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Shot Of The Day

What Might Have Been

What Might Have Been

Rangefinder Magazine’s Annual Cookbook by Michelle Perkins as it appeared in the WPPI Annual Show Guide on page 166: “While only ninety miles from Florida, Cuba was more remote than any other country I’d ever visited,” says Kat Silverglate, a private-commission photographer and digital artist. Politically, it was difficult for an American to gain entry. Practically, as the photojournalist for a religious mission, her travel was limited by the strict terms of her license and heavily regulated by the authorities. “I knew, standing on Cuban soil, that this was no regular assignment,” remembers Silverglate. Waiting for the right lighting, the right moment, the right anything was not a luxury she enjoyed on this trip; there were few, if any, second chances. “The voice in my head kept repeating, ‘Get the shot, just get the shot,’” she says. Because their mission took them to remote regions on the western tip of Cuba, Havana was more of a checkpoint than a destination. Therefore, this image, as with most she took in Havana, was taken through the window of their quickly moving, brutally small rental car. “The pastor driving us that day certainly had his test of faith as he listened to me repeatedly beg—in horrible Spanish—for him to slow down while I tried to capture as much of this crumbling city as possible,” says Silverglate. Havana is falling down. For nearly fifty years, most of the buildings have been frozen in time—no maintenance, no repair, no paint. “Passing through Havana makes you feel as if you are in a time machine,” recalls Silverglate, “right down to the cars from the 1950s parked in the middle of the street.” In contrast to this land that time forgot, immaculately maintained government buildings pop out of nowhere. This shot, which Silverglate calls What Might Have Been, serendipitously appeared at a stoplight where the car paused long enough for her to snap two frames. “For me,” says Silverglate, “it captured the remarkable dichotomy in the Havana skyline.” After cropping out excess power lines and moving one of the cars, Silverglate super-saturated the image in Photoshop CS and used Curves to adjust the sky tone. To finish the image, she used a Wacom pad with pressure-sensitive pen to color-burn the buildings. As the title suggests, says Silverglate, these added colors in the image reflect what might have been—with a few gallons of fresh paint.

Posted: 16 March 2006