Getting The Shot, Equipment Be Damned-Creating the Illustration for "God's Work Is Never Do
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a book illustration ought to count for a few hundred. The second image in this blog series gives you the backstory behind the illustration I used for the short story, "God's Work Is Never Done", from my new book."This Side of Center".
The image I used in the book is that of an older digital photograph (from 2006) from my collection taken in the Rose Garden, a small, colorful and enjoyable place to visit in the summer. The Rose Garden, located in Bethlehem PA, is one block from where my (then-future) wife lived at the time and we spent quite a few hours there listening to live music from the bandshell.
Using a very inexpensive digital camera, I took a half-dozen shots that day, exploring the bronze cast figure from many different viewpoints. The frame I chose for the illustration of, "God's Work Is Never Done," had the perfect look that I wanted to represent the story's title.
That image was framed in such a way that it showed the obvious burden of the thick ring over the man's head. By not seeing the ends of the ring, that burden appears infinite. The fact that only one hand is appearing to hold it up, makes his task seem even more difficult to bear. And his eyes are closed, indicating intensity or pain. The view angle only accentuates the "god-like" presence - appearing from above.
I used very little processing on this image. I cropped it only for sizing it, as it was framed this way when I shot it. After desaturating it from its original color format, I used a selective color routine on it in Photoshop, adjusting only the black, neutral and white areas the way I wanted it to appear, adding a bit of yellow and magenta to the neutral channel. Adjusting the contrast a few points higher, and the brighteness along with it, only served to make it stronger by making it appear even more stark and dramatic. ~ JW
The statue I photographed is a memorial dedicated on April 28, 1991. The inscription reads:
LEHIGH VALLEY WORKERS MEMORIAL
FOR THE MEN AND WOMEN
WHO HAVE BEEN KILLED OR INJURED ON THE JOB
AND THEIR FAMILIES
DEDICATED APRIL 28, 1991