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Chapter 7. Retouching Portraits > Solving Age Old (and Old Age) Problems

Solving Age Old (and Old Age) Problems

Old age, and its effects, are relative. A 38-year-old NBA player or NFL wide receiver is ancient, but a significant number of baseball players, especially pitchers, reach that milestone. (Nolan Ryan pitched his sixth and seventh no-hitters when he was 43 and 44 years old, respectively.) A U.S. President in his (or, soon, her) forties is considered young; a company president aged 50 brings the vision of youth to the job; a cleric elected as head of a world-wide religion at age 60 may be several decades younger than his or her predecessor.

So, your job as a retoucher of photographs frequently depends on input from the subject of the photograph when it comes time to eradicate (or, perhaps, emphasize) the ravages of time. For some, facial wrinkles are part of who they are. A company executive may count those creases as hard-won character marks. Can you even imagine Johnny Cash without a furrowed brow? On the other hand, some young men and women see the first appearance of tiny crow’s feet at the corners of their eyes as a sign of impending doom. When I am shooting a portrait that matters, I always give the subjects or the people close to them the chance to decide just how much or how little retouching will be done, especially when the “defects” are age-related.


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