Ilona as Eleanor

Ilona as Eleanor

This is my shot at recreating Callahans Eleanor. And below You have the picture taken by Callahan in 1947.

Callahan, Eleanor, 1947

The photograph is over exposed and the lighting very flat. It looks almost as if the womans body would continue endlessly. First I had my model, Ilona, sitting on a chair against a white background. The pose was very uncomfortable for her, and the result looked anything but relaxed. Next time we were in the studio we decided she should lie on the floor instead, wich was a great idea. We could have thought of it sooner, I know.

So she was lying on her back against the white backgorund, with a scarf as a pillow to lift her head up slightly. Now she could get her arms around her head without looking unnatural. I had one spot – with an umbrella to soften the light – pointing at Ilona from the left, then another spot from down to the right, plus a white cardboard above/behind Ilonas head to reflect the light from the spots.

The technicalities:

Model: Nikon D70s
Shutter Speed: 1/1250 sec
Aperture Value: 5.0
ISO: 400
Focal Lenght: 60.0 mm (or 90.0 mm??)
Metering Mode: Spot

Below is the original picture without any photoshop treatmeant.

Original Ilona

So first I changed the picture to black and white with changing the “saturation”. Then I selected everything but the right side of the nose and over exposed the lighting with “Exposure”, after which I selected the nose and over exposed it separately so that I could get the shadow to remain almost the same as in the unhandled picture. I also cropped the picture to get the face a bit more centered, cut the sharp elbows out and the tip of one finger.

I used “Clone Stamp Tool” to remove shadows and traces of Ilonas back arm and the border of her top. Then I selected the tips of her fingers and used “exposure” to brighten them so that the shadows around would become thin lines. I could have used the “Dodge Tool” for example to make the arm pits white as in the picture of Eleanor, but when I tried that it resulted in a very unnatural feel. The greys in the picture were slightly blue so I changed the “Hue” from “Hue/Saturation” to get a more yellow feel.

It would have been easier to recreate the picture of Eleanor if Ilona would have been fatter. Now You get this empty area between the arms and the cheeks. The problem with “photoshopping” this was the same as the above. Eleanor also has more “flesh” on the neck under the chin in comparison to Ilona. In Callahans picture the part under the chin is almost burnt through, although You can still see the shape of the chin, In my picture You can see the chin line more clearly.

I want to add this one photo of Ilona, although I didn’t use it for the rectreating task. I like the picture a lot even if the shadow from Ilonas chin and arm is larger and darker than it should be.