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The stories behind the scenes of some of my images.Some include a detail description of the process, locations, or other wise fun adventures and mishaps. Hope You enjoy reading them. Drop me a hello. Let me know what you think.

Ismael Barrera
-Rooted-
13th April 2015 - 0 comments
In: Blog
-Rooted-

This image was meant to be more vintage. After playing around with a few blues and yellows on the contrast areas, I proceeded to apply several overlays of yellow, white, and magenta. Of course the predominant color is yellow.




Not to simulate sun light, but rather to mimic film over exposure. Really like that type of effect. It should probably have heavy grain. But I like this more smooth and dull look.
-Alternative Destiny- * Mature content*
10th March 2015 - 0 comments
In: Blog
Mature content The blog that you are about to view contains content only suitable for adults 18 year old and over. Also if you are offended by nudity. Press the home page, or back button.








This image is the continuation of same topic of the previous two images I had the opportunity to produce with actor/model Romeo Castellanos.

Of course the main purpose in producing these images was to bring attention to current events and the continual issues of injustice and the racism that can sometimes go hand in hand. This experience has made me think of other issues that can possibly be included in my work. Not trying to be an activist, just perhaps adding something more meaningful to the “picture”
Romeo and I came up with some of the words and phrases. Learned a few things in the process. Fortunately for me, Romeo has an extensive knowledge of African American history. Interesting and sad at the same time. I invite You to look up the phrases.

The overall idea was to use an adverse looking background. My thoughts initially were to have a more darker color pallet. After applying the foreground and water, it was clear to me that a blue ambiance was a must. The yellow was part of the clouds. I decided to enhance it, since it played well with the stablished colors and contrast.
Some of the water texture was painted on to add realism to the existing water reflection. The chains symbolizing the oppression, reinforcing the grip of negative emotions written all over his body. The emotions that become obstacles for people. Not letting people have productive and fulfilling lives.
Hence the “alternative destiny” of each individual. The struggle due to differences without considering... We are all here. All minds of heart and soul.
As I mentioned before. Romeo played a major role with the creation of these concepts.


Romeo was photographed in a white background. Just as I did before, as I do for most of my composite work. Felt bad for Him.






When photographing this particular pose, the batteries in my flash went dead. He was chained patiently waiting for me to remedy the problem. In my mind, it took forever. Had no clue where my spare batteries were. All I was thinking is how uncomfortable it was to be nude with all those heavy cold chains around his neck.
The light bulb went off in my head and got my synch cable and continued the session. Funny thing is. That when I finished putting the chains on, I asked him.

“Are You going to be ok with these heavy chains?” He said He was,... as long as I “didn't take forever.” Haha! Talk about jinxing it?! Yes I blamed it on him. Still quite embarrassed about it. Kudos Romeo for being such a great model and putting up with my lack of preparation and panic.

The fact that the chains were photographed in the white background made it really difficult. As highlights were just as white as the background. Took more time than usual.
It was well worth it.
-Old Sentiment-
01st January 2015 - 2 comments
In: Blog
This image took quite a few days. Working on it in parts as the file kept increasing to more than 1.5 gigabytes. When it gets that extensive in size and detail, I'm always afraid that it will crash the computer and lose all the work. It has happened to me. I could commit a lot of the elements, but generally I like to keep them separated in case I want to change something without affecting the whole image.
Plus with the holidays and plans I could not dedicate hours at a time to it.

For this particular image it was essential that the overall ambiance be mostly in the dark, as the concept was to portrait some dark, old, cold place.
The concept of this image just like the previous one. “Burning cross” was pitched to me by Actor/model Romeo Castellanos. He had communicated something with chains along the lines of slavery. So before we actually met to discuss this concept and catch up on life, I sketched this.



When I think of slavery in the old days, I think of very detrimental conditions. Dark cold places with people physically broken down. I seen films like “Amistad” and “12 years a slave” The depictions of these situations is a very traumatizing to say the least.

Romeo also wanted to add the confederate flag to add to the significance and old sentiment in the American culture. At first I was not sure of it, just because it would make it a bit too crowded. Specially after the idea of the American flag came up. But I thought I would somehow make it work.



