Another Take on Madison

It was quite apparent from skyrocketing visit stats on Tuesday that Madison was good for my blog. 🙂 With more than just a frank lust for better blog stats in view, today I’m presenting another take on Madison.

I’ll begin by acknowledging that my father will hate this portrait. My most vocal critic, he usually doesn’t share my taste for what he considers unnecessary creative augmentation of photographs. I stand pleased with my defiance, however, because in this case both the subject of this portrait — and more importantly, her mother — really like it!

I have always been drawn to the nontraditional and that certainly includes photography. In my teens, my first photographic heroes were norm-smashers Jerry Uelsmann and Robert Mapplethorpe, and in many respects they retain those roles for me still. I personally hate being the subject of photographs, for they unfortunately tend to always end up looking just like me. I, therefore, find the application of some creative augmentation can help make a photo of me bearable. Then you have someone like Madison: visually unflawed, beautiful and well-loved by the camera — nothing was necessary to make this portrait more interesting, for she does that all on her own. However, I know Madison to be a complex and intelligent teenager with a whole lot more going for her than beauty. I thus wanted to visually represent her as all that; to reflect the many textures and layers of character that overlay someone who is far more than just a stunning young woman.

I hope you like the photo. I would like to do more portraits in this vein, but know it’s not something everyone will find to their taste. Is it yours?

"The Many Textures of Madison",  Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/5 at 1/125th sec., 82mm

“The Many Textures of Madison”, Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/5 at 1/125th sec., 82mm


Photographing people, places, pets and ponderings
throughout Central Florida.


  1. Madison is beautiful! No question about that.
    And you’re wrong. I don’t “hate” the portrait.
    But I wonder if Madison’s beauty would not have been more apparent at first glance of the photograph if the viewer were not forced to think about the post-processing “creativity?”
    I know, I’m an old fart not as creative in my head as my son.


    1. I’m happy to be wrong (again)! The point of the obfuscation and textures was precisely that Madison’s beauty need not be more obvious, “more apparent at first glance.” I wanted to inspire one to look deeper into the photograph, beyond the obvious. But again, I’m so pleased to be wrong! 🙂


  2. Hello Earl,
    Please excuse my late comments (I’m trying to catch up on a lot, as I’ve been away from the computer for some time), but wanted to say I’m enjoying your ‘Madison’ series 🙂

    If I may say so, I think I can see where your father (he seems like such a wonderful – and cool – person!) is coming from, and I’m pretty sure my father would say similar things. As for me, I like both styles – the more ‘straightforward’ approach you took with the first photo, and this more creative version. The ‘default’ setting in me is for a straightforward, no-frills approach when it comes to shooting people and animals, but the more I am exposed to so many artists and so many different styes, the more I can appreciate creative post-processing. I may be biased of course, because I’ll admit to having a rebellious streak too 😉

    I personally like this textured style. As you said, it forces me to look more carefully at the photo, beyond the ‘obviousness’ of Madison’s beauty. And although I don’t know this young lady personally, I get the impression that she is a beautiful individual in the inside as well, and perhaps why this style looks very nice on her. Because I can see her beauty is not only skin-deep.

    And if I may so, I think you’re very photogenic (from the few snapshots you’ve posted previously) and I’d love to take photos of you should the opportunity arise. I hope that doesn’t sound too strange? And I hope you could make some sense of this rambling.

    Looking for to seeing more of your wonderful work, both traditional & non-traditional styles!
    And this year, I hope to experiment more with my photography, so thanks for the inspiration!



    1. Thank you so much for your frank and somewhat humorous comment, Takami; I so enjoyed reading it and appreciate you taking the time to write it. I’m pleased to learn you’ve liked the pictures of Madison—she was a fun subject to photograph.
      I look forward to seeing you experiment more with your own processing! May 2015 be a year of photographic discovery for you!
      Best wishes to you and yours,


  3. Hi Earl – I like textures and use them a lot, but I’d probably have used gaussian blur and then masked it so that the colour on her face was consistent but without the pattern distracting from her beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

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