Hey there and welcome back for Week 27 of the 2018 photography challenge! This week’s prompt explores the concept of imitation, so what better way to emulate a local photographer than to perform some Detroit photography?


They say imitation is the highest form; so, past or present; choose your favorite master photographer and imitate their art or technique.


This category is designed to push you to go beyond sight, to insight; to take inspiration and make it a reality. Vision exists in your imagination and is revealed your photographs; expressing something otherwise invisible. Developing a Vision for your work is showing to others what you see in your mind’s eye.

Gary Washington’s Photography Work

Washington was born in Detroit and grew up in Pontiac Michigan. His inspiration for photography began when opportunity struck through an offer to work abroad for a few months. According to Washington’s website, “I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to buy a nice camera like my older brother (he is the same person who inspired me to practice and keep taking pictures). Not even realizing, a passion for photography would grow out of the experience.”

He typically shoots architecture, landscapes and anything else that catches his eye with an expansive portfolio of work that captures various cultures abroad.

“Traveling abroad was nerve wrecking for my family at the time; especially with all of the uncertainties in the world. But for me it was exciting and something new,” wrote Washington. “I genuinely love learning about other cultures. I am intrigued by their food, music, language and lifestyles. Along the way I have met a lot of wonderful people, we laugh, eat and enjoy life. These types of experiences are irreplaceable to me.”

In Washington’s portfolio lies numerous landscape and architecture photos. His color style varies from vibrant to grayscale, but what caught my eye was one of his pieces painted on a wall in the Renaissance Center in Detroit, shot in grayscale with the Transcending monument at the forefront of the composition.

Symbolism of the Transcending Monument in Detroit

Detroit Photography Gary Washington Photo Transcending Monument

This is the photo that Gary Washington shot for the GM Renaissance Center photo contest.

Transcending is a monument dedicated to the labor movement in Michigan, comprised of two steel beams weighing 30 tons affixed to meet in the center at the top of the monument. However, there is a gap at the top, symbolizing the work that still needs to be done in the movement.

The symbolism in his photo is striking, especially with the Ren Cen in the background of the composition and the American flag waving in the wind.

I decided to recreate the composition based on another photo that Washington shot for a photo contest held by the Renaissance Center, standing in about the same spot that I assume Washington had stood in for the contest.

While I recreated the composition, I decided to add my own flair to the photo in post-editing that contrasts Washington’s urban grayscale photography style.

Detroit Photography Gary Washington Photo Transcending Monument Header Photo

Here’s my own rendition of Gary Washington’s work.

Photo Edits for the Detroit Photography Prompt

If you didn’t check out my photo edits video, below are the color edits I made for the photography challenge:

  • Contrast: 30
  • Highlights: -43
  • Shadows: +39
  • Clarity: +56
  • Golden Hour: +100
  • Sunrays
  • X: +100
  • Y: -3
  • Yellow Saturation: -100
  • Green Saturation: +100
  • Blue Saturation: +55
  • Vibrance Filter

Last week I decided to cancel my Adobe Subscription. My student discount ran out this year, hiking the overall price up to $50 a month which I felt was an unnecessary expense given that I use most of the programs sparingly every month.

As a replacement I picked up a license key for Luminar, which is an alternative to Adobe Lightroom (I’ll have to do a comparison post on the two programs as I use Luminar more). Overall I’m really impressed with how easy it is to navigate alongside the plethora of filters and color correction options available.

Two filters that I used were the Golden Hour filter, which makes the color scheme look as if I shot at sunset, and Sunrays, which mimics a sunburst effect in the photo.

As far color correction goes I didn’t perform much selective color edits, mainly reducing the yellows in the trees to bring out a more vibrant green feel to the photo. Normally I would try to reduce the yellows and the greens, but with the greens subdued there really isn’t much vibrance to the photo other than the blue of the sky.

The Transcending monument and the Renaissance Center are both an industrial gray, which doesn’t pop despite the reduction in background colors. I played with a grayscale version of the photo but wasn’t pleased with how it turned out, so I stuck with my saturated/vibrant color editing style this time around.

Overall I’m really pleased with how the photo turned out and I’m also excited to play with some of the other features that are available in Luminar.

Detroit Photography Conclusion

What did you think of this week’s photography challenge? I would love to hear your feedback in the comment’s section below! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out last week’s photography challenge where I explored how to perform Low Key Photography.