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Author Topic: Making Better Photographs  (Read 9360 times)
wolfnowl
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« on: January 22, 2009, 01:06:13 AM »
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Hi Folks:  Chris Orwig did a guest blog on Scott Kelby's site, here:

http://www.scottkelby.com/blog/2009/archives/2994

Much of the article is about the more philosophical aspects of photography, but I don't think that's a bad thing.

Mike.
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If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
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bill t.
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2009, 11:32:24 AM »
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Well, I never object to philosophy, it really does help to have a world view built around what one does.

HOWEVER, any site that opens with an image of a rustic pier converging out onto a body of water towards a colorful sunset is immediately suspect!  

Oh wait, it's a random image, now it's a hula girl.  That's better.  I should stop complaining and read it.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2009, 11:47:33 AM »
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Quote from: bill t.
Well, I never object to philosophy, it really does help to have a world view built around what one does.

HOWEVER, any site that opens with an image of a rustic pier converging out onto a body of water towards a colorful sunset is immediately suspect!  

Oh wait, it's a random image, now it's a hula girl.  That's better.  I should stop complaining and read it.


And those are not Chris's images you're referring to....
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Andrew Rodney
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bill t.
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2009, 01:15:33 AM »
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Quote from: digitaldog
And those are not Chris's images you're referring to....
Sorry for the smart a** answer, it's just that those pier-into-the-sunset shots always get me riled.

I'm going to a Las Vegas convention next week and a gallery owner insists that I go and see all three Peter Lik galleries in that town, so you can see why I'm upset.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2009, 11:21:07 AM »
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Quote from: bill t.
I'm going to a Las Vegas convention next week and a gallery owner insists that I go and see all three Peter Lik galleries in that town, so you can see why I'm upset.

I've been to a few of his galleries, its worth looking over. Pretty impressive in terms of the setup, the money spent on presentation and the guy can shoot. Nothing I'd buy and pop in my home, but you have to give the guy some credit for making buckets of money. So few in this profession rise to this level in terms of business savvy.
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Andrew Rodney
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bill t.
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2009, 05:04:47 PM »
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Quote from: digitaldog
(Peter Lik...) I've been to a few of his galleries, its worth looking over. Pretty impressive in terms of the setup, the money spent on presentation and the guy can shoot. Nothing I'd buy and pop in my home, but you have to give the guy some credit for making buckets of money. So few in this profession rise to this level in terms of business savvy.
Got to two of his Las Vegas galleries, less than a 15 minute walk apart.  They were identical, didn't bother with the third.

Talk about presentation!

The gallery is very, very black-walled dark.  Except for the framed pieces which are INTENSELY spotlighted.  Maximum saturation and contrast, mirror-glossy paper.  Walking around in the murky environment you see only the images, which are so bright they seem back lighted.  Of course his signature pier-into-the-blue-tropical-sea-with-puffy-clouds image peers dazzlingly out of the gallery entrance, an incredible hook for passers-by.  It's Vegas, Baby!

Most every image contains large, bright areas at near full saturation.  RED lava, CYAN sky, EMERALD water, ORANGE deserts.  It's color-iconic.  The word Neon comes to mind.  Most images  were obviously from transparency originals, lots of clippy highlights and shadows in the service of COLOR  These pictures were all about color and saturation and imagery so um recognizable that they just grabbed you by your brain stem.

Four inch wide, mostly wood veneer frames, the latest Big Thing in framing.  Five inch linen liners used as mattes either snowy white or black.  Plex covering on all pieces.  In some cases the plex covers both liner and print.  In what I was told was the "new" framing the plex only covers the print.  Prints typically about 24" to 28" high by maybe 72" wide.  The total packages with 18" worth of framing in each direction look immense, definitely board-room & big-walls material.   The pier shot has a rather metallic looking gold frame maybe 6" wide, the only one like that.  (BTW one or two pieces were in very hokey barnwood frames, say what?)

Some interesting things though.  Any of those pieces taken out of that environment would show horrific reflections in any normally lighted environment.  I ask in both locations about non-reflective glazing like Museum Glass or Optium, the staff didn't know what I was talking about and said there were no framing options.  The "new" framing removes the plex from over the black liners, I think reflections may be the reason.  Any of the images would require intense lighting to recreate the pop they showed in the gallery.  But for roughly $2500 to $6500 you can walk away with one.

So there ya go, that's how to do it guys!  Marketing done right.  The rents at Caesar's Palace and The Venetian are not cheap, it's make sales or die.

Did I say editions of 950?  A few were up to 200 something, eat your hearts out.  Let's see...what's 950 x $6500?  Think I'm gonna go run a few big prints, where's that saturation slider?
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JDClements
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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2009, 05:28:53 PM »
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Quote from: wolfnowl
Much of the article is about the more philosophical aspects of photography, but I don't think that's a bad thing.
No, it's not a bad thing. It could very well be the best thing! An enjoyable article, thanks for the link.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2009, 05:29:03 PM »
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So the deal is, these are silver prints who's gamut is in many ways far smaller than what a modern high end ink jet could produce. Can you imagine the prints shown this way but output on an Epson 9900 with HDR inks on Exhibition Fiber paper?
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Andrew Rodney
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2009, 07:24:49 PM »
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Quote from: digitaldog
So the deal is, these are silver prints who's gamut is in many ways far smaller than what a modern high end ink jet could produce. Can you imagine the prints shown this way but output on an Epson 9900 with HDR inks on Exhibition Fiber paper?