We agreed that the sketch was close to the concept he was thinking of. He also wanted breakage of the chains. To show the strength and determination of breaking free from old barriers and erroneous ideas... racism.
We also decided to go with implied nudity as this would further add to the slavery concept.

Nudity for those days says to me that people were forcefully stripped of their basic dignity.
Adding to the idea that they were less than a human being.
The American flag was placed on his lap, as the symbol that restores dignity and represents the renew idea that we can work towards equality as we move forward into the future.

Romeo was photographed in a white background and the rest is a composite. I decided to add cracks across the wall and a rusty look to represent the old sentiment.






I created the confederate flag digitally and blended it into the wall. Chains were also photographed separately and manipulated to show them breaking on the left side. Different blues and greens were painted to still show a bit of detail in the darker areas. In a way this was a challenge, one that I was really happy to complete. I'm glad I took time to keep coming back to it. I think that it made it better than when I take several hours at once to finish an image.

This is the final image.


Chains breaking in closer detail.

I look forward to completing 2 more concepts in the works.
-Burning Cross-
15th December 2014 - 0 comments
In: Blog
The theme of this image is one that concurs with current events. Or at least is meant to. I never really thought about creating political statements. Perhaps themes that reflect everyday life that people could relate to. But nothing more than that. As recently I met with Actor/Model Romeo Castellanos to collaborate in a photoshoot. He offered the idea of this simple yet compelling theme.

In all honesty I never got deep into the details of the recent tragedy of Michael Brown. When I first heard this. It just made me think of many other cases with similar accounts. Every so often the footage of undeniable events. As we talked about some of the details, my thoughts of this is a more general view. I see this as a series of events that continue to happen everywhere, all the time. Many cases that that go unnoticed. As I saw people protesting about it, I interpreted this more as a cry of “Enough!” and a demand for accountability. Understandably the diversity of this Great nation has related to this event.

The ongoing gain of knowledge and technology in my opinion, does not omit certain emotions or instincts in humanity. Honestly I don't see this changing any time soon. Not because we don't want it. But because it is embedded in our genes. Racism in various degrees is part who we are as physical beings. Natural selection and such.

With that said. We also have the ability to chose. To differentiate right from wrong. We like to think that equality should the norm today. For the most part humanity agrees. But it is cases like this that painfully reminds Us. We are still not there. If we think of the recent past, there has been a monumental leap. I have faith in humanity.



The image is a composite. Two views. Front and back photographed in a black background.
Minimum skin retouching. Fortunate to have good skin. Makes it easy for retouchers and photographers. The wall was mix of a rusty metal stain and a bit of black paint to enhance the shadows.

The front was meant to mimic a sort of reflection. Not a real reflection just something that would add a bit more character to the image. Originally the writing on the wall was going to be written on is chest. Decided to keep it on the side since the wall seem more fitting. Hard to choose the color of the writing since it's really dark. I have to credit the original concept to Romeo Castellanos.
Expect to see 2 more images with him in the near future.
-Horizon Spark-
27th October 2014 - 1 comment
In: Blog
This image was not really planned. The plans that I got for creating a spooky concept are still in the air.
I just happen to be out with my best buddy photographing the horizon. It look kind of spooky already. So I thought of posing for what would actually be for the actual concept. Just a test type of thing.

We kind did this several times. The image actually is not as sharp as I usually get them. It reminds me of the typical photos you get from a disposable camera. Since I'm more incline to try to recreate vintage and antique photos this seem right. Except for the color part.

Initially I just processed the image just as it was. But it seem a bit boring...
I had just processed and image of the milky way I took a year ago. Precisely for times like this.
I overlayed it on the clouds. The sky originally was just clouds. Lit by city lights. (Not color corrected, hence the strong orange tint.)



