Send in the Clones

Volume 6, Issue 53; 03 Jul 2003

Nothing serious here, just more artistic frippery.

The cloning of humans is on most of the lists of things to worry about from science, along with behavior control, genetic engineering, transplanted heads, computer poetry and the unrestrained growth of plastic flowers.

Lewis Thomas

Many years ago, I shot almost exclusively in black and white. I don't know how many rolls I put through my Minolta SRT 101, but I'm reasonably confident it's a four digit number.

My father taught chemistry at the time and we converted the back of the chemical storage closet into a darkroom. Developing film and especially prints is almost magical. You've probably seen it done in movies, even if you haven't done it yourself: working under a dim red light, expose a sheet of blank white paper to a few seconds of light, drop it into a tray of liquid, rock gently, and watch an image appear before your eyes. Cool. If you haven't done it, and you get the chance, jump on it!

At the rate digital cameras are improving, I expect “roll of film” is going to be about as meaningful to the generation of kids born this year as “eight track” or “video casette”.

The point of all this rambling, if there is one, is simply that when I did film, I really understood the darkroom process. I mastered a range of techniques and could apply them with some facility. I realized recently that I could not say the same about the “digital darkroom” (in my case, GIMP). I can't even claim to understand all the tools available, let alone to have mastered them. So, I'm going to undertake to improve my photo editing skills.

The first result of this effort is an image that would have been very difficult indeed to achieve in a physical darkroom:

Cloning Around
Cloning Around

This effect is less difficult in the digital realm, but still challenging, at least for this novice. Of course, when I look at this image, all I see are the flaws, but on the whole, I think it came out alright.