The Making Of “All You Could Ever Ask For”

“All You Could Ever Ask For” 35mm, f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO 280, Lens: Nikon 35mm f1.8, Camera: Nikon D7100, edited in Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro
While we were visiting Mallorca in October I went to see Robert Graves house in Deia, as I have written about here. I already said that the kitchen and Mr. Graves’ study were the most impressive rooms in this very lovely house, but there was at least one more sight that I really liked and that was the small table in front at the window in the room with the printing press.
On the table was a Smith & Corona Standard typewriter which I figure to be some 80 years old and although mine was not that antique, I do remember how different writing was on a typewriter. It was like you had to be writing as if you really meant it.
And I think of this as the equivalent of what we call “distraction-free writing” today, meaning the software will just go to full screen, eliminate all menu bars and such and all you got is your words and a blinking cursor
In those days it meant a clean desktop to which you would just bring some paper. And maybe a cup of coffee, maybe tea in the case of Mr. Graves. And that would be all. The typewriter and your thoughts. Those already on paper and those still in your head. And the window would be so important. So that when you sat back for a moment you wouldn’t just look at a wall, which is probably one of the dumber things man came up with. Always sit somewhere where it makes sense that you have eyes.
“All you could ever ask for was this place. Where you could sit all day and everybody in the house was used to you typing away on that old Smith & Corona and when the words wouldn’t come you’d look up and out in the garden or to the trees beyond the road, feeling the sea behind all that. And at some point, the muse would touch your shoulder, kiss your neck and remind you of dinner. Bliss.”
— Holger Mischke
Anyways I was in the house and although I was alone for the better part of my visit, I didn’t use a tripod. I didn’t even bring one because I wasn’t even sure I would be allowed to photograph in the house (which I was told would be perfectly alright) and out of respect for the house I didn’t feel good about setting up a tripod in there. So ISO it was, but this room was so bright, that I didn’t even have to go to extremes.
Still, the window was pretty bright and I had to bring down the exposure a bit to bring back the trees and plants outside the window. I thought of Multi-RAW processing, but bringing down the Whites and Highlights in Lightroom was good enough. I had to remove chromatic aberration manually and apply the lens correction, but that was pretty much it in Lightroom and I exported the image to Silver Efex Pro for black and white conversion.
Starting out with the Full Contrast preset, I used a red filter and lowered the contrast a little bit until I liked the tones in the image and had some detail in the darker areas of the chair and desk. I still had to place a control point on the upper part of the window frame to brighten it up just a touch. I burned the edges to somewhat “frame” the image and I was done. I like experimenting with layers and filters in Photoshop and I thought because of the bright light coming in through the window this would be a problematic image, but this time I think this simple approach worked well.

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