When digital photography was in its infancy, much of the discussion centered on how to move the image-making process away from analog (film and print) toward digital (files and pixels). Now, as the digital side of the craft has matured, there is just as much discussion about how to reintroduce some of the magic of analog image capture back into digital images.
The best analog workflows of the earlier days of photography brought with them a certain delicacy of tone and subtlety of texture that can be difficult to reproduce digitally. For image makers who used those techniques, the process of converting continuous tone negatives, slides, or scenes to a series of numerical values always seemed a little soulless. However, the push to represent photographic colors and tones digitally has been unstoppable and has helped revitalize an industry that had changed comparatively little over the previous 30 years. So most of the "analog-ists" (okay, not a real word) succumbed to the prevailing winds and switched to digital capture, process, and output. Nevertheless, the subtle tones and textures of the analog days were never far from their minds, or their hearts.
“Photoshop is a perfect bridge for me between traditional painting and the digital world. I use it without any extra plug-ins or fancy filters. Photoshop is definitely a tool that gives you an amazing feeling of creative freedom. I can compare using it to the freedom of movement found when flying a plane.”
Jarek Kubicki is one such analog-ist. Coming from a background that combines photography and design with traditional painting, drawing, and illustration, he understands the tactile qualities that a simple analog system, such as charcoal on paper, can produce. His work revels in slow transitions from the darkest grays to the deepest blacks, and the subtle flow between the white of the paper or screen to the first hint of discernible texture. He makes little attempt to hide the strokes and marks used to produce his illustrations, instead incorporating their texture into the very fabric and design of each image.
That said, Jarek Kubicki is also a realist. So when he creates his signature images, he readily combines the best of both digital and analog methods. In the process, he manages to capture the gentle textures and subtle tones much heralded in photos created traditionally, and combines them with 21st century speed and efficiency, taking advantage of the almost infinitely variable enhancement control offered by Adobe® Photoshop® and a digital workflow.
“I jumped to Photoshop CS6 from CS3, so as you can imagine, I can see a lot of differences and changes. For instance, I can finally take advantage of working with Smart Objects and all the OpenGL features.”
"I receive many questions from other image makers about the brushes I use in Photoshop. I have just two: circular and squared, without texture. This surprises people, but when I want to gain a more brushlike effect, I take a piece of paper, use a real brush and some paint to apply some strokes, and then I scan it. Then, inside Photoshop, I 'paint' with the scanned brush texture, and even though I'm working digitally, the effect looks more natural. Like real paint on paper."
“I’ve been using Photoshop CS6 since the release of the public beta. I really like the Creative Cloud™ option for subscribing to all of the Adobe programs — this is a revolution, which, I hope, will follow for others in the bigger software market.”
"My advice to artists just starting on their creative journey is forget everything you know, everything you’ve seen before, forget about the appearance of objects and nature, set your mind free from these constraints. And when you feel free, then start to work."
Jarek Kubicki, born in 1976 in Gdańsk, Poland, is an artist, photographer, and web designer. He graduated from Fine Arts High School in Gdynia and the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk. After a few years working at large advertising agencies in Warsaw, he returned to his hometown and started his own studio, Insania Evidens. He continues to design websites, corporate identities, industrial designs, and music album covers and has participated in several group exhibitions showing in Poland, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Romania. See more of Kubicki's work on his personal website.