You guys have heard me mention The Vampire Diaries before, and here I go again! For The Civil War Photo assignment, you’re supposed to take a picture of yourself and then edit it to look like it could have been taken during the Civil War era. This sounded like a lot of fun to me because I like to play around with editing photos and testing effects by trial and error. Circling back to The Vampire Diaries (TVD), the main characters were alive during the Civil War. I’ve been rewatching TVD and all the 1864 flashbacks to when they turned into vampires are always so interesting for me to watch. Here’s a picture that they use throughout many different episodes of the show; I used its coloring as my inspiration for my photo!

Image result for vampire diaries 1864 picture
Katherine Pierce, 1864

Okay so you see the vibe we’re looking for. Well, I wanted my picture to be outside but I don’t have a tripod or anything to help me out with self timers, so I asked my brother, Charles, if he would model for me. As you can see below, he was very into it.

this is my photo before doing anything to it

So, Charles decided to get all dressed up and whip out a sword for the photo. I admire his dedication. Anyways, we got him in costume and in character, and went to our front yard to test out some lighting and poses. We took a bunch of photos, but I chose this one to edit because of the way the sun washed everything out. I thought that that would add to the vibe of old and faded. After I chose the picture, I used the editing features in the Photos app on my iPhone to mess with pretty much everything. I changed the exposure, brilliance, highlights and shadows, contrast, brightness, warmth, vibrance… the list goes on and on. I also added a warm filter to the photo. After that, it still didn’t look the way I wanted it to, so I put it into Instagram and edited more. I added another filter in there and made it a little blurrier. Then I took that version and edited it AGAIN in the Photos app. I finally ended up with my finished product! I think the coloring is pretty close to the TVD reference photo too. Here is my final photo:

Charles Pauley, 1864… kinda

I think that something about the intensity/clarity of his clothes is still off, but I think it looks pretty cool nonetheless. From his torso up looks pretty kickass.

My brother graduated from VCU last year and was living in Richmond, but then his lease was up and we were in the middle of a global pandemic. He had to move back home just like me. He kinda represents the story of our generation right now. All of us barely adult folk had to put our lives and quest for independence on hold because the world is suffering. That being said, he’s a huge part of my life right now in the best way possible. We are buddies and I love him very much. He goes on walks with me and lets me vent so he’s my real form of human interaction and gratitude, which is great for my mental health! Everybody says “thanks, Charles!”

But anyways, this assignment was really fun to me and I felt very connected to the whole process of it. Plus, I got to goof around with my brother. Good times. Maybe Charles will appear again; he can be my muse!

Be well, friends 🙂

— RM

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