retouched photos

“Hey, Carl, I think I found something you’ll like.”

Carl the Animator: “Mmhmm?”

Ted the Animator: “Open up Photoshop, and load any random frame.”

Carl the Animator: “Gotcha.”

Ted the Animator: “…nice choice. Now, use the ‘quick selection’ tool to automatically grab most of the purple background.”

Carl the Animator: “Done.”

Ted the Animator: “Now, hit ‘delete’.”

Carl the Animator: “…it wants to use ‘Content-Aware’ fill. What’s that?”

Ted the Animator: “The funniest thing ever. Hit ‘ok’.”

Carl the Animator: “Ok, I was just–”

Carl the Animator: “…oh my gosh.”

Ted the Animator: “Told’ja.”

Carl the Animator: “That is… a masterpiece. The heck did it do?”

Ted the Animator: “Photoshop looked at the rest of the image, and tried to clone in a nice, natural background.”

Carl the Animator: “…which, I take it, doesn’t always work.”

Ted the Animator: “Yes indeedy. Try another.”

Carl the Animator: “Let’s see how it handles all the shapes in this one.”

Carl the Animator: “…freeeaaaky.’

Ted the Animator: “It looks like something you’d see in an ancient manuscript prophesying the end times.”

Carl the Animator: “What if we reverse it, and select a character instead?”

Ted the Animator: “Hm, smart.”

Carl the Animator: “…oh.”

Ted the Animator: “It’s like the creepiest invisibility cloak ever.”

Carl the Animator: “The selection tool likes to grab things weirdly, too… it just got Velma’s glasses while I dragged around her head.”

Ted the Animator: “Well, let’s see what happens.”

Carl the Animator: “…wow.”

Ted the Animator: “My favorite part is the elongated double face between Daphne and Fred.”

Carl the Animator: “Here, lemme grab one more from Aloha.”

Ted the Animator: “Should be a–… wait, Carl, you missed selecting one of the background guys’ fa–”

Carl the Animator:BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Ted the Animator: “Magnificent.”

Carl the Animator: “He looks so confused!”

Ted the Animator: “ ‘Um… hello? Anyone? How did I get inside this hair?’ “

Carl the Animator: “…can’t… breathe….”

Ted the Animator: “I’ll go put on another pot of coffee… it’s gonna be a looooong night of ‘shopping, I can feel it.”

While You Were Sleeping

“You ever get bored, Cas?”  Dean asks one evening.  “While I’m sleeping, I mean.”

“Angels do not experience boredom, Dean,” Cas replies, not looking up from his novel – he’s taken quite a shine to literature these days, even if most of them are cheap romance novels with shirtless men on the covers.  “At least, not the way you do.”

At present, they’re lying in bed together, Dean in his favorite dead guy robe and Cas in his fuzzy bumble bee pajamas.  

Dean had shown them to him as a joke, recalling offhandedly his former fascination with the insects.  That had been when he was crazy, however, and he’d incorrectly assumed Cas had gotten over his hobby as an amateur bee keeper. 

Needless to say, he was wrong.  

At present, Cas doesn’t seem to feel inclined to elaborate on the statement, and Dean doesn’t feel inclined to probe further.  Cas once stood for four hours on the same spot, after all – it makes sense that he wouldn’t balk at a few hours of quiet time.

“Alright, well why don’t you put Abs McAbington away for a bit,” he suggests, gesturing resentfully to the clothing-impaired gentleman on the over of Cas’s current novel, My Rich Vampire Sugar Daddy.  “Us mere mortals’ve gotta get some sleep around here.”

Cas cocks his head, squinting apprasingly at him.  “Are you...jealous, Dean?”

Dean scoffs, arms folding defensively.  “No.

“You needn’t worry, Dean:  the man is only a poorly retouched photo rendition,” Cas deadpans, patting his hand consolatorily.  “I could cover him up with a small rag if he upsets you, or perhaps use a sharpie to give him some more appropriate attire.”

Dean scowls.  It’s getting harder and harder to tell whether or not Cas is joking these days, though he swears he’s trolling him at least ninety percent of the time.

“Alright, smartass,” he huffs.  “Just turn out the light and let me get some sleep, will ya?”

Dean’s suspicions are confirmed as a faint smile tugs at Cas’s lips.  “Very well, Dean,” he says, as he does as he is bid.  The light  turns off with a pleasing click, enveloping Dean in soothing darkness.  “Goodnight,” he adds.  Though of course, he isn’t going to sleep.  

He never does. 

The next time the subject arises, it’s shortly after light’s out.  

“You ever miss sleeping?”  Dean asks.

At present, Cas is lying snuggled up to Dean with his back to him – sometimes, he enjoys the comfort of being the “little spoon.”

“Perhaps I would have enjoyed it, under other circumstances,” he admits.  “But predominantly, the only time I spent sleeping was in homeless shelters and abandoned vehicles.  It was a lonely time for me, which I would vastly like to forget.”  He shakes his head, frowning.  “I do not miss it.”

“Well, don’t you at least miss dreaming?”  Dean asks, thinking about his favorite dreamland haunts, fishing by the peer of his favorite lake.  “I mean, even in the bad times, dreams can be nice.”  

