Howard Huang Mixes Fantasy with Elegance
Text by Missy Harris • Images by Howard Huang
Howard Huang is inspired by fantasy, but fantasy mixed with elegance. He wants something different but beautiful to infuse each image and he is able to achieve this, working mainly in the fashion realm. He shoots for Urban Latino and many other fashion publications.
This shot was part of a spread in Flatiron magazine. "Everything is sketched before I shoot. I am inspired by Japanese animation and I talked to my stylist about creating a futuristic superhero look, but still elegant."
• Epson 1200 • Mamiya 645 • Kodak U100S film • Corel's Ultimate Knockout • Adobe Photoshop • Squizz by Human Software • Imacon Flextight CD Drum Scanner • Mac G3
Huang shot the model (actress Cameron Richardson) with a Mamiya 645, on Kodak U100S film. "I shot the model first. I had a vision of using the building across the street as the background but didn't choose which way I wanted it done. I shot it the next day and voila."
He captured the model against a blue seamless in his studio. "I had Motion Blur on the building itself (I always use a color correction layer instead of correcting the image) and tweaked the color on the background to give a more cool feeling, more abstract, by blending the images together. I had to airbrush the edges of the model to look more realistic, more ambient."
Also in Photoshop, Huang combined the images to create a new document to magazine specs (16x11-horizontal double spread). Then, he had to retouch the girl, her skin and any residue and color that was not wanted. Photoshop didn't have liquify in 1999 when the image was created so he used Squizz by Human Software, a Photoshop plug-in.
Photoshop 6.0 has a liquify brush Huang likes better.
Although the model is very thin, he "pushed in" certain parts, like her stomach and arm. After this was complete, he did color corrections on the edges, going back and forth. "It's like painting. You go back and forth and tweak different layers, working as a whole visually so it has color harmony, not trying to match any fabric in particular. This is just my way of doing editorial jobs, like a fashion spread. This image is a simple one, so it is important, 'where should I position her?' To scale? I did different versions... moving her around, larger, smaller, finally deciding on where she is now."
Huang's focus has recently shifted to more conceptual pieces, as he was recently signed by Getty Images. He is working on incorporating his fashion into the conceptual, concentrating on advertising instead of just pure fashion. Whatever the direction, each image will have that sense of fantasy and elegance that comprise the ideals of Howard Huang.
To contact Howard Huang, go to www.howardhuang.com.