E-Projects

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by steve_swinehart, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. As photography changes with society and the advancement of technology, I've become interested in the use of the Internet as a substitute for traditional art or photographic galleries. Places like Facebook and Youtube are more social utilities or freakshows rather than an electronic space dedicated to showing creative photographic works. I have been going to this site over a number of months: http://www.burnmagazine.org to see the posted essays.
    I'm wondering the general reaction to seeing the work electronically rather than as prints. While I like the immediacy and ability to see the work without having to go anywhere outside of my workstation - but, I really miss the ability to interact with the work personally by changing viewing distances and the tactile, visual feel of a print.
    I'd also be interested in reactions to this essay: http://www.burnmagazine.org/essays/2009/05/michal-daniel-in-your-face/ (more of the work can be seen at: http://www.640x480.net/album.php?posn=first&size=small). All of the work done with less than cell phone camera resolution using an Eyemodule 2 640x480 camera.
     
  2. I don't miss the ability to interact with the work personally by changing viewing distances and the tactile, visual feel of a print because I still go to museums, galleries, photographers' studios, etc. I just saw Frank's Americans at SFMOMA and it was great.
    I don't see one form of viewing as a substitute for another. For me, each is a different medium and they seem to co-exist nicely.
    The internet allows me to be exposed to more photographers, for instance here on PN, which I just otherwise wouldn't see.
    I don't miss anything when I view images on line because I don't distract myself from the experience at hand by comparing it to a different medium. Similarly, I don't regret not having the rhythm and movement of cinema when looking at still photos. Because I know still photos offer a unique experience from cinema, as internet or monitor viewing does from gallery and print viewing.
    As for the link, I like the work for its consistency and respect the photographer for following through with a vision. It doesn't move me all that much. It seems to express more the idea and cleverness of the series than much in particular about the individuals. The backgrounds seem graphic and they work on a visual level but they don't seem to relate to the persons uniquely. He's gotten physically close but I don't get an indication that the closeness goes any deeper than that. In other words, I'm not that drawn in.
    It's funny that the photographer, in his statement, talks about not impacting the scene because overt camera use can alter the situation and the scene. His camera use and perspective here so clearly affects the scene he brings to us that I'm not sure his concern about not impacting the scene is realized. I know he means he doesn't want to affect what his "characters" may do when they know a camera is present, but that seems like more of an ideological than practical concern since his presence and the camera's technical qualities come through so clearly in what he's presenting, impacting at least the viewer's experience of the people and the scene much.
     
  3. jtk

    jtk

    It seems photographically atavistic to artificially restrict the online or projected experience to views of single images in silence. Why bowlderize the technology that way, especially if one is playing with cellphone cameras?
    Naturally, the response here to talk along that line has been panic because most photographers are, like me, stuck in the old-time still-photographic metaphor. The leading-edge exceptions are today's Capas and today's successors to essayists like Frank, Smith , and Lyon... the cohort of thinkers/photographers recently-formally-educated in photojournalism...many are using www.soundslides.com (see the many projects) and its more sophisticated relatives. Virtually all the best print publications (eg New York Times) offer online slide shows using similar technologies...those that don't have failed to do so due to lack of money and lack of vision.
    IMO the visually-best-executed online work is in essays at Magnum's site. Magnum photographers are photographers-in-full IMO, not just nostalgic, decorative, graphic or illustrative.
    In any case, online viewing is a primative approach to digital display. Giant screen TV is far better visually, and that will be abandoned by demanding photographers when digital projectors start to enjoy longer-lived lamps (projection LEDs). The only reason a "still" photo person claiming to be into digital display lacks a monster TV now, instead of a computer monitor, is lack of committment...it takes a few thousand dollars to get a decent, big screen.
    Personally, I increasingly love physical prints on fine paper. Their worst aspect for me is that they now require sitting in front of a computer, which I do too much already. I do miss the analog darkroom experience/mindframe, B&W and color. For me the problem with Soundslides.com is that like other serious photography, it implies a coherent project, more commitment than I need to make for short sequences of occasional still concepts or portraits.
     
  4. John--
    What you're saying seems a little like saying "Why make a movie in black and white when you can make it in color?" "Why write a piece of music for solo piano when there's a whole orchestra beckoning?" For that matter, "Why limit yourself to 50 or so keys when there are 88 available?" or "Why make a still instead of a movie?"
    Because technology has the ability to go further doesn't mean that all uses of that technology have to utilize all those capabilities. If that were the case, I'd be mired in Photoshop bells and whistles forever instead of focusing my use to suit my needs.
    There's no doubt that there's plenty of room to explore online technology. I don't know why that precludes assessing someone's work on the basis of what he's accomplished with his usage of it instead of on the basis of what someone else could accomplish.
    When I've made slideshows, I've avoided music like the plague. I usually experience accompanying music, though not always, as trivializing. People may get better at it and I may want to explore it at some point. So?
     
  5. I don't see one form of viewing as a substitute for another. For me, each is a different medium and they seem to co-exist nicely.​
    It has nothing to do about co-existing, or whether the viewing experience is unique, or whether you still go to galleries and museums - I know the difference. I like seeing the work and can appreciate it for what it is on-line.
    But, in the back of my mind I wonder, is this the best viewer experience available for the images? Is this HOW they're meant to be seen, or only an interim substitute for seeing them as a print? I like the ability just to see a variety of images, however, I find it's a bit like an appetizer before the meal...tantalizing yet not totally filling (or in the E-viewing experience - fulfilling) - leaving me wanting more. Are the images finished at that point in the final display medium?
    With a print, there is the choice of image size and presentation that furthers the photographer's image statement. I look at the images and wonder - what size would they be and how would they be presented (printing method, paper type, etc.). There is so much more that can be done to enhance a viewer's personal experience with the image.
    While the Internet allows you to make the images ubiquitously available, how do you conceive the images so that the best medium for the message is the monitor? Granted, this may be a personal limitation for me at this time...I'm just trying to figure out how I would make images that were finished at the point of being viewed on a monitor.
     
  6. Steve--
    I see your point better now, especially when it comes to images you're seeing on screen that you may know have already been printed or were made to be printed. Then I understand that you would wonder what they would look like in print form because the monitor image is, indeed, a substitute, almost like looking at a thumbnail instead of the full size.
    But I do think a lot of the images we see on our monitors are not meant to go any further, so I'm not sure the wondering what if is in the same vain in those instances as much as it is being tied to what you're familiar with.
    Many images generated today are only done so for monitor viewing. I've already done a couple of portraits for people who only want to use them online, on their web site, etc. They don't want prints and I don't consider what they would look like printed.
    I think there are unique qualities to monitor viewing, most obviously the back lighting. I can't say I'm a savvy enough photographer (actually the reason is probably that I don't have much pre-digital experience) to yet utilize those unique qualities in the process of creating my photos. More experienced photographers than me have told me they are trying to make digital photographs that utilize the unique characteristics of digital relative to film. I don't think many people are yet conscious of these differences enough to really work with them and "see" differently when using digital instead of film, but I suspect it will come.
    In some ways I experience something similar to what you're describing when I view prints, sculptures, buildings, etc. When I saw the Robert Frank exhibit I wondered several times what the prints would look like under different lighting conditions and displayed in a larger space than SFMOMA afforded. Often, when I see a sculpture, I wonder about the shadows being cast by the lighting and whether the sculptor would approve or even thought about such matters. I saw the Frank Geary buildings in Dusseldorf recently, on a pretty cloudy day, and would like to have gone back at several different times of day and under varying weather conditions.
    I'm not sure there actually is a "HOW they're meant to be seen" regarding visual arts. There are definitely varying degrees of approximation, but context will always play a role. Thank you for bringing it up. Context when viewing is rarely discussed in these forums and it impacts work significantly.
     
  7. I've known Michal Daniels through the web for close to a decade, and am honored to be, as he describes it, "one of the pillars on which the work stands", by engaging in discussions, discussing preliminary early edits, and analysis as the 640x480 work evolved. It is an extraordinary -- and unique -- body of work. Michal, btw, is also an expert street photographer in the more traditional (aesthetic/methodological) sense as well as a master photographer of stage plays.
    [SS] I'm wondering the general reaction to seeing the work electronically rather than as prints.
    It's the way the great majority of photographers and potential clients are used to looking at images. I've had the good fortune to see a huge number of prints in person, and to handle thousands of prints in private and museum collectins with my own gloved hands. I see this dichotomy as an also-and situation. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. I would much rather do preliminary edits of others' work (and my own) digitally than from work prints. I've judged many Salons and contests over the web, including one for Canon, over the web, and had no problem with it. The huge majority of images today will never be seen as prints, and in the future, will probably not be hung as prints, either. Have you ever seen a Dura-Trans print? Many artists, like Adam Fuss and others have used them. The internal luminance from one can only be obtained from a glowing screen. This is neither good nor bad, just what it is.
    There are many viable web niches for displaying and selling artwork. I would caution people to not reject social networking places outright. Many artists I know get commissions and sell prints from them, specially at the local level. Several artists have found good sales in unlikely places like Second Life. If one makes prints that lean to the decorative, ETSY has brought clients & print sales to many.
    ___________________________________________________________
    Having said all that, I should say I appreciate and enjoy the physicality and reflected image nature of my own eclectic collection of prints, drawings, paintings and postcards
     
  8. jtk

    jtk

    Luis, it's good to hear more about you.
    Rear screen projection has always been more "internally luminant" than any print form, including Duratrans and film itself, sitting on a light box. It needs to be done well, of course, and that means controlling ambient light.
    Prints will continue to be valued for convenience (a book is more convenient than a Kindle if you are a physical entity), our inherent animal appreciation for "thinginess," and their distance from electronica (many of us have love-hate relationships with electronics, which explains the contined existence of the SLR form factor).
    The dream of living in cyberspace was yesterday's news... it's got an amusing nostalgic flavor, like cat-suits, Robbie-The-Robot, and personal helicopters.
    We're nowhere near experiencing digital tech to a high visual standard
    . That makes audio and motion relatively more important in the mix.
    I'm in test market for a mysterious wifi modem, thanks to French TV5: full screen TV images that are almost DTV quality...far better than conventional Internet imagery. Until websites can deliver something close to that, and we won't anytime soon, it's unlikely that many "serious" print-oriented photographers will switch primarily to digital display. But we'll die off, leaving the Flickr people...a significant percentage of whom are fabulously creative despite Steve's distaste :)
     
  9. A typical 72 dpi image on a screen (which more than often does not reflect uniformly as you change the viewing angle) can only give a hint at the qualities of a photograph. There is absolutely no substitute I know of at this time that can replicate the the viewing of a fine image in the traditional manner, either via a high quality darkroom generated photographic print or a high quality digital print on a suitable paper substrate, either viewed at an optimum distance (given the print size and the focal length of the objective of the camera).
     