Cas shakes his head.  “Dreaming was also unpleasant,” he says candidly.  “I frequently had nightmares – of Naomi, of my dying brethren, of…of you telling me to leave.”  He pauses, swallowing wetly.  “Even my fondest dreams only served to remind me of how much I missed you.”  

Dean says nothing, but he pulls him closer in his arms, nuzzling into the back of his neck.  “So sorry I hurt you, baby,” he murmurs, kissing him softly behind the shell of his ear.

“You know I forgive you, Dean.  You were only doing what you thought was best.”  Cas says this without hesitation, and Dean can tell he means it.  

Dean sighs.  At first, he was relieved when Cas didn’t hold it against him, but he’d be lying if he said there weren’t times when he almost wished he would.  When he wished he’d get angry with him, snap at him just once, so the issue wouldn’t be left feeling so damn unresolved.

But he never does, and Dean is left waiting for a consequence that will apparently never come.  And consequently, neither will absolution.  

Dean smiles wryly into the dark nest of hair.  Who knew unconditional love could be such a burden?

Weeks later, Dean blinks open his eyes to the rustle of paper.  It’s pitch dark in his bedroom, but the clock blinks 3:30 AM.

“…Cas?”  

“Yes, Dean.”

“What’re you doin’?”

“I’m reading,” Cas replies simply, as though this were in any way normal behavior.  “Priests and Forbidden Passion.  It’s quite engaging, if occasionally blasphemous.”

Dean sits up, propping himself on his elbows.  “Ar you kiddin’ me, Cas?  It’s black as Satan’s asshole in here!”

“Satan’s asshole is not black, Dean,” Cas corrects him, calmly turning a page.  “And angels can see in the dark.”

Of course they could.

“…Well, is there any way you can stop for now?” he grumbles, rubbing his eyes blearily.  “It’s kinda distracting, and I need my four hours, so…”

Cas sighs.  “Certainly, Dean.”

Dean waits patiently as Cas sets the book on their bedside table and lies back down beside him.  

“Cas?”

“Yes, Dean.”

“…What do you usually do while I’m sleeping?” he asks.  “When you’re not reading your religious smut, that is.”

“It’s erotic literature, Dean,” Cas corrects.

Dean snorts.  “Yeah.  If that’s what you call literature, so’s Busty Asian Beauties.”

It’s too dark to see, but he can feel Cas glower at him.  “…And to answer your question,”  he patiently continues. “Predominantly, I watch over you: I count your freckles, watch your eyes twitch beneath their lids.  Listen to you as you talk in your sleep.”

“Oh, shut your face,”  Dean scoffs.  “I don’t talk in my sleep, man.”

“I can assure you, you do,” says Cas gravely.  “It’s quite entertaining, at times:  I never knew you felt so passionately about protecting rabbits.”

Dean opens his mouth to protest, but Cas continues, “Moreover, I protect you:  I keep the nightmares from your mind, give you pleasant dreams when needed.  Keep your mind and soul safe while your body is resting, and protect all facets of you from harm.  I watch over you,” he reiterates.  

Dean blinks.  He had noticed that his nightmares had severely decreased over the past year or so, but he’d never noticed the correlation between the start of his and Cas’s relationship and the time they stopped.  God, he was an idiot.

“You, uh…sure I’m worth all that trouble, Cas?”  he chuckles, though he’s only half joking.

He can’t see, but he can feel Cas’s eyes on him, the adoration of his gaze almost palpable.  “You always are.”  

Dean smiles softly to himself.  Staring into the blackened room, it occurs to him how much he used to be afraid of the dark:  after hell, it took him years to fall asleep comfortably without the lights on.  Or else, a good amount of alcohol.

Now, he always knows he’s safe with his angel next to him.

He wishes he could convey to Cas how grateful he is to have him there, how much his presence has influenced his life.  But then, communication never was his strong suit.

Instead, he reaches out, feeling around for Cas’s hand and intertwining his fingers in his own.  He smiles, feeling utterly content as he lets his eyes flutter closed. 

“Goodnight, angel,” he murmurs. 

“Goodnight, Dean.”

A photograph of the Moors Murders, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, at their home in Manchester. This would’ve been taken within the same room Brady would conspire into the early hours of the morning with Hindley’s brother-in-law, David Smith, about the topic of robbing a bank together and the will to commit murder. Brady eventually proved his willingness to kill within the same room, as he bludgeoned 17 year old Edward Evans with in axe, in front of Smith. 

flickr

Retouching Desk by Steve Given

<br /><i>Via Flickr:</i>
<br />While the gentleman at the rear disregards work, health and safety regulations by going bare-footed in a photographic department, he continues to entertain the photo-finishing staff.  The lack of a radio at that time would certainly demand his skills on the guitar.

While it’s difficult to see exactly what the gentleman in the white dust-coat is doing, the lady is spotting or retouching a large format portrait negative prior to the subsequent printing process.

This photographic lab is in Germany during the 1920’s.

Please go here to see more images of Photographers at Work www.flickr.com/photos/69559277@N04/sets/72157629353901321…

Produced from the original negative in my collection.