Peter Lik's website nowhere mentions the process employed to produce his prints. Are we sure they're actually darkroom prints? Are they Cibachrome/Ilfochrome? Lightjet on Fuji Crystal Archive paper? Standard "C-prints"?

I mean, that would matter to me if I were to buy such a visual confection. For $2,500 I'd be pretty annoyed if the print faded badly after only a few years like a C-print in a bright hallway surely will.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2009, 07:44:40 PM »
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I think they are Cibas.
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Andrew Rodney
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bill t.
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« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2009, 09:04:14 PM »
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Sorry, I think I created a mutant thread here.

At any rate, on the Peter Lik side, the prints look contrasty going on harsh with some highlight and shadow clipping, a lot like I remember Ciba being.  Rob would know.  Also the skies look like what you get when you manually dodge them out a bit to keep them from blowing out during enlargement, sort of like using a overly simplified adjustment layer mask.  Can't image these are actually optical enlargements, but who knows?  I wonder if they're digital prints with deliberate mimicking of the old techniques.  Whatever else, almost all the images were clearly transparencies to start with, although I saw a couple that seemed to be digital.

Frankly, $2500 is not completely an over-reaching price for these considering the framing and gallery and pretty salesgirls and all, but you really gotta have an eye for saturation.  My hat's off to Mr. Lik for his business acumen, I learned much on my visits.
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ChrisS
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2009, 11:21:36 AM »
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Quote from: bill t.
Sorry, I think I created a mutant thread here.

At any rate, on the Peter Lik side, the prints look contrasty going on harsh with some highlight and shadow clipping, a lot like I remember Ciba being.  Rob would know.  Also the skies look like what you get when you manually dodge them out a bit to keep them from blowing out during enlargement, sort of like using a overly simplified adjustment layer mask.  Can't image these are actually optical enlargements, but who knows?  I wonder if they're digital prints with deliberate mimicking of the old techniques.  Whatever else, almost all the images were clearly transparencies to start with, although I saw a couple that seemed to be digital.

Frankly, $2500 is not completely an over-reaching price for these considering the framing and gallery and pretty salesgirls and all, but you really gotta have an eye for saturation.  My hat's off to Mr. Lik for his business acumen, I learned much on my visits.

This is a good thread - I think the Orwig article is great (and have since bought a book by him), and think the Lik issue is important. I'd not seen his work before, though I had seen that kind of marketing before! He's sold himself as  kind of Crocodile Dundee of the photographic world - great! (I can't find an emoticon that looks sufficiently ironic...)

Maybe it would be worth carrying discussion of his work over to the 'But is it Art' section? I think it's probably an impressive commercial venture that falls short of what I'd want to call art.

Chris
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Rob C
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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2009, 02:43:36 PM »
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[quote name='bill t.' date='Jan 29 2009, 04:04 AM' post='255256']
Sorry, I think I created a mutant thread here.

"At any rate, on the Peter Lik side, the prints look contrasty going on harsh with some highlight and shadow clipping, a lot like I remember Ciba being.  Rob would know."  



If this is the right Rob, yes, I know too darn well. Whenever I had to do Ciba it was in a rush and because the outside C Print labs were not able to do anything for my client in time. Also, I never did get into contrast masks and all that, if only because of the time strictures and the lack of budget, not to mention having to spend time teaching myself the techniques! No thanks.

The shine thing is interesting in that it seems to have been one of the more remarkable factors of the exhibition. From my own experience, the shine you get with matt paper behind glass is quite amazing in its own right - it improves the perceived tonality of my matt prints magnificently.

Presentation is certainly an art in its own right, and one which we should all be good at because it´s what´s going to make or break us all.

There´s another phenomenon that you might have noticed: the improvement that low lighting can make to both photographic prints and also to well-printed photo books. I first noticed this unexpected effect many years ago in a restaurant. I got out of my chair to go and have a sniff at some black/white prints that were on a wall. Turned out that the photographer/printer was the son of the folks running the restaurant and that he worked in New York, assisting Penn, I think they said. Anyway, I was very impressed with both the pictures and the printing, but the point is that I then took an interest in looking at my own pictures at home, and yes, when under lowish domestic lighting, they certainly did acquire an additional richness I hadn´t previously noticed or, at least, thought about. And yes, the same holds true for books if you have experienced going through them in less than strong light; look again in broad daylight and you simply see too much too clearly, the tonality gets flattened away somewhat.

Or is it just my eyes?

Rob C

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LukeH
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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2009, 01:36:54 AM »
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Going to the Peter Lik gallery in Port Douglas was what got me into photography. Just the impressive set up at his gallery sucked me right in. Then I asked what a limited edition of his "ghost" image went for, and when the lady said $14000 I fell over.
He's marketed himself and his product well, and now that he's got about 15 galleries across the world, the way he goes about business is, in my opinion, something to aspire to.
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