  10. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    First of all, drop the 72dpi, it's meaningless. Screens aren't 72dpi, they are whatever. Second, for many people over a long period of time, the primary viewing of photographs has been in magazines. That's where it's at for many people. They don't see prints, except for happy snap prints. Third, the screen is fine, even on the phone, for many people. This is where it's at now. It may not be how you view the world, but a new generation sees it that way and there is nothing wrong with that. There are new ways of relating to photography, ones that are much more integral to one's life, much more prevalent, and they usually involve screens. Everyone should be celebrating what is happening because it has made photography much more important on a day-to-day basis.
     
  11. No one has suggested that the screen is equal to the print.
    We may not be living in cyberspace, but we're certainly living with it.
     
  12. Jeff, the opening sentence of Steve stated:
    "As photography changes with society and the advancement of technology, I've become interested in the use of the Internet as a SUBSTITUTE for traditional art or photographic galleries."
    People go to galleries to view, to decide and possibly buy art or photographs. Whereas some images may sell on Internet, the latter hasn't replaced (substituted for) the art gallery for more critical viewing of a painting or photograph before purchase. You cannot get the impression of the colour nuances and details and texture of a painting without seeing it up front. The same is true for fine photographic prints (we are not talking here of posters). Much much better to see it in the flesh, especially if youare paying many of your hard earned dollars for something that has only an aesthetic value in your household.
    This does not deny that Internet does not have its place and who cares what the mass culture is doing with cell phone photos, or whatever, They are great as such. They can coexist with traditional art media. Craft glassmaking will not disappear because Walmart sells made in China mass produced goblets.
     
  13. Jeff, your comments above about the importance of the screen and Internet should be taken in the context of what you have recently said on a companion post (Photography as value):
    " "Magazine" here is used as euphemism for "web site." As far as I can tell, there is no real magazine, it's a web-only thing. The "cover" appears to be a small flash-based image gallery in one corner of the splash page. It ranks at number 1.8 million in traffic with exactly one site linking in. For comparison, photo.net ranks as number 2213 in traffic with 7500 sites linking in. It has no ads or even a link for advertisers. In other words, it's nothing. The articles are probably free, the photographs are free, and there is no revenue. There isn't even an advertising rate card. I don't think anything having to do with this site matters to anyone, in the end."
    There seems to be a gap in your logic. Number 2213 in traffic does not seem to make an important photo site important in the minds of the cyberpopulation. Do the internet sites (web-only things) have value in your mind, ...or not??
     
  14. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I'm not sure what my post on a website calling itself a magazine has to do with this, and that specific website is not part of this discussion as it is, as I pointed out, an irrelevant website posing as a magazine. My comment here about magazines was directed at the ubiquity of print over galleries and museums. You have completely confused a website claiming to be a magazine with what I stated as a print publication.
    The number of people that see prints in galleries and museums is ridiculously small, class-driven, and irrelevant to photography overall. More and more people view photography primarily on screens, including tiny ones, and ignoring that is ignoring what is going on in photography. This has very little to do with internet sites specifically, although that is the primary mode of display. It has to do with how people view and interact with photography.
     
  15. jtk

    jtk

    "The number of people that see prints in galleries and museums is ridiculously small, class-driven, and irrelevant to photography overall. "

    OK, inconsequential but correct as far as that goes..., HOWEVER the OT specifically expressed his "class driven" values, and correctly assumed we all embraced them. They are my values and, hilariously obviously, "street photography" values as well as Steve Swinehart's.. "class driven values" are embraced by this thread as well as by every participant.
    To imagine "photography" involves a classless democratic value system is amusing, is more accurately ridiculous. George Eastman ended that by hanging himself. Cell phone photography is wildly expensive by comparison to minilab photography.
    Steve S's OT began by indicating he recognizes that he's "above" that and proudly NOT classless.
    Steve...am I right?
     
  16. I don't understand why this is being characterized as a new phenomena.

    Fortunately, over many years the internet and other viewing systems have expanded photography both in terms of access
    and the amount of material that can be enjoyed.

    I suspect resistance to the shift is mostly generational.
     
  17. Ray House

    Ray House Ray House

    "Class driven"..."Irrelevant to photography overall"... Not in my world, I love to go to galleries and museums to view prints and encourage others to do the same.
     
  18. When I worked at a major NYC Camera store there were maybe 150 photographers of various levels of skill, interests, format, etc. Although I am an avid gallery attendee, and love looking at actual photographic prints (I'm 57 yo btw), it was like pulling teeth to get any of those 149 others (mostly younger than me) to go to a gallery or art museum.....even to see artists they knew and admired....let alone new stuff they never heard of before.
    But, those same photographers would spend half the day on JPGmag, digital journalist, national geographic, etc web sites looking at all kinds of photography.
    Now that may have been just to avoid working, but I think it still shows the modern day acceptance of the "monitor image" as a viable form of displaying and viewing art photography. Who can afford art photography prints these days anyhow. Every thing I see in galleries that I like is way out of my price range....but my self and those other photographers can go on the web and view our favorites anytime we want.
    If you ask me, galleries are going to price themselves right out of existence.
     
  19. Jeff is right: People who actually walk away from the computer and physically go to see artworks in person, socialize with their peers, meet photographers, network, exchange ideas in person, become a part of their local art culture/scene, etc. are a different class. No better or worse than those who only experience photography in front of a glowing screen, but definitely different.
    I am the last person to ignore or disdain the impact of the web on the medium and its future, but think it absurd to declare everything else 'irrelevant'.
     
  20. [TS] "Who can afford art photography prints these days anyhow."
    Enough people can to have poured $15m USD into just three top auction houses in the 90 days of Spring 2009 this in NYC alone. Total sales over those same three months for all print venues are many times that. 82% of all works met or exceeded reserve and were sold.
    Again, in no way am I dissing the elephant-in-the-room significance of the web, even in the art markets. Some prominent galleries are going web-only to increase profits, since their reputations and client list translate readily into web sales. One of the big surprises is that enough buyers are willing to buy significant, very expensive prints over the web (with guarantees, of course). Kathleen Ewing's prestigious Washington DC gallery would be the most prominent example of this.
     
  21. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    It appears that I am being selectively quoted.

    If you look at the context of my use of the word "irrelevant," it was coupled to the word "overall." The fact is that photography in galleries and museums has as much social impact these days as the impact of the Bugatti on people's perceptions of cars. Most don't know it's there, and many that do see it as some sort of rarefied activity. But most of them go out and use their car every day. With the increasing availability and use of photography, the same thing has happened there also - most people take photos now (yesterday I watched people snapping themselves or their phones on a city bus) but they don't go to, or even know about, galleries that show photos.
     
  22. jtk

    jtk

    Jeff, This Forum addresses ideas that are of no interest to "most."
    "Most" are poorly educated. "Most" stopped pursuing challenging ideas a long time ago, if they were ever even exposed to anything challenging. "Most" are struggling to survive. "Most" Westerners are digital media consumers, not digital media creators, not even "photographers" in the sense of "most" Photo.net visitors (judging by posts and images).
    I doubt "most" is similar to the photography of anybody here, yourself included.
     
  23. John--
    That's a great point. I really hadn't looked at "us" that way but it makes a lot of sense to do so. I'm thinking how that could make a separate, interesting thread and may start one if I can figure out the right approach.
    It also got me to wondering, though we are not "most," how much we might still be influenced by "most." I do sense a lot of influence in many photographers' works of the cell phone aesthetic. I think "pop" culture is likely to pervade much "refined" culture (I hate these words but not sure how to better express the difference). I think, for example, of how Leonard Bernstein and Michael Tilson Thomas have been influenced by what "most" people do. There's no doubt a little Michael Jackson in MTT. Nevertheless, if the great photographers, painters, and musicians really let themselves be driven by what "most" people did, we'd be in sad shape. How that relates here is that those greats had plenty of impact, though they weren't for the most part mimicking or caring about what "most" were doing.
     
  24. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, earlier, I said there were plenty of highly creative people in Flickr. There are plenty of highly creative players in every game, that's the nature of humanity. As a species we're gifted. But "most" can't or won't take advantage.
    "Most" is dead weight
    no matter the enterprise, whether due to lack of curiosity (insert politician name), bad geographic luck (Somalia), or other curse.
     
  25. I got that, John, and agree about Flickr. What I'm intrigued by is the notion that even the very non-creative players who take cell phone photos, as a major trend and a very large group, have an influence on the few who are doing photography out of curiosity and challenge.
    Just becoming accustomed to all the mindless snaps on Facebook, etc., as part of the new landscape, even if there were no creative types like the ones you refer to on Flickr, can stimulate the open and curious mind to do great things.
     
