BY OYL MILLER
I’ve already prepared the canvas by downloading a jpeg of Chuck Norris to use as our base image. Let’s see, what kind of Photoshop image should we make with Mr. Chuck Norris here? First off, we put a little web friendly yellow into his eyes. We can use the magic wand to isolate all those little pixels that make up that gleam in his eye. And then we use the vector tool to create some piercing lasers emitting from his eyes. There we go. Happy little lasers. I think yellow lasers are precious. Usually people make them red or green, but we like to do things a little differently here on The Joy of Photoshopping. Look at those lovely little energy bolts.
You know what, maybe they need a friend…
So we’ll select the cloning replication stamp from our tool palette, and then recreate his left eye in the center of his forehead. Isn’t that majestic kids? And maybe that third eye is made out of a diamond. So we’ll get on Google and search for an image of a diamond. We want to pick one with good clarity and resolution.
We’ll drag that sparkly little jewel that is about to become Mr. Chuck Norris’s forehead eye onto our desktop and prepare to do a little digital surgery. What else do we need here?
I saw a show on the Discovery Channel about magical deep sea creatures the other week. Apparently there are very special beasts living beneath the sea that no one has ever seen before. I’m fascinated that there could be these breathtaking creatures just roaming our seas like that. So wild. So free. Like us, here, using Photoshop to do whatever we want. That’s why I love nature and Photoshop, they’re both so full of happy little surprises.
I don’t know why I brought that television program up, but maybe we’ll give Mr. Chuck Norris a tentacle for a nose in honor of those special sea beasts no one has ever seen before. Maybe there is even a creature down there that looks like Mr. Chuck Norris. Haha. Now I’m just getting silly. They’ll probably take this part out in the edit.
So now we open our RGB palette and pick a real deep, dark, tentacley green. We slowly build that tentacle out from Mr. Chuck Norris’s nose using his existing nose as a base. See how that’s starting to take shape? I can’t see Mr. Chuck Norris’s real nose anymore. We like to base all our photoshopping off of something real, or else your image will just end up looking like something from Candyland or Bizzaro world. We strive for an element of realism here at The Joy of Photoshopping.
We can’t totally cover up the precious photos we start with. We just want to add a little of our unique personality, to help these images go viral once we upload them to the net. Keep some reality in your fantasy. That’s what I believe. But hey, maybe you believe something totally different. There are no right answers in art or photoshopping. It’s all an individual expression, and what you feel like turning those happy little pixels into next.
(originally published on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency)
Kurt Cobain lives on the t-shirt of a 14-year old Japanese boy
in the side alleys of Harajuku,
hoping a street photographer will find this fashion worthy
of digital immortalizing for Tokyo voyeurs to click
on and rate and validate his existence.
Johnny Cash lives on the jukebox
of a newly opened 1950’s recreationist diner
with premium re-upholstered candy red vinyl stools
and three ashtrays per table, serving as conversation backdrops
for overly and intentionally styled self-proclaimed hipsters,
smoking dwindling cigarettes stuffed with menthol
and dwindling childhood ambition.
Bob Marley lives on the designer purse of the lunching housewife
at Midtown with bedazzled precious stone ornamentation,
assuring all within bling distance, that indeed,
every little thing will be (very) alright,
as tiny, also bejeweled dog sits in matching Bob Marley designer carrier,
pondering its doghood and dreaming of life
beyond a series of brand new bonafide purses.
The Beatles play in the countryside of Japan,
In cars that pass ricefields, and tractors, and convenience stores.
In pizza shops called California pizza,
set against the landscape of ancient Japanese mountain ranges,
majestic and legendary.
Bob Dylan plays in the jean shop
in central Tokyo, and in the bars and cafes
filled with people who don’t care what he is saying,
having lattes and martinis and unformed thoughts of rebellion,
no language or culture to form the matching sentences
or scrawl the protest signs.
The times they are a-changing despite them.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers play in a t-shirt shop,
with it’s scrambled Californication and under it’s bridge,
before an audience of urban dwelling techno designers
who would never touch a drug,
but bop their heads and make their purchasing decisions
to the beats and basslines of post punk poetry.
Jack Kerouac quotes linger printed on the side of a wall,
translated into Japanese, speaking of Buddha and 1950’s American Dreams,
On the Road comes available as a graphic on a tote bag
and also a designer T,
its aesthetic powering the visual landscape,
but not the minds or souls,
of the dwellers of central Tokyo city.
Baseball in Japan is epic.
It’s so epic it’s not even called baseball. It’s called Yakyu.
It’s what it once was in America, but with a uniquely Japanese flavor. The game nestles right in to the culture and they’ve isolated the essence of baseball down to its core. In Japan it’s about the respect for tradition, respect for friends and foes, determination and a craftsman like attention to detail.
Their training regimen is the stuff of legend. Dozens of kids lined up, perfectly spaced, swinging in unison. Somehow making a very individual game, a collective pursuit.
There is black and white footage of Japanese greats honing their swing by chopping bamboo with a samurai sword.
High school baseball gets national TV exposure for an entire month every year. There is a massive single elimination tournament called Koshien that is the grand prize and dream of high school players. Teams from all over the land battle for the ultimate prize. Putting their 360 days of training to the final challenge. Taking perfect swings into the fires of media over exposure. The TV cameras capture it all. The glory of dominant pitching performances and the tearful group agony of defeat.
You can see the tightrope walk of hope and dreams played out before you in the comfort of your living room. It’s high drama, around a child’s game. There are no multi-million contracts out there. It’s guts versus guts. Preparation versus preparation. Willpower against hoping for the best.
The captains get interviewed, standing on stools, like elevated hovering deities above the voracious media. They speak of respect and gratitude. They are well spoken and mild mannered and afraid of being proud. They want to be a part of the game, not the very game itself. There are no prima donna A-Rods here. No LeBron James’ being groomed for something greater. For baseball in Japan, there is nothing higher than to achieve Koshien glory. You still hear Japanese major leaguers speak of their time in this tournament with legendary nostalgia.
It’s a game of traditions within traditions.
On the TV, at the end of every game, they show the players, down on hands and knees, scooping the black dirt of the infield into bags by the handful. Collecting a tangible memory of what just happened. A day of baseball they will never forget. A game that will live on in dusty remembrance in an office cubicle long after the glory of the moment has faded like a ball cap under the summer sun. Take this day with you young ball player.
They show players who didn’t even play, bursting with uncontrollable tears. So committed to the team that they sweat when their heroes sweat and bleed when they bleed. Young players with two years of playing ahead of them, destroyed by the gravity and importance of this one moment. What is a young mind to do with this kind of pressure? With the gaze of society and all those living rooms watching them. They know it and feel it and it is inescapable. All they can do is wash their still white uniform and hold onto their bag of dirtful memories and hope that next year or the year after, they will be the ones whose performance commands such smiles or tears.
This isn’t just baseball going on. There is something more real than sport. It’s a moment infused with the belief in a national pastime. Like when Babe Ruth roamed the Earth in America. And for a handful of years when Ken Griffey Jr. blew bubbles in the emerald expanses of Seattle.
Long live the national pastime of Japan.
Long live baseball.
Long live Yakyu.