DT&G Magazine Editor's Column
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interviews with leading designers, artists, and authors...

Katrin Eismann

... the original Photoshop Diva

DT&G   Greetings, Katrin! -- it's wonderful that you could take time from your busy schedule to visit with us today! Thank you so much!
      I know you've got a revised "Photoshop Restoration & Retouching" ready to launch ... and rumor has it there's a "Masking & Composting" book in the works, is that right?

Katrin:   Yes, that's right Fred. I just finished the second edition of the retouching book and after finishing a busy summer teaching schedule combined with same vacation time - I will dive right back into working on the masking book. The problem is I keep coming up with new techniques and images that keep me away from writing!

DT&G   Aside from all your writing and speaking engagements, as well as having recently been awarded your MFA degree -- where in the world do you find time to sleep?

Katrin:   It's not too bad. You know my husband John McIntosh, the Chair of the Computer Arts Program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and I are really blessed. We both work hard and long hours BUT we love what we do so never feel deprived or drained.

DT&G   So where might we find Katrin when she's not at the computer?

Katrin:   Waiting in airports lounges....
      No seriously whenever we travel I make sure to take our cameras and just love walking and walking to take pictures. When I'm home a make an effort to work out regularly to avoid the computer thigh syndrome. I run, lift weights, and both my husband and I are compulsive (and very aggressive) golfers.

DT&G   Katrin, we've evangelized your "Restoration" book ever since it hit the bookshelves -- it's a blockbuster for sure!
      Rather than trying to cover it all today, let's focus on just couple of very frequent problems we hear from readers -- okay?

Katrin:   Of course - lets go for it.

DT&G   Many readers lament that they feel as if the "black & white" community has been left behind these days with all the high-end techniques, and full color. What's your take on Black & White work?

Katrin:   I love the abstractness and intelligence that a well crafted black and white photograph can imbue on the simplest of objects - think of Edward Weston's peppers or Paul Strand's white picket fence. I respect the excellent work that Jon Cone and Huntington Wutherall are doing that are keeping the highest standards of black and white photography alive.
      Although working with color is easier for many people, I think that if B&W is your passion then you just can't listen to the naysayers but have to follow your vision.

DT&G   Faced with making photos look good in black & white reproduction, such as newsletters, or say company employee directories and the like, what are the most important areas of B&W to focus on?

Katrin:   The most important thing to understand is where the true black or white point is for the type of printing process and paper you are going out to is. By knowing where the black and white point is then you can create realistic images that take advantage of the full range of tonality.

DT&G   Katrin, you are one of the few Photoshop trainers who stresses the use of a stepwedge. In the old days of making halftones, the stepwedge was an essential tool for goodreproduction. I hope you kept that section in the revised book...

Katrin:   You bet I did, Fred!
      In chapter 2 I show the reader how to use a 21-step wedge to see how the printer is translating tones.

Gray points in the photo correspond directly to steps in the wedge. Print the photo with the wedge, and note where the steps fall. Now modify the image using an adjustment layer -- increase contrast, brighten, or otherwise change the image and print again. Now note where the steps fall. You can use this technique to predict and determine how changes in your curves and contrast actually effect printed output. It's the way photographers and graphic labs for printers have done it for years.

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