  26. I've been away from this thread for a bit ...so let me go through the posts and address them with my thoughts...
    Fred Goldsmith:
    "But I do think a lot of the images we see on our monitors are not meant to go any further."​
    I can understand that, I just have a hard time (with my own work) of figuring out how I would produce an image that I felt was finished when viewed on a monitor. It's a matter of aesthetics (for me) directly linked to the viewed medium.
    Luis G:
    "I see this dichotomy as an also-and situation."​
    And that's the part that I'm interested in, as the "and" portion directly changes the work whether the image was conceived as a print and is now being viewed on a monitor - or vice versa.
    Luis G:
    "I've judged many Salons and contests over the web, including one for Canon, over the web, and had no problem with it."​
    That's really not the point - what you're describing is just an electronic extension of sending slides in to a juried show. My interest is in the change in image aesthetics and the effect of that on the viewer's perception of the work.
    Luis G:
    "The huge majority of images today will never be seen as prints, and in the future, will probably not be hung as prints, either."​
    Yes, but, that's not much different than making a statement like, "The majority of images will never be hung but will exist as 4x6 machine prints." Again, only an electronic transmogrification of something from the physical world to electronic cyberspace.
    Luis G:
    "Have you ever seen a Dura-Trans print?"​
    Yes - have had them made for commercial clients - but, viewing the image via transmitted light really isn't the point. I've seen photographic work that was conceived to be viewed as a backlit image. The aesthetics of the image were enhanced by that type of display.
    Luis G:
    "This is neither good nor bad, just what it is."​
    This is not a good or bad judgement - and it's more than just writing it off as "it is what it is." The work is (or should be) in it's final display form because the artist decided that the image was best seen through a specific media choice - not because something was handy or easy to use. It's the importance of that choice and its relevance to the image that I'm interested in.
    Johh Kelly:
    "But we'll die off, leaving the Flickr people...a significant percentage of whom are fabulously creative despite Steve's distaste"​
    Never mentioned Flickr or made a value judgement about creativity that might be found on any website. Please don't read anything into what I've stated beyond the words themselves - that's only you projecting something onto what I've written. However, wading through the dreck to find the jewels (especially on Youtube) is not an exercise I find enjoyable as opposed going to websites dedicated to the display of artistic works - the filtering has already been done by the website via their acceptance criteria.
    Jeff Spirer:
    "Second, for many people over a long period of time, the primary viewing of photographs has been in magazines."​
    Your point being? Print media is its own aesthetic. When used for its inherent qualities it can enhance the viewing experience. That is what I'm attempting to understand for myself - how do you use web display of images as an experience that enhances the image?
    Jeff Spirer:
    "Third, the screen is fine, even on the phone, for many people. This is where it's at now. It may not be how you view the world, but a new generation sees it that way and there is nothing wrong with that. There are new ways of relating to photography, ones that are much more integral to one's life, much more prevalent, and they usually involve screens. Everyone should be celebrating what is happening because it has made photography much more important on a day-to-day basis."​
    Not my point Jeff. What people will accept is whatever you give them. My questions revolve around what do you want to give them in relationship to your work as an aesthetic experience? Using the web is fine - I'm not making a judgement on that, but only how to formulate work that is enhanced by its display throught that medium.
    Jeff Spirer:
    "The number of people that see prints in galleries and museums is ridiculously small, class-driven, and irrelevant to photography overall."​
    Again, not the point. This is about artistic choice NOT what you define as relevant or irrelevant to your perception of photography.
    Jeff Spirer:
    "It has to do with how people view and interact with photography."​
    Exactly - the question is how do you use the web to get people to have the aesthetic experience you wish them to have?
    Let me digress for a moment to give an example. At one time I did work using a 110 camera (and this is partly why I find the 640x480 work appealing). I had 36x48 inch prints made from the 110 film. When viewed from 20 feet or more away, they coalesced into identifiable images. However, as you approached the photographs, they gradually fell apart as the grain became more prominent until they were only pointilistic, grainy, color fields. That is an aesthetic experience that would be difficult to replicate through a computer monitor.
    John Kelly:
    "Steve S's OT began by indicating he recognizes that he's "above" that and proudly NOT classless.
    Steve...am I right?"​
    I don't think this has anything to do with class - either low or high - but, an examination of using the web as the desired medium of display for images.
    Brad:
    "I don't understand why this is being characterized as a new phenomena."​
    No one is characterizing this as a new phenomena. The question is how to use it as the best medium to display an image for artistic intent. However, if you compare viewing prints on paper in person - with a 400 year history - versus viewing a monitor - then it is a relatively new and different way of interacting with the audience.
     
  27. Steve--
    Thanks for the clarification. It's much easier for me to understand now. And, I'm now as curious as you to hear people's answers.
    My own case is that I seriously got into making my own photographs only in digital mode, so I don't have a history of printing much. For me, the question will be more the reverse. When I start printing more, and more seriously, what considerations will come in for me that I haven't been paying attention to in creating images mostly for viewing on monitors.
    I have a long history of appreciating photographs, though, mostly prints. What I can tell you is that I think I notice more blatancy in images created for screen viewing. With prints, especially when you have control over good lighting for display, you can really nuance things and assume that the viewer will see them. I am very aware that monitors are calibrated all over the map and the people are seeing things much brighter or much darker than I likely am. So I may sometimes work something up to where it's really nuanced and subtle on my own screen, and then bring up the lows a little especially because of fear that many monitors will be losing what's in my shadows. I try to do it pretty subtly, but I am definitely aware of it.
    With real important stuff, for instance those couple of portraits that I did for people who only wanted them for their personal web sites and not for prints, I make sure to look at them on my laptop as well as my better desktop monitor, knowing that many people are using laptops these days.
    I'm conscious of trying to go for as universal an acceptable visual product as I can, whereas I imagine when printing, one is sticking much more to the personal, assuming people will see exactly what you see, with the knowledge that various lighting situations will make a difference.
    My real bother in all this is color. I have seen my colors look so awfully different on friends' monitors and there's not much universalizing adjustment I can do on that, so I just have to live with it.
    Interestingly, I think over the years, I have let go to some extent of worrying about what others are actually seeing, and hope that the work, care, precision, nuances, emotion, technique, etc. I put into the work, even if not seen as accurately as I'd like, will still read on a more intangible level.
    It is fascinating to think how that aspect of haphazard viewing will affect one's aesthetic. I hope it doesn't make us photographers more sloppy to know that some of the details we stress over won't even get noticed. (That was probably always the case with most viewers even with prints.) But it might be affecting our own emphases, the way we choose content, etc.
    Can't wait to hear others' take on this.
    Thanks for your clarification and a really interesting topic.
     
  28. "With prints, especially when you have control over good lighting for display, you can really nuance things and assume that the viewer will see them." (Fred)
    Agree entirely, Fred, and I tried to communicate the same.
    "It is fascinating to think how that aspect of haphazard viewing will affect one's aesthetic. I hope it doesn't make us photographers more sloppy to know that some of the details we stress over won't even get noticed. (That was probably always the case with most viewers even with prints.) But it might be affecting our own emphases, the way we choose content, etc." (Fred)
    Steve, Fred et al: The dichotomy of serious printmaking and exposition versus facile and mass photo exhibition has always existed. We of a certain length of beard know that a few decades ago this was the curious comparison of 4x6 point and shoot Walmart (or the then equivalent) prints versus the laboratory (darkroom) print that required several hours to hone properly, not to mention the pre-visualisation and capture.
    Today is no different, except for the great quantity of stuff that is out there that tends to dilute the significance of the traditional print exhibitions. Electronic and cybernet media and the highly variable monitor screen have replaced the corner drugstore.
    Nobody obliges anyone to seek out a print exhibition. In my experience, it will always be there and will always be important. There is a good public for that. If as a photographer the gallery doesn't accept your prints, that is not the gallery's fault. My short experience as a gallery operator (part time, I have not the courage to do it for more than a few months per year) is that Mr and Mrs "Tout-le-monde" ("Everybody") who gracefully visit my gallery spend a lot of time appreciating and absorbing the content and appearance of each photo or painting.
    Whether they buy or not, this time they spend in understanding each work speaks volumes to me concerning the perceived value of the photographic print. That's it.
     
  29. Arthur--
    Boy, have you missed the point.
    This is NOT about the "dichotomy of serious printmaking and exposition versus facile and mass photo exhibition."
    Reading Steve's careful replies and my response should make that profoundly clear. I'm surprised you're missing it.
    This is about SERIOUS photographers working with the knowledge that their final product will be a monitor image. Believe it or not, there are some of us. These photographers are no more facile and mass than you are. Believe me, I spend countless hours honing my photos in my digital darkroom. Sorry if that's not serious enough for you. You flatter yourself . . . needlessly. Your long beard seems to have gotten the best of you. Geez.
    And if you don't think, even in your day, there weren't some fine, serious photographers influenced aesthetically by the mass market, 4x6 Walmart situation, look again.
     
  30. Let me roam a little further from the subject to give you some background as to why I am trying to figure this out.
    I had to take art history courses as part of the art curriculum I was in. One of the classes was, "Art -Renaissance to Modern." The professor was very good, and the discussion slides were projected at a large size on a screen in a auditorium seating about 500 people (there were about 50 in the class but, the professor wanted that space specifically to make the projected images as large as possible).
    We looked at numerous works projected and in the course text book (Jansen's History of Art). The first visual reset I got was viewing Picasso's "Guernica" in person at MOMA. The next was seeing Jackson Pollock's work where the paintings as reproductions looked random and drippy - suddenly looked like they weighed tons when viewed in person - and had voids that you could see back into giving depth to the work. Neither effect even remotely conveyed through either a projection onto a screen or reproduction in a book.
    A few years later, at a Rococo painting exhibit, the paintings that were 4x5 inches in books were castle-size 10 to 12-foot high paintings with 1-foot wide frames.
    Each experience built upon the previous and I became keenly aware that HOW a work was presented reinforced the content. That the method of display had a profound effect on your perception of the work; and that the full aesthetic experience of a work was an integral part of how it was viewed.
    Translating this to the discussion and to my own work, I find that viewing my work on a monitor does not seem to show it to its best advantage. Much of what I do requires details to be seen, and even more importantly, the creation of spaces between objects. When the work is presented on a monitor, the details disappear and the spaces collapse.
    Perhaps John Kelly is right in that in the future everyone will have large screen monitors - at that point, perhaps the images would work as conceived when taken.
     
