Photo Book Review: Ravens by Masahisa Fukase

X1002138 2Called “one of the most important photobooks in the history of the medium,” Ravens, by Masahisa Fukase, was initially published in i966. With small editions, this book has long been in demand. Mack Books republished this work last year, in a lovely slipcased edition.

As the publisher says:

Fukase’s haunting series of work was made between 1975 and 1986 in the aftermath of a divorce and was apparently triggered by a mournful train journey to his hometown. The coastal landscapes of Hokkaido serve as the backdrop for his profoundly dark and impressionistic photographs of ominous flocks of crows. The work has been interpreted as an ominous allegory for postwar Japan.

Read the rest of the review on my photo website.

Tom Crewe · Colourisation – London Review of Books

We are so accustomed to the muffling effect of black and white – which now conveys, almost as if that were its original purpose, chronological distance, and which tells us, quietly but insistently, that what we’re looking at is over and done with – that its sudden removal thrusts us into a present, though not our own.

The effect of colorizing photos does much more than just add color to them: it brings them into the present. We’re so used to old photos being in black and white that when we see a colorized old photo, it looks almost contemporary.

Colourised photographs collapse time, flatten it, make a continuous present, if only for an instant, and our traditional defences against the past wobble. We can feel that it was real – and, in that instant, our comfortable insistence that the past is a foreign country becomes suspect. It could have been yesterday. He might have been me.

Source: Tom Crewe · Colourisation · LRB 22 March 2018

How to Add Sepia Tone to a Photo in Luminar

Many people like to add a sepia tone to black and white photos to give them an antique look. While you can do this with many apps, Luminar 2018 does not have a tool to do so. You can use some of its filters that include sepia tones, but with other modifications, such as grain, changes in contrast, etc. If you want to simply add sepia to a photo, you can do so, by tweaking one of Luminar’s filters.

I’ll start with a photo of Titus the Cat. It’s evening, he’s relaxed, and some sepia tone might be a nice enhancement for this photo. I’ve already applied a light vignette to focus on his face.

Pre sepia

In Luminar, choose Layers > Add New Adjustment Layer. You don’t need to do this – you can make the adjustment directly to the photo – but using an adjustment layer means you can undo any changes, or temporarily turn them off easily to compare your original photo to the edited version.

Next, click Add Filters, and add the Photo Filter. This lets you add color to your photo. You may want to do so to simulate a specific color filter, but you can also use it to add subtle coloring, such as sepia.

Photo filter

Sepia is just a light reddish-brown color, and to add it to your photo, just play with the sliders in the Photo Filter to find the tone you like. Start by adjusting the Hue, then the Amount; you won’t need a lot of color to make it look good, and too much will not look like sepia. You can then adjust the saturation, to make sure that there’s not too much color. As you can see in this screenshot, I chose a setting of 33 for the Hue, 26 for the Amount, and 43 for saturation.


And you can compare the before and after versions of the photo to see the difference:

Sepia before after

Sepia tone should be subtle, but if you want more color, change the Amount slider, or change both the Amount and Saturation. If you want less, adjust accordingly.

If you like using sepia tone on your black and white photos, choose Filters > Save Filter Preset, and give a name to the preset, such as My Sepia Preset. You’ll then be able to apply it with a single click from the Presets section of Luminar.

Create Public Albums with Apple Photos

Apple Photos, and iCloud Photo Library, make it easy to store and sync photos across devices. You can also create albums that you share with friends and families. But the ability to create public albums or galleries is MIA, almost.

Back in the day, with .Mac and MobileMe, it was dead simple to make photo galleries to show off your pictures on the web. In 2012, Apple added photo sharing features to iCloud, which are essentially what we have today as shared albums. I had wondered why you couldn’t create a public album, and I mentioned it on Twitter a few days ago. One person pointed out that it was possible, and showed me where the feature was; it’s not easy to find. For example, the Help isn’t any help:


Start by creating a new album in Photos. When you’ve done that, click the Share button, and choose iCloud Photo Sharing. Click New Shared Album, enter a name for the album, then click Create.

Public album1

Next, select the shared album, click the People button in the toolbar, and check Public Website. In a couple of seconds, Photos will display a link with the URL of the album. You can click it to view it, and if you right-click the link, you can choose Copy Link to send it to others. Here’s a link to the album I’ve set up for this article.

Public album2

It’s surprising that Apple thinks that this is a good user experience. The public album option should be visible when you set up a shared album; there should be a checkbox under the field where you add users. I’m sure that most users – like me – never discover this feature because it’s so well hidden.