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Photographer's Note

This is a photo of a photo. The original resides in the S-21 Museum in downtown Phnom Penh. During Pol Pot's reign of terror, hundred of people were arrested and tortured before being finally executed. When prisoners were brought to the compound, their photograph was taken and filed away, along with meticulous details of the methods of torture and execution.

The S-21 Museum was once a primary school. During Pot's reign it was turned into a concentration camp, and now is a museum documenting the insanity that resided there some twenty years ago.

The museum displays thousands of these photos, but the expression of this man drew me like a magnet. I still find it a most disconcerting image.

***

The original of this picture was posted back in the days when TE was just starting to pick up pace, and was well received, considering it was diabolically unsharp, lacking in almost any detail! I can only say that my excuse is that it was scanned from a contact sheet, and then enlarged. I didn't even know what 'sharpening' meant back then, so many thanks to TE. I don't think I'd be half the photographer I am now if it wasn't for you guys.

This has now been scanned from the negative, and has been subtley retouched quite a bit. First was a major shift in contrast, my meter recorded the white background as medium gray, because I had accidently left it on partial metering. This exposed many faults in the background, so I selected around the subject and replaced with pure white background. Next I used burn and dodge tools to bring out facial features. The next step was to remove my reflection (it was all over the right hand side of his shirt). I used clone stamp and blur tool for this. Next I cropped the image so that there was an even space between the subject and the edge of the frame, leaving just a very little amount of room. This I feel enhances that boxed in feel of the picture. Then just resized and sharpened for TE.

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