  31. Fred:
    Touché, Fred, I did really miss the point, or posted to the wrong subjectline (more than once, here). Acknowledged.
    In regard to the specific subject (and re-reading the original and some of the posts), I think the only downside is the question of visualising texture and nuances on the screen, however carefully calibrated it is.
    In regard to serious post capture work on the monitor I too try to succeeed at that and do not consider lightroom activity at all inferior to darkroom, it is just different.
    Getting a different perspective may be achievable by simply sitting back farther, or coming closer to the screen. probably best done in a semi-darkened room, to avoid visual interaction with other objects. As for other aspects of simulating print viewing via the monitor, perhaps Steve can establish "offsets" that can be calibrated, and which may be useful in future in visualising the difference.
    Once again, sorry to have beaten a drum to the wrong tune. This may well be a function of my long beard!
    Mastering (to some significant degree) post capture work on the computer is something I have not yet attained and I both envy and praise those that do so.
     
  32. Steve: "Translating this to the discussion and to my own work, I find that viewing my work on a monitor does not seem to show it to its best advantage. Much of what I do requires details to be seen, and even more importantly, the creation of spaces between objects. When the work is presented on a monitor, the details disappear and the spaces collapse."
    My guess is that when serious photographers tried to do with Polaroids what they had been doing with large formats, they may have been similarly disappointed. At some point, the creative types realized just what you are talking about, that part of the aesthetic is consciousness of both the medium and the final output, and started doing things uniquely geared toward using the wonderful, different, and various characteristics that the Polaroid had to offer.
    When people are creative today, they will start noticing the unique characteristics both of digital images and the monitors they are being viewed on, and they will allow their aesthetic to envelop, utilize, and celebrate those characteristics rather than struggling to fit a square peg into a round hole.
     
  33. Arthur--
    I appreciate the gracious response.
    Steve--
    Your last comment, though, now has me confused! I thought I had nailed down what you were after, but now you seem to be talking about the disappointment you encounter when comparing prints to monitors, which I thought was not your larger point.
    What I thought you were asking was not, "How do you try to imitate what a print accomplishes when using a monitor?" or "In what way is the experience of looking at an image as a print different from looking at that same image on a monitor?" I thought it was, "Knowing that your final product will be a screen image on a monitor, what aesthetic considerations do you make?" Not because you want it to simulate the film experience, any more than creative Polaroid users wanted to simulate the large format experience. But because you realize that you have a new and unique medium at your fingertips that has yet to be explored for the characteristics it has rather than grieved over for the characteristics it doesn't have.
    If you are trying to get out of a monitor, with the same image, just what you get out of print, yes, I think you will always be disappointed.
     
  34. jtk

    jtk

    Steve, a corrective and an apology:
    The corrective: I don't think the future is monitors... it belongs to digital projection...visually-quality-oriented present is already owned by giant TV monitors. Much better than the best computer monitor.
    My apology: I misdisremembered. You didn't dismiss folks on Flickr, you dismissed inhabitants of two other photo-heavy sites: "Places like Facebook and Youtube are more social utilities or freakshows" :)

    But I do admire your line of thought, these petty matters aside. Me, I'm sticking with printing for now because I don't have the fortitude to do extended projects.
    This exhibit in Albuquerque is staggering evidence of that fortitude by one of New Mexico's finest...an RIT grad and another Armenian New Mexican :)
    http://www.cabq.gov/museum/CraigVarjabedianPhotographs.html
    Varabedian camped in a storage room for 5 years, visiting Ghost Ranch almost daily, photographing it in 5X7....finest B&W prints I can recall.
     
  35. Steve,
    Of course, one optimizes for the medium in which it will be displayed. These decisions always involve compromises, and the experience, as you mention with the art class slides vs the real thing, is not going to be the same for many reasons, many of which are at the core of representation, others more intrinsic to the method (translucence/projection vs reflected light, sharpness, color, monitor brightness, contrast, variations in all of the above, etc) others because of contextual variations (ambient room brightness, background wall coloring, type of lighting prints are viewed in, etc. All these things change the experience , as they have long before the advent of photography.
    [SS] "That's really not the point - what you're describing is just an electronic extension of sending slides in to a juried show.
    No. Trust me, it is not the same. I was describing personally dealing with some of the issues you mention in real time, and with the added pressures of competition for awards at stake, a deadline, a major corporation involved, -- more than a decade ago. In other words, this is not a new problem for me. It was very different from judging a print or slide submission contest. Due to these concerns, I ended up viewing the entries on my own and two graphic artist's friend's XXL large and professionally calibrated monitors.
    There's still an inescapable Tower-of-Babel effect at play with digi viewing.
    In the near future we will be displaying (at home and in galleries) images on a larger, far sharper equivalent to the digital frame. People will create precisely with this form of display in mind (send more megapixels!). The days of paper print dominance in the market are numbered. This will open up the distribution of images, and make the decisions you are talking about even more important.
    [SS] "The work is (or should be) in it's final display form because the artist decided that the image was best seen through a specific media choice - not because something was handy or easy to use. It's the importance of that choice and its relevance to the image that I'm interested in."
    I agree with the first part of that. Let's not kid ourselves, throughout history, artists adapt to, or subvert, the number and type of venues and social contexts available for them to exhibit in.
    Stephen Shore photographed with a series of consumer grade P&Ses for years (I can hear the howls of derision from Pnetters!), and the work, by design , was made available only in book form, and they look great (I have seen two).
    I do think the choice you mention is being made every day, and has been for years by a few PN members, Flickeroids, Smugsmuggers, etc. There was no transition involved for most of them, and they're used to showing their images digitally. It's their photographic consciousness.
    The method of display, presentation, everything matters for the viewers' experience. Is there a laundry list to make that transition, from print to screen? Of course not. It's different for each of us. Each artist has to confront that.
    I found it difficult to transition from slide to finished print, but found the transition to digital presentation easier than to printing from slides. YMMV.
    As to your experience with the image deconstructing itself to its components as one decreases viewing distances, this is something Michal Daniels and I discussed nearly ten years ago at length. He was a little worried, and I told him I saw it as an asset and why. Although I do not recall the artists' names, I saw two large-print color exhibits, one more than a decade ago, one in a Chicago gallery about 6 yrs ago, in which the work riffed off this very idea. One with grain, the other with pixels.
    Things like the illusion of space and the issue you have with detail is going to require developing new strategies (and there are many) to create that illusion in a new way.
    I would be interested to hear Don E.'s take on this matter, because his awareness and fluency in his use of space is impressive and incisive.
    ________________________________________________
     
  36. "The days of paper print dominance in the market are numbered. This will open up the distribution of images, and make the decisions you are talking about even more important." (Luis)
    Luis et al, consider for a second what is happening outside of the rather narrow focus of exhibition photography. It can be instructional. Many suggested that printed books would disappear when the ibook (or whatever it was then called) appeared and you could have an electronic screen to read.
    Nonsense! It just didn't happen to the degree that many predicted.
    Electronic books are hard to find and not sought after as much as printed books. On the other hand, book fares in my region of the world are blossoming. Cities try to outdo each other with the presentation of intenational fares addressing the products of the contemporary book children of Guttenburg. Book sales and reader clubs are increasing. Some authors even mail printed chapters to subscribers as they write them, as the desire for the printed page is so great (One local author has 41,000 subscribees).
    The electronic book looks like it is very much dead in the water (note that I am talking the reader-collector books, fiction or otherwise, which are expanding rapidly, and not electronic versions of admittedly decreasing newspapers, which are, like the Facebook example, everyday throwaway texts).
    So, you may add some big screen monitors to your already overloaded electronic rooms and view your favourite images in that manner, if you so wish.
    I believe it is a lot more attractive and much more satisfying to hang a print rather than a monitor on the wall, and to live with a particular print image you have sought and valued. Artists, including many photographers, respond to that desire. And you will see the print with much the same tonality and texture whatever angle you approach it. Try that with monitors, even the most expensive. It may be fun for experimenting artists and exhibits at MOMA or the Pompidou Centre (the most recent avant garde video and electronic art showing I saw in Tallinn, Estonia, in June), but hardly universally appreciated and not usually something you may want to install in your living room. "Interesting" was the strongest emotion the Tallinn show conveyed to me and my otherwise art knowledgeable guides, although I was very much interested in the electronic possibilities. With but a few exceptions it just didn't work as art.
    Interior architecture is another impediment to electronic image exhibition. Images that we collect and exhibit in our homes, because they impress us or have touched some emotion or perception within us, must normally be exhibited in a manner that complies with the interior design of our homes. The framing and positioning can be chosen and created to match the decorative ambiance we have built for ourselves.
    Do you prefer to have a Big Brother type screen intrusion within your home. Yes, some might, but I would argue that the print will better satisfy our home environment, and for a foreseeable time into the future, than large electronic framed monitors that cannot match the subtelty of a well made print, even if some day the details of the image can be better reproduced than today (although not the texture of a print or painting).
    I question the either-or approach of those of this post who proclaim the impending death of the printed image, to which we might add the printed book and other printed media most commonly about us (signage, wallpaper, what have you).
    As long as there are trees or some other material substitute for paper, we will value and use the printed image.
     
