection, just for one image. However, I think it’s best to deal with it on a picture by picture basis, or client by client basis and see what works best for the image.'
I think the fact that your body retouching is upon the request of the model rather than media pushing an image, and that you want people to be comfortable in themselves, keeps you away from scumbag status. I hope the answer is no, but talking about the likes of Instagram retouching I have to ask. Have you ever received a retouching request that warranted the response "no...just, no!"?
'I haven't yet, but you never know what the next request will bring!'
If people want to see more of your work, or use your services, where should they go?
'Currently I have my work on Purpleport and Instagram. I am in the process of doing a website, but things always come up and delay it.
They can find me on PP and Instagram ben_moorhouse_photography or can email me firstname.lastname@example.org'
|Model - Freyja Phoria|
Lastly, what's your favourite joke?
'Ha. I couldn’t possibly say, it might offend your more innocent readers.'
I'd like to thank Ben again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, be sure to check out all the links above for more of his work, as well as the links attached to the images for the other creatives involved in creating them.