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Revisit | Freddy Corbin Portrait (A Collaboration)

Last fall I was hired by Inked Magazine to photograph Oakland Tattoo artist Freddy Corbin mentioned in an earlier blog post here. Soon after final images were sent to the photo editor, I started manipulating an outtake from the shoot. Below is the retouched outtake that would serve as the starting point for the experiment.

photo illustration portrait of tattoo artist Freddy Corbin
Retouched outtake and starting point.

My goal was to extract Freddy from the original image and apply a graphic treatment while still maintaining the purpose of a portrait. Last year I started converting images into line art and overlaying them on wood. When you convert a photo to line art you have to reconstruct elements of the image that get lost in the process. Below is the result of the cleaned up line art conversion applied to a wood texture source image.

photo illustration portrait of tattoo artist Freddy Corbin
Converted into line art and layered on top of a source image of wood.

The version above was fairly simple due to all the surrounding space which helps maintain the portrait, but it felt a little unfinished. A week later I added opaque white to the subject and a drop shadow which added more dimension.

photo illustration portrait of tattoo artist Freddy Corbin
Opaque white added and a drop shadow to increase dimension.

At this point I felt like I was applying effects to an image without building new content. So I sent an email version to Brian Bounds for some advice and he sent back a mock up that took it to a whole new level. A collaboration ensued and after a few emails Brian came up with the image you see below. He added the bleeding heart and hand lettered text that is a combination of Old English and vintage West Coast graffiti lettering. The passage comes from a 1887 book on sea chanteys which services the subject well since sailing plays a role in the history of tattooing. The finished piece was printed one time and mounted on wood. It was sold at the Hell’s Belles Car Club art auction to benefit the Bay Area Women’s And Children’s Center in San Francisco.

photo illustration portrait of tattoo artist Freddy Corbin
Finished collaboration with Brian Bounds who added the bleeding heart and custom hand lettered text.

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