  37. Lines 7 and 8 - "fares" should read "fairs". Thanks. Arthur
     
  38. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Electronic books are hard to find and not sought after as much as printed books...​
    This is a terrible analogy. Because of the lack of portable and cost-effective devices for reading books, there hasn't been a transition among adults. (I mention adults because I see that my high school age son and his friends now use e-books for the ones they don't have to carry to class.) As soon as Apple brings out a suitable device, the market will shift rapidly.
    One thing that I have noticed is that I have visited the home of exactly one non-photographer who had purchased a photographic print, excluding commissioned family portraits etc. Just one. On the other hand, I have walked into people's homes and seen Picasso, Matisse, etc hanging on the walls. In my parents' home, there are at least 60 paintings and lithographs and no purchased photographs. In my home, there are just three purchased photographs and at least 40 purchased paintings, and I'm a photographer.
    On the other hand, many homes have books of photography, even if they are lightweight coffee table books. And everyone I know looks at photographs on the screen. Everyone. And if people here look outside their own generation, they will see a culture that truly enjoys photography, but on the screen. All of this talk about "looks better" etc etc is your own personal value system. It's not where the general public is headed. Instead of looking at some ways of defining superiority for viewing photographs, it would be more worthwhile to celebrate just how important photography has become as an element of daily life.
     
  39. "I question the either-or approach of those of this post proclaiming the impending death of the printed image"
    Me too, Arthur. I love the images I can display on the several monitors in my house and I love my hanging prints.
    I'm planning an opening soon of a home studio/gallery I've created in the previously unfinished downstairs portion of my house. I will have many hanging prints, which I am currently working on producing myself, and I plan to have a monitor on a table running through a SILENT slideshow of many of my other images. I also have one wall which will have a couple of huge poster size prints hanging behind a scrim. The three methods of viewing will work together well. I doubt anyone at the opening will be keeping score on which one scores higher points. They will find detail where detail is and other things will move them where detail is not.
    Though many people are comfortable with Netflix, and I watch movies on TV often enough, a lot of folks still go out to movie theaters often enough (damn those text messagers with their cell phones, though) . . . I had to wait on line to see Star Trek a couple of weeks ago even though we all know it will be on DVD soon enough, and it's not just that we can't wait, it's that we want that movie-house experience. And even though they've had talkies now for a while, a showing of The Wind with Lillian Gish sold out the Castro Theater last weekend . . . with amazing live organ accompaniment and two big wind machines. I doubt prints are becoming dinosaurs any time soon.
    Lots of media can exist and thrive side by side. When one substitutes for the other, there will likely be some loss. But they will also each offer a set of native characteristics which will be utilized creatively by people who accept them for what they are.
    Movies shown on TV aren't as good as when they're seen in a theater, for which they were made. But The Sopranos and Six Feet Under were made for TV, for viewing as series, and they did what little screen viewing does best. No one clamored for these shows to be shown in local movie theaters on bigger screens. Sex In The City wasn't near as good when it tried going big as when it stayed small, where it belonged.
    There's long been a quality issue when showing people proofs instead of the finished print. Now there's a problem with showing them monitor representations instead of finished prints, for those still printing. That's the way it is.
    Then there are those who aren't concerned with printing, for whom the screen image is the finished product. And they're tailoring their products for their medium and not losing anything by it.
    All this can live in one little happy world.
    Except for those who insist on creating false competitions between things that aren't even competing.
     
  40. "It's not where the general public is headed."
    That direction may be credible enough for some, but it is not usually the one chosen by very many artists, collectors, visionaries, intellectuals and a variety of other independent thinkers. Where the general public is headed is hardly a fundamental criteria for them.
    A sad characteristic of (our) North American cultures, and increasingly of some others, is the bland acceptances of the latest popular pastime, gimmick or fashion, usually products of "what do we do next" consumerism, which are not often the rational choices of individuals involved in personal self-actualisation. Perhaps this has always been the situation of societies. We have lots of evidence of certain individuals or groups thereof that have always chosen other directions than the most popular or well-trodden paths. The US of A itself, Impressionist art, scientific method and early science, comprised movements that adhered to that independence of spirit.
    Vive la différence. There are flourishing alternative photography groups throughout the world that have little need for either film or pixel sensors, using Daguerrotypes or other 19th century methods to practice and present their photography. No doubt other more modern forms of photography and the two dimensional print will carry on strongly, both independently and in parallel with new visual methods of image presentation.
     
  41. [AP] ""I question the either-or approach of those of this post proclaiming the impending death of the printed image"
    I would too. I never "claimed the impending death of the printed image". Here is what I did say:
    "The days of paper print dominance in the market are numbered."
    It's not about competition, either, but about potential gaps in the market. Something between Book, poster and print, in a display form that can turn itself off when the room is vacant adjusts itself to the lighting, doesn't fade, costs nothing to insure, and refreshes itself.
    And hey, Fred's already on the verge of doing it. :)
    We are going through a populist swing in photography, the analog to the introduction of the first Kodaks. It changed photography then, and it has now.
     
  42. I'll try one more time. The question at hand is not one of a populist swing, Luis, though we may very well be going through that. It's about MEDIUM.
    It's about digital and it's about monitors. Many people consider the monitor their final mode of viewing. And so photographic aesthetics are changing to deal with that. As Steve pointed out, it's significant to take into account, AS PART OF THE AESTHETIC OF WHAT YOU'RE DOING, the MEDIUM you're using. So there are specific aesthetic considerations that can be in effect when the screen image is the product.
    Those who work with screen images with the exact same aesthetic they used to work with print images are going to be lost in the dust. Very much as those initial Polaroid users who didn't understand how different a Polaroid was from a large format camera in terms of how it could be used and what could be done with it. Large format aesthetic didn't drive Polaroid use. Polaroid use drove a new aesthetic.
    Some will continue to make prints and those will continue to be beautiful.
    But those who are making images mostly for the screen but making them with the same aesthetic considerations they used to make prints are never going to realize the potential of this new medium and are going to be steps behind those who accept screen viewing for what it is . . . something different from print viewing. Those of you waiting for the quality of the screen to be as good as the quality of prints are missing the point. They are qualitatively two different mediums (not meaning one is better than the other, just that they have very different qualities). Some things about monitors may change to allow you to see finer detail. Sure. It will still be a qualitatively different medium from the print.
    When I first started making the prints for my gallery downstairs, I was working on them during the day. At night, I'd go downstairs to look at them under my new lighting. I would call a friend and say that I had learned that the prints really dry differently and don't look as good to me dry. What I had really learned, eventually, was how different a print looks in natural light in my study upstairs compared to how it looked at night under artificial light. So I then had to start printing toward the lighting they were going to be seen under.
    That's what I'm talking about. Think of it like that. You print differently for different lighting conditions. Many people see and shoot differently when they're holding a 35 mm, using a large format, and using a Polaroid. If you don't think differently and make aesthetic adjustments when working in digital, knowing that the screen image is for the most part what your viewers will see, then you are making the same mistake I made when printing for the wrong light.
    It would be counterproductive for me to hang a bunch of prints in my gallery and whine to all of you that they were printed for natural light because natural light is how they should be seen and how disappointed I am with how they look in the gallery. No, instead I print for the gallery.
    Those who know that backlighting has a different quality from reflected lighting will somehow make that part of their aesthetic, creating something where they've considered the medium in that aesthetic.
    Steve asked early on "How do you conceive the images so that the best medium for the message is the monitor?" and I tried to answer to the extent my experience allows.
    But I also asked those of you who have so much experience printing that I thought you would better understand the inherent differences and could give Steve and me a clue of what you actually do differently, how it makes you think differently knowing you have a different final output. NOT ONE OF YOU HAS RESPONDED. Which tells me you're not considering the significance of the difference. Which tells me the young uns, for the most part, will be leaps and bounds ahead of you in the creativity game when it comes to the newest direction of photography. It's a shame, because many of you probably have great skill and could really utilize this new medium in unique and creative ways. But you're all still thinking of the screen image as some version of a print . . . and it's not.
     
  43. Yes, the screen may eventually allow as much detail as the print. And that's still not the point. Because the print and the screen will still continue to have qualitative differences.
    Beethoven didn't write harpsichord music for the newly-invented piano, which just happened to sound a lot different on this new instrument. He wrote piano music. Music changed because of the new instrument. It required different notations, new symbols to be created, learning to use the sound of overtones, the variety of textures you could get with pedal usage. Imagine where we'd be if, instead, Beethoven had spent his time trying to make the piano sound as good as the harpsichord.
     
  44. Fred, you make some very good analogies between the problems of printing (the print dry down factor and the effect of degrees Kelvin or light source are well-known photographic printing problems we struggle with, and the latter is encountered with digital prints).
    I guess one reason why there hasn't been a multitude of better targeted responses to your questions and to those of Steve is that monitors vary very considerably in their behaviour, such as
    - ability to cover the full RGB space (Adobe or otherwise)
    - the effect of viewing angle on the rendition (the laptops are very defficient in this regard and most desktop monitors are as well)
    - inhomogeneity of colour and intensity across the screen
    - departures from colour temperature (some are at 5000 degrees Kelvin, others at 6000K or 6500K, etc.) - reflections in the screen, especially if covered by protective glass or polymer
    - and other variations.
    When the monitors become better (and I am not referring to expensive screen recalibration or top of the line Eizo monitors or the like, as they are priced beyond usage for most people (the public) interested in viewing photography or art) it will be worth the effort to explore your questions in more depth, because what you and Steve are referring to is very valid - the images using different media of presentation will have their own characteristics and different from prints (a good thing, like the difference between oils and acrylics in painting).
    It can be countered that printing materials look different under different lighting conditions, but that is extenal to the beast and fully controllable at source (when printing). We know also that transparency materials used for back projection photographs (like the images that are or were in Grand Central Station), just like the materials made for photographic darkroom or lightroom printing, are very uniform in their quality and manufacture, which makes the act of printing predictable (controllable effects).
    I look forward to the day when monitors for general use have all more or less the same quality for viewing, at which time the use of their particular qualities (and the mastering of them, as you suggest) will enable photographers to make images that can be reproduced as they intended, from monitor to monitor, from place to place.
    The variation between monitors and their level of quality is one aspect that I think we have overlooked in this discussion.
     
