What make nature beautiful are its little flaws: a wrinkled petal or crooked tree trunk. That’s why fashion models, with their perfectly symmetrical faces and a fully checked list of culturally agreed  beauty requirements, seem like plastic clothes hangers. Adding glimpses of personality would take attention away from clothing, I guess.

With little effort, my trusted Nikon SLR delivers perfectly lit, sharp and color balanced photos. Sometimes, almost too perfect. I found myself missing the grittiness of old photos. So, I went a little Snapseed crazy. Snapseed, just like Instagram or Hipstamatic, is an app that allows you to grittify images with just few clicks. Adding blur or vignettes transforms those perfectly composed images to something much more fun and interesting.

What is Snapseed?
Snapseed, originally an amateur cousin for the pro photo manipulation software from Nik Software, was purchased by Google in 2012. It used to be available as a Mac app, but if you want to use it now with your desktop system, you’ll have to go through Chrome browser, powered by the Native Client technology. It is currently available for iOS and Android mobile platforms for free and has more options compared to the original. However, this makes workflow a bit cumbersome because non-mobile photos have to be imported to your device. 
 

Some years ago, photographers went to great lenghts recreating a tilt shift look that you were only able to get with vintage large format cameras, special lenses or with a camera which is manipulated so that a life-sized location or subject looks like a miniature-scale model. Previously I have also used multiple Photoshop steps to achieve the same effect, but the picture above was done with Snapseeds’s tilt-shift filter. Colors were also saturated to make the town (Jerome, AZ) look more like a toy

 

Above, see the before and after images of a trailer and a cable car, I photographed in California. I have only ran these through Snapseed, no Photoshop used.

 

Snapseed does an especially good job adding vintage details; light leaks, paper wear and tear and film grain. I am fascinated with the old tableaus in the natural history museums. These displays of taxidermy animals can only be considered entertaining with a thick coating of irony. However, I make sure to photograph them when I see one. They’ll be most likely gone soon. Running these photos through Snapseed gives the photos depth and mystery.

 

I liked this old photo of my son already before the Snapseed treatment, but somehow a vignette, blur and B&W transformation brought his face alive.

 

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