Steve Goldband

"Taos Pueblo Blue Door"
First place Manipulated Images

Steve Goldband's startling photo--winner in the Manipulated Image category--is the result of three unconventional photographic elements: blinding light, advanced digital technology and the insightful mind of a teenager.

Goldband came across his subject--a small home with a frayed welcome mat and a striking blue door--while visiting the Taos pueblo in New Mexico. "It was a bright day with blinding sun," he says. "I was taken with the texture (of the pueblo), and the blue door stood out."

The light conditions, Goldband explains, would normally be less than ideal for photographic purposes. But in this case, the strong desert sun intensified the stark beauty of the pueblo.

"The light accented the shadows and geometry of the scene," Goldband says. "I'm into light, texture, and geometry."

He took the picture with a standard camera and 35 mm slide film and scanned the negatives into his computer. Using his digital printer, Goldband experimented with printing the shot first in color, then in black-and-white.

The gray-scale photo created good texture, Goldband says, but his 16-year-old daughter, Sarah, who is taking a photo class at Palo Alto High School, reminded him that the blue of the door was missing from the shot. Goldband solved the problem by printing the photo in black-and-white and using the computer program Photoshop to color in the indigo door.

Goldband, 46, entered the Weekly's photo contest twice in previous years before winning this year. A former assistant professor of psychology at the University of West Ontario, he has lived in Palo Alto for 10 years and works at Preview Systems in Cupertino.

Digital technology, Goldband says, has opened up new worlds for photographers. He himself frequently uses his digital printer to manipulate images.

"I rarely change the thing that I'm taking a picture of, but digital technology allows me to remove distractions," Goldband says.

--Marcella Bernhard