  45. Thanks, Arthur, again a reasonable and helpful reply. And I agree that monitor variation is a huge issue, complicating the matter enormously. I did already bring up that variation, but like a lot of the rest of what I said, it seems to have gone unnoticed because others seem hell-bent on discussing populism and arguing whether the print is dead or not. See my post of July 16, 3:47 p.m. I go on for several paragraphs about monitor variation and conclude by suggesting that knowledge of such variation is likely affecting my aesthetics in ways I don't yet grasp. Yes, it may eventually become more standardized, but I think it will always be a bit of an issue (perhaps, eventually, no greater than knowing someone may hang your print in less than ideal conditions and all who see it will be missing a lot of your subtleties -- I assume that bothers printers at least to some extent, though perhaps not as much as the losses suffered on monitors?). And we do agree that even when the variation problem among different monitors becomes less glaring, there will still be qualitative differences that will effect how we see our process and our final results, aesthetically.
     
  46. Arthur Plumpton:
    Electronic books are hard to find and not sought after as much as printed books. The electronic book looks like it is very much dead in the water​
    I'm not sure that's true (at least in the US). Amazon's Kindle is revolutionzing book distribution. With over 300,000 titles available; and the ability to download a book through a 3G wireless connection - you can access nearly any title you want in about 1 minute. The cost of new book titles in hard copy makes Kindle extremely attractive as the prices for new releases run from $4.99 to about $15.00 - far under the cost of a hard copy. Most new books listed on Amazon include a Kindle release.
    Fred Goldsmith:
    Your last comment, though, now has me confused! I thought I had nailed down what you were after, but now you seem to be talking about the disappointment you encounter when comparing prints to monitors, which I thought was not your larger point.​
    Then let me try an clarify this. My work right now is made to be viewed at an image size of at least 18x30 inches (depending upon format used). There are small details that are inconsequential until the print is made to a certain size.
    For example, I have a photograph of the sewage pond in Arco, ID. It looks like a man-made pond with rows of white buoys in it, and a small flat bottom boat in one corner. There is a horizontally stratified butte in the background illuminated by late afternoon sunlight, and framed with active cumulus clouds. But, the really interesting detail that cannot be seen until the print gets large is that the horizontal stratifications have numbers (and some intials) written along the entire length of the rows of stratifications. The numbers go back to the mid 1940's. Each graduating class from the local high school puts the class's graduation date on "Number Mountain." Without that detail - it's just another photograph of a sewage pond.
    With the detail, it becomes completely different. People looking at the print initially get sucked in by the western scene with an illuminated butte, dynamic sky, and pond with clouds reflected in it. A "typically beautiful" landscape - except the title tells them it's a sewage pond...that sets up a dichotomy at the very beginning - "beautiful sewage pond."
    Then the photograph becomes a bit different as they start to notice the butte has numbers on it, they get engrossed in reading what has been written on the butte - and the beautiful landscape aspect no longer matters. I have had people view the print, and 10 minutes later they're still reading the butte.
    Without putting "please zoom in on the butte" as a direction if displayed on the web - you wouldn't even know the characters were on the butte. It's the viewer's discovery of details without overtly directing them that I have been working on for at least the last 5 years. Or, perhaps my lack of web display sophistication doesn't allow me to envision a way to put that image into a context on the web where the viewer would have the same type of discovery.
    Fred Goldsmith:
    "Knowing that your final product will be a screen image on a monitor, what aesthetic considerations do you make?"​
    You are exactly correct with that statement. With the addition of - or, is there a way to use the web for the same aesthetic experience that is part of my current images when printed - am I just not aware of how to do that? Or, do I need to completely retool and rethink what I'm doing to make the images work in a web setting?
    Luis G:
    Of course, one optimizes for the medium in which it will be displayed. These decisions always involve compromises, and the experience, as you mention with the art class slides vs the real thing, is not going to be the same for many reasons, many of which are at the core of representation, others more intrinsic to the method (translucence/projection vs reflected light, sharpness, color, monitor brightness, contrast, variations in all of the above, etc) others because of contextual variations (ambient room brightness, background wall coloring, type of lighting prints are viewed in, etc. All these things change the experience , as they have long before the advent of photography.​
    Either I wasn't clear or you've missed my point. The experience with reproductions versus the real thing made was only related as that experience made it totally clear to me that the choice of HOW something is displayed to the viewer can either reinforce or diminish a viewer's experience. Given that as a major operative in a creative work, several questions come to mind. What are the aesthetic strengths associated with viewing web-based images on a monitor? How does one use those strengths to best advantage? This has nothing to do with making the work available to millions, or the fact that generation zz never goes to museums and uses electronic devices exclusively - but, how you use the intrinsic qualities and display features available through web display?
    Luis G:
    In the near future we will be displaying (at home and in galleries) images on a larger, far sharper equivalent to the digital frame. People will create precisely with this form of display in mind (send more megapixels!). The days of paper print dominance in the market are numbered. This will open up the distribution of images, and make the decisions you are talking about even more important.​
    And exactly the reasons I'm so interested in this.
    I agree with the first part of that. Let's not kid ourselves, throughout history, artists adapt to, or subvert, the number and type of venues and social contexts available for them to exhibit in.​
    I'm not sure I undrestand this statement. In my experience, the artist adapts the work to the medium being used. Michangelo used fresco on the Sistine Chapel ceiling because the finished surface of the building needed to be plaster - a simple, practical, building consideration (and part of what he was being paid to do beyond providing the "decorations"). But, fresco also provided him with a unique medium on which to paint - if you understand all of the technical constraints involved with fresco and adapt your painting style as needed to work within the chosen medium to use it to the fullest aesthetic value - I think it all worked out okay for him....
    Luis G:
    Stephen Shore photographed with a series of consumer grade P&Ses for years (I can hear the howls of derision from Pnetters!), and the work, by design , was made available only in book form, and they look great (I have seen two).​
    Perfect example. The key to the entire example is "by design." And that is the conundrum and question I'm attempting to solve for myself. For web display - what does "by design" mean?
    Luis G:
    There was no transition involved for most of them, and they're used to showing their images digitally. It's their photographic consciousness.​
    What they're "used to" and their "photographic consciousness" may only mean they haven't expanded their horizons past that point. I would like to see something on the web that makes me think that the web is exactly the perfect medium in which to display the _______ (fill in the blank - without holography it won't be a sculpture....)
    Luis G:
    I found it difficult to transition from slide to finished print, but found the transition to digital presentation easier than to printing from slides. YMMV.​
    And I'm exactly the opposite. But, I would also say I'm inherently a print maker in that I like the finished product (prinit), and have used the qualities found in a variety of differerent types of printing (and materials) as key components for enhancing the viewer's experience. However, as I'm am always looking to explore new (to me) ways of visual communication, I'm very interested in how to best use web imaging.
    As to your experience with the image deconstructing itself to its components as one decreases viewing distances, this is something Michal Daniels and I discussed nearly ten years ago at length. He was a little worried, and I told him I saw it as an asset and why. Although I do not recall the artists' names, I saw two large-print color exhibits, one more than a decade ago, one in a Chicago gallery about 6 yrs ago, in which the work riffed off this very idea. One with grain, the other with pixels.​
    Terrific - I was using an Eddie Bauer 110 (cost $13.95) in 1986 for my image explorations. I had Kodak "Poster Prints" made as it seemed to fit the 110 aesthetic. That would make it ...mmmm 23 years ago?
    Things like the illusion of space and the issue you have with detail is going to require developing new strategies (and there are many) to create that illusion in a new way.​
    The strategies are exactly what I would like to understand.
    Jeff Spirer:
    Instead of looking at some ways of defining superiority for viewing photographs, it would be more worthwhile to celebrate just how important photography has become as an element of daily life.​
    You know Jeff, rather than continually slaying dragons...how about participating in the larger conversation about HOW to use the web medium to best advantage? You have very strong opinions about the medium - but, how do you use it for the best aesthetic advantage for your work?
    Luis G:
    It's not about competition, either, but about potential gaps in the market. Something between Book, poster and print, in a display form that can turn itself off when the room is vacant adjusts itself to the lighting, doesn't fade, costs nothing to insure, and refreshes itself.​
    Well let's not go overboard. I think my insurance agent would debate the "costs nothing to insure" statement. "Oh...that - it's covered under your personal belongings portion." "Do you need to increase that?"
    One last thought based on Luis's comment. One thing I have wanted to do is to use an electronic picture frame (I guess a monitor would work, but you'd need some type of digital video server to drive it) - to display a time lapse of a scene taken every 15-30 seconds in which the image dissolves between frames and the entire work changes in sync with the time of day from pre-sunrise through post sunset. I have thought that might be portable to the web so that whenever you checked into the site, the image you saw corresponded to the current time-of-day at the location where the image was taken.
     