Still felt the sky looked so bear. I remember I had some pics of seagulls that looked kind of spooky. Bingo! That I think complemented the theme. I would have preferred crows. Unfortunately I don't have any crow images. Which of course is going to become my obsession. I Have several themes I can use them in. Always like to work with my own images.
Nevertheless, I think is hard to tell what type of bird they are. I think is more about the initial impression people get. Or at least I hope so.
-Barely there...-
03rd October 2014 - 0 comments
In: Blog
I'm so excited to have finished this image. It was a difficult process to get the skin tone to go as white as possible and still retain the detail that forms the image. I had Unfortunately I did not record the process, still I'm positive I can duplicated it. As most of it was trail and more trail. Haha! Kept on pressing in the same general direction.





As I found out in this quest for complete white, is that it takes a hint of color to create the illusion that is all white but is not black and white. Perhaps not all will agree with me on that. It took a little bit of pink. Which was closer to the skin tone.

Originally the intent of this image was just to get different body parts. It was suppose to be a set of just body parts. As usual after reviewing images in more detail I found this to be a good candidate for this form of art. I have other images in similar condition that I have not yet released but this is so far the best whitening processed.

I have seen similar images on galleries across the net. Yet most have been 3D. At least some of the more solid images. I'm sure I seen some, I misjudged as to how they were created.

Feel free to leave me a comment.
That will probably propel me to write and post more frequently.
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Ismael.
-Sand Waves-
25th September 2014 - 0 comments
In: Blog
Inspiration in black and white photography.
Read More
-West-
04th September 2014 - 0 comments
In: Blog
An idea I had a for quite a while. As far as combining different media to create art.
This image is overall a fashion theme. Base partly on the old west.
Of course there is a twist as far as the facial make-up.
The model was photographed in a white background.

I recently created a desert water painting to match the portrait.
Have not done water painting in recent years. So it took a couple of hours.
This painting was then photographed and white balanced. Only half of the frame was used.

Perhaps if I have the need to bring out another take I will consider releasing the full frame. I originally created a 3D environment and slightly different then this one.
But can't seem to bring myself to publish it yet. I still feel I'm missing something.
Anyways. The model along with the rug and basket were transferred to the water painting.
To compose what you see now.

-Running clear-
14th August 2014 - 0 comments
In: Blog
This is a section of "fall River" Near La Pine, Oregon.
We were coming from exploring the Wickiup reservoir. As we headed towards
La Pine we noticed a parking area. We got in and went down the slope leading to the river.



It was surprisingly beautiful. As you can see, crystal clear water. Plenty of flowers. After a few minutes, We realized there were plenty of mosquito-like-bugs. If you stood 10 seconds, you would have at least 15 bugs on you. Not exaggerating... This was a just one looky and see ya! In less than 2 minutes.
Felt my arms itching for several hours after that. I guess the photo was worth it.


Approximate GPS coordinates:
43°46'19.31"N
121°37'14.30"W
-Portrait time-
01st August 2014 - 0 comments
In: Blog
-Times-
Model: Yaku

I have an admiration for antique images back from say 1960's and such.
I think that there certain photographs, particularly portraits that were retouched, dodged and burned to reflect a perfect exposure.
I respect such work. I think that it takes a certain degree of artistic skill to compensate for what we can see and what the camera not matter how sophisticated, can see. Accounting of course the individual's vision. Add the fact that photoshop was not around. Yet with a few chemical and skillful handwork they managed to turned photographs into timeless iconic images.





Originally I had agree with the model we would create something high contrast black and white images. This particular image was turned sepia. Which is the major tone that you see on the overall look. Then the layer was duplicated and turned black and white. More on the blue spectrum. This layer was masked on to show about 50% opacity on most of the highlights on the model. If you look carefully you see a tiny hint of blue on the black and white. I did this to accentuate the highlights.
I was tempted to add a bit of noise to give it a more realistic antique vibe. But I'm sure most of you will appreciated the fact that I didn't.
Ready to roll-
07th July 2014 - 0 comments
In: Blog

-DSS Archives 2012
Model: Iron Beast.
Also MMA cage fighter and bodybuilder.
At well over 6' and massive muscular body, He is a very formidable contender I'm sure.

As I photographed the sequence of this photo shoot He practiced few punches so close to me I got nervous. He assured me He would not knock me down. LOL!
Just a great guy! Did I mentioned is also a fire fighter?