  47. Arthur Plumpton:
    Electronic books are hard to find and not sought after as much as printed books. The electronic book looks like it is very much dead in the water​
    I'm not sure that's true (at least in the US). Amazon's Kindle is revolutionzing book distribution. With over 300,000 titles available; and the ability to download a book through a 3G wireless connection - you can access nearly any title you want in about 1 minute. The cost of new book titles in hard copy makes Kindle extremely attractive as the prices for new releases run from $4.99 to about $15.00 - far under the cost of a hard copy. Most new books listed on Amazon include a Kindle release.
    Fred Goldsmith:
    Your last comment, though, now has me confused! I thought I had nailed down what you were after, but now you seem to be talking about the disappointment you encounter when comparing prints to monitors, which I thought was not your larger point.​
    Then let me try an clarify this. My work right now is made to be viewed at an image size of at least 18x30 inches (depending upon format used). There are small details that are inconsequential until the print is made to a certain size.
    For example, I have a photograph of the sewage pond in Arco, ID. It looks like a man-made pond with rows of white buoys in it, and a small flat bottom boat in one corner. There is a horizontally stratified butte in the background illuminated by late afternoon sunlight, and framed with active cumulus clouds. But, the really interesting detail that cannot be seen until the print gets large is that the horizontal stratifications have numbers (and some intials) written along the entire length of the rows of stratifications. The numbers go back to the mid 1940's. Each graduating class from the local high school puts the class's graduation date on "Number Mountain." Without that detail - it's just another photograph of a sewage pond.
    With the detail, it becomes completely different. People looking at the print initially get sucked in by the western scene with an illuminated butte, dynamic sky, and pond with clouds reflected in it. A "typically beautiful" landscape - except the title tells them it's a sewage pond...that sets up a dichotomy at the very beginning - "beautiful sewage pond."
    Then the photograph becomes a bit different as they start to notice the butte has numbers on it, they get engrossed in reading what has been written on the butte - and the beautiful landscape aspect no longer matters. I have had people view the print, and 10 minutes later they're still reading the butte.
    Without putting "please zoom in on the butte" as a direction if displayed on the web - you wouldn't even know the characters were on the butte. It's the viewer's discovery of details without overtly directing them that I have been working on for at least the last 5 years. Or, perhaps my lack of web display sophistication doesn't allow me to envision a way to put that image into a context on the web where the viewer would have the same type of discovery.
    Fred Goldsmith:
    "Knowing that your final product will be a screen image on a monitor, what aesthetic considerations do you make?"​
    You are exactly correct with that statement. With the addition of - or, is there a way to use the web for the same aesthetic experience that is part of my current images when printed - am I just not aware of how to do that? Or, do I need to completely retool and rethink what I'm doing to make the images work in a web setting?
    Luis G:
    Of course, one optimizes for the medium in which it will be displayed. These decisions always involve compromises, and the experience, as you mention with the art class slides vs the real thing, is not going to be the same for many reasons, many of which are at the core of representation, others more intrinsic to the method (translucence/projection vs reflected light, sharpness, color, monitor brightness, contrast, variations in all of the above, etc) others because of contextual variations (ambient room brightness, background wall coloring, type of lighting prints are viewed in, etc. All these things change the experience , as they have long before the advent of photography.​
    Either I wasn't clear or you've missed my point. The experience with reproductions versus the real thing made was only related as that experience made it totally clear to me that the choice of HOW something is displayed to the viewer can either reinforce or diminish a viewer's experience. Given that as a major operative in a creative work, several questions come to mind. What are the aesthetic strengths associated with viewing web-based images on a monitor? How does one use those strengths to best advantage? This has nothing to do with making the work available to millions, or the fact that generation zz never goes to museums and uses electronic devices exclusively - but, how you use the intrinsic qualities and display features available through web display?
    Luis G:
    In the near future we will be displaying (at home and in galleries) images on a larger, far sharper equivalent to the digital frame. People will create precisely with this form of display in mind (send more megapixels!). The days of paper print dominance in the market are numbered. This will open up the distribution of images, and make the decisions you are talking about even more important.​
    And exactly the reasons I'm so interested in this.
    I agree with the first part of that. Let's not kid ourselves, throughout history, artists adapt to, or subvert, the number and type of venues and social contexts available for them to exhibit in.​
    I'm not sure I undrestand this statement. In my experience, the artist adapts the work to the medium being used. Michangelo used fresco on the Sistine Chapel ceiling because the finished surface of the building needed to be plaster - a simple, practical, building consideration (and part of what he was being paid to do beyond providing the "decorations"). But, fresco also provided him with a unique medium on which to paint - if you understand all of the technical constraints involved with fresco and adapt your painting style as needed to work within the chosen medium to use it to the fullest aesthetic value - I think it all worked out okay for him....
    Luis G:
    Stephen Shore photographed with a series of consumer grade P&Ses for years (I can hear the howls of derision from Pnetters!), and the work, by design , was made available only in book form, and they look great (I have seen two).​
    Perfect example. The key to the entire example is "by design." And that is the conundrum and question I'm attempting to solve for myself. For web display - what does "by design" mean?
    Luis G:
    There was no transition involved for most of them, and they're used to showing their images digitally. It's their photographic consciousness.​
    What they're "used to" and their "photographic consciousness" may only mean they haven't expanded their horizons past that point. I would like to see something on the web that makes me think that the web is exactly the perfect medium in which to display the _______ (fill in the blank - without holography it won't be a sculpture....)
    Luis G:
    I found it difficult to transition from slide to finished print, but found the transition to digital presentation easier than to printing from slides. YMMV.​
    And I'm exactly the opposite. But, I would also say I'm inherently a print maker in that I like the finished product (prinit), and have used the qualities found in a variety of differerent types of printing (and materials) as key components for enhancing the viewer's experience. However, as I'm am always looking to explore new (to me) ways of visual communication, I'm very interested in how to best use web imaging.
    As to your experience with the image deconstructing itself to its components as one decreases viewing distances, this is something Michal Daniels and I discussed nearly ten years ago at length. He was a little worried, and I told him I saw it as an asset and why. Although I do not recall the artists' names, I saw two large-print color exhibits, one more than a decade ago, one in a Chicago gallery about 6 yrs ago, in which the work riffed off this very idea. One with grain, the other with pixels.​
    Terrific - I was using an Eddie Bauer 110 (cost $13.95) in 1986 for my image explorations. I had Kodak "Poster Prints" made as it seemed to fit the 110 aesthetic. That would make it ...mmmm 23 years ago?
    Things like the illusion of space and the issue you have with detail is going to require developing new strategies (and there are many) to create that illusion in a new way.​
    The strategies are exactly what I would like to understand.
    Jeff Spirer:
    Instead of looking at some ways of defining superiority for viewing photographs, it would be more worthwhile to celebrate just how important photography has become as an element of daily life.​
    You know Jeff, rather than continually slaying dragons...how about participating in the larger conversation about HOW to use the web medium to best advantage? You have very strong opinions about the medium - but, how do you use it for the best aesthetic advantage for your work?
    Luis G:
    It's not about competition, either, but about potential gaps in the market. Something between Book, poster and print, in a display form that can turn itself off when the room is vacant adjusts itself to the lighting, doesn't fade, costs nothing to insure, and refreshes itself.​
    Well let's not go overboard. I think my insurance agent would debate the "costs nothing to insure" statement. "Oh...that - it's covered under your personal belongings portion." "Do you need to increase that?"
    One last thought based on Luis's comment. One thing I have wanted to do is to use an electronic picture frame (I guess a monitor would work, but you'd need some type of digital video server to drive it) - to display a time lapse of a scene taken every 15-30 seconds in which the image dissolves between frames and the entire work changes in sync with the time of day from pre-sunrise through post sunset. I have thought that might be portable to the web so that whenever you checked into the site, the image you saw corresponded to the current time-of-day at the location where the image was taken.
     
  48. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    You print differently for different lighting conditions.​

    I've never met anyone that does that. I've met many great printers, both darkroom and digital, and never met anyone who prints based on different lighting conditions. Most people have no idea where their prints will end up hanging, so it doesn't really make sense. Everyone I know tests their prints in daylight.
    I question the either-or approach of those of this post proclaiming the impending death of the printed image​
    How much time have you spent talking with teens and early twenties types about this? That's who will dominate photograph in ten years. They don't print much. My son shoots constantly, he's a good photographer, and he's never printed anything. His friends don't either.
    We are going through a populist swing in photography, the analog to the introduction of the first Kodaks. It changed photography then, and it has now.​
    This is what matters. Clinging to old ways of looking at photography only distances one from what is happening. Some people want to be stuck in the old ways. One becomes that person who says, "When I was young..." and turns off the new practitioners by not listening.
     
  49. "You print differently for different lighting conditions."

    "I've never met anyone that does that."
    I have. As a matter of fact, the last three prints I bought were from a photographer very concerned about that. I saw the prints and loved them, at his gallery. He came over to my house, asked where I was planning to hang them, and printed for that location and its lighting. When I take them into broader daylight in other parts of the house, they look thin and not near as good. Had he printed them for typical daylight, those looking at them in my hallway would not see what he intended at all.
    I understand this, of course, is not always possible, because you may not often know where your prints are going to hang and this kind of personal service might only be possible on a small scale and may certainly not be cost effective. But your concern in this thread has been aesthetic. That people are not seeing what you intended.
    So now I'm really intrigued. Why do you care so much about people not seeing what you really intended when they view your stuff on monitors but you seem to completely have accepted or discarded what would be a very similar concern all these years when printing. It seems profoundly obvious that if you print for daylight and most people are seeing your prints at night in the lighting of their homes, they are missing A LOT of what you intended when they view your photographs. Why the sudden concern? Clearly, many people have already not been seeing what you intended, even before the invention of monitors.
     
  50. >>> Clinging to old ways of looking at photography only distances one from what is happening. Some people want to be
    stuck in the old ways.

    Bingo. That was what I had in mind referring above to the shift being generational; being more difficult for older folk
    strongly tied to the "good" ways of the past and mixed in with bit of gnosticism. Music is another great example.

    I'm still not getting how this,being more about technology and not really new at that, is philosophical. But what the heck...
     
  51. Hey, Steve and Jeff, my apologies. I was attributing to Steve what I now realize Jeff Spirer actually said about not changing his printing for different lighting situations and my last post was written as if I were responding to Steve having said that. Still a lot of the points remain, and I'd be curious to hear if others work like Jeff, and print for only one standard of lighting conditions. Would you only now (with the advent of monitors) be suddenly concerned about loss of definition of detail after years of those details getting lost because you were printing for only one standard lighting situation? Since Steve seems so concerned with people not seeing what he intended, I thought it a strange thing had Steve made this comment about printing for only one lighting situation in all cases. I'm curious if it's been a big concern to all the printers here all along, the way lighting conditions will affect what people see in your prints. I can only assume it has, judging by your concern for accuracy and detail, unlike the case for Jeff.
     
  52. In all fairness, in Arthur's last post he did talk about how printing can be changed and controlled for different lighting conditions, so obviously it's a been a concern for him. That seems quite consistent with his standards and it seems a significant recognition.
     
  53. I thought today about Steve's specific concern about detail and preserving his visualization of space. One way to address it, in a way that fits and preserves his aesthetics onscreen, would be to selectively and ever-so-slightly sharpen the foreground objects in the frame more than those in the background. Steve's work, I notice, is rich with signature subtleties and color, which are going to require careful work to carry their essence into digital.
    One of the problems with extreme subtleties is that the variations from monitor to monitor may nullify or overemphasize them. One way I dealt with this was to get an idea of the range of these variations. I did it by asking a friend who owns a large IT based company to let me come in and using a flash drive, view a few pictures, gray scale and color chart on dozens of uncalibrated monitors of different brands, models and ages. I came to the hard realization that this is a problem that presently, for me, has to be dealt with statistically.


    This is not a new problem/medium by any means. Those that began in digital and mostly show on the web have addressed this from their entry point in the medium, and is not an interim mode before making art prints. They do have it over those still engaged in approaching that medium. It is the way they show their work. The images finished at that point are in the final display medium, and one can learn a lot by studying them.
    Remember good old Ansel pre-visualizing all the way to the finished print? One does the same for monitor display.
    Arthur, prints aren't as consistent for viewing as you make them out to be, either. There are variations that affect them, too. The softness, type and angle of the lighting in which they're displayed makes a difference. The color temperature of the lighting shifts colors (in paintings, too) in color and toned B&W prints. The background (wall) brightness shifts the values, as does its color, if any.
     
  54. Oops, yes, I see now where Arthur touched on this. Apologies to Arthur.
     
  55. jtk

    jtk

    Still talking about monitors?
    That's a temporary medium. Get a projector :)
     
  56. jtk

    jtk

    Still talking about monitors?
    That's a temporary medium. Get a projector :)
     
  57. jtk

    jtk

    Still talking about monitors?
    That's a temporary medium. Get a projector :)
     
  58. Luis, I agree with your last paragraph and am glad you acknowledge that prints can have their issues, too. It's really a question of which you can control better. For the moment, I believe prints are the best form of presentation and not challenged in that sense by the screen, which for me is too variable (as a presentation system, not as a post capture creative system, of course; there is a difference) to be trusted to reproduce something I want to present. For non critical presentation, it is OK.
    I don't want to be particularly meticulous or critical, but I just want to use the system that for me works most easily and best. It's subjective of course.
     
  59. John--
    I was actually counting on you for some answers here, to the very pointed questions Jeff and I have been asking, since you have so much experience printing. Seriously. So pretend we're talking about projectors and address the question, because you should have some important insights. If projection were your output goal, how would you change your visual aesthetics to fully utilize that medium, as distinct from print? Are you seeing your photographs exactly the same way, from start to finish (though we've agreed there's really never a finish line) when you gear them for projection as when you geared them for print? Has it changed your way of seeing at all, when you first approach a photograph, even at the point of shooting? Do you see differently, depending on the output? Is it at all similar to the differences in the ways you might have approached large format vs. Polaroid, if you did in fact approach them differently?
    Thanks.
     
  60. Luis--
    Thanks for an actual response. You and Arthur are da men.
    I'll keep that in mind about the slight sharpening in the foreground.
    I do already check most of my images at least on my own laptop (in addition to my desktop) and usually the important ones get checked on a couple of friends' as well to deal with the statistical thing you talk about.
    What about your actual previsualiztion, to the extent it's operable, and aesthetic. Does the backlighting play a role in how or what you shoot at all? Does it have any effect on how you approach either the shot or the processing? Do you think of the print still as your final product or are there shots you know will be for monitor viewing only?
    Thanks.
     
  61. jtk

    jtk

    Please pardon my triple post, above: Vista.
    Fred, I have zero creative experience with digital projection, but I'm stunned by its current technical capability and its relative economy (many middle class homes already have it, simply for TV sports). Middle priced Epson projectors (and others no doubt) are far better than television/computer monitors for display because they fill any space (bigger=better) and are the heart of various spins on small home/studio theaters...ranging from highly refined to lash-up. Projection quality is incredibly good in a proper space, just as prints can be in their proper environments. I wouldn't know this except that I've been forced to Super Bowl visits in well-equipped homes.
    It's hard to imagine any serious photographer producing for digital displays without some kind of sound.
    Warhol's Factory did hugely-projected audio/vidios using crude video cams and crude projectors back in dinosaur times...it was good then and it's visually better (presumably comparable in terms of "art")... exquisitely high quality audio recording is easily accomplished with $500 toys (we're not aware of how much professional recording is done with pocket sized recorders). Projection exhibits are routine at Site Santa Fe and, currently, at the Albuquerque Museum, if anybody's interested.
    As for prints, we'll have them always...if only because my neigbor hangs Picasso original drawings and I hang Puerto Rican travel posters from the 30s, and fine adobe walls call for paper objects...as much as dorm rooms and cracking plaster walls do.
    I have no personal experience with visualizing/serious photography/post-processing for digital display. My monitor is poorly calibrated because I am an old-school printer, I like to make test prints and correct them in various kinds of light, just as with Ektacolor, Ciba, or B&W. I imagine that would be easier with digital display than with inkjet printing.
    I've never seen any kind of internally lit display that rivaled rear projection using superior optics (eg Buhl) onto frosted mylar, taped in door frames of Victorian houses, back when I thought slides were interesting.
     
  62. John--
    Thanks. I just took the three posts as emphasis :)
    Seriously, though, I'm also curious about printing for different lighting situations.
    Jeff said that he's never met anyone who prints for different lighting conditions. That seems so strange to me. If you know the particular lighting conditions your work is going to viewed under for the most part, wouldn't you adjust your prints based on those conditions? Any thoughts there?
     
  63. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, I study test prints in open shade and in harsh direct sunlight..and importantly, in tungsten because that's where they're likely to be displayed.
    It often takes me two days to get from test to final because I do rely on two real daylight conditions and because prints change over a few hours after printing. Daylite fluorescent, which lights my work space, isn't much like a sun-lit room and nobody I know of displays under it...but I'd use it (in combination with tungsten) if I had to do production work. I discard a lot of prints, sometimes just because my theory about the print changes after I've looked at it over a few days.
    Metamerism isn't an issue with my 3800 and the semi-gloss or matte papers I use, and wasn't with my favored matte papers with 2200.
     
  64. John, thanks, what I'm getting at is this. Let's say you have a photo that you're printing for two different people. One who you know will be hanging it in a room that gets really full daylight most of the day and one for a NY City apartment that is always under tungsten and gets virtually no light. Would you make two different prints or just make the same print and hope for the best?
     
  65. Jeff is right: Very few people customize prints for specific lighting. I can't think of one top-tier artist using photography that does. Customarily, the collector is expected to handle it. If the buyer is oblivious to the issue, it won't matter, and if they're savvy, they'll know what to do.
    Of course, how are they supposed to become savvy unless someone educates them?
    Matching prints to display lighting involves a lot more work. It should drive up the cost of the print considerably, and appeal to a tiny market segment. Very few people have the visual sophistication/literacy to get this, although it seems everyone I meet nowadays is an oneophile, gastronomist, thread counter, PS expert, scriptwriter, well-versed in physics, and of course, a coffee connoisseur :)
    Most say "the eye compensates" and let it go at that. Museum directors don't spend the extra money on this either, and know that 99.999% of the viewers, including photographers, are clueless.
    In general, cold-toned prints get darker (and the tones are suppressed) in tungsten, lighter under some fluorescent bulbs. Warm-toned prints get darker/suppressed under fluorescents and deep shade, lighter in tungsten. Textured papers can get lost in flat lighting, over-emphasized under angled specular lighting. There are guys who take color temp readings of the lighting and print accordingly. With color, this is much more of an issue, since there is the problem becomes complex, as certain colors/tones shift up, others down.
    Most of the time, the responsibility for this is left up to the buyer/collector to provide lighting that best shows off the print. It would be to the good to specify what that should be, but it might turn many buyers away who have antagonistic lighting, and into purchasing other's prints thinking they're good under all kinds of lighting.
    DISCLAIMER: Regarding the above lighting issues, and the earlier comment on slight sharpening of foreground objects, it is extremely important to keep in mind that in the latter comment, I was addressing Steve's particular problem, after taking into consideration the kind of light, subjects and colors he favors, and coming up with something that would retain as much as possible of his aesthetic, both from what I saw and what he said. For many photographers, and for many reasons, this is not an issue, and/or with their aesthetics, perhaps best solved via other means (and there are many). These things are not to be taken as a recipe, program, pheasant under glass, or honey-do list for particular problems, but more along the lines of the scrawled notes the explorers in Verne's _Voyage to the Center of the Earth_ find along the way. They are above all to be questioned, interpreted and tested before being incorporated into one's work.
     
  66. "Matching prints to display lighting involves a lot more work. It should drive up the cost of the print considerably, and appeal to a tiny market segment. . (Luis)
    Luis. No and Yes. No that it does not cost much at all, and virtually nothing when compared to all the post-capture tweaking or modification that goes into very good print making.
    Yes, it (and probably the photograph itself) appeals to only a tiny market segment. When I sell a B&W print off the wall, I sometimes suggest (depending upon the interest exhibited by the buyer) that the print will likely look best under the same lighting (halogen spot or flood). When someone asks for a custom made print (because they would like it in a different size), and mentions where and how the intend to light it, I will make the small effort to match the print to the viewing conditions.
    I am certainly not a "top" photographer, but my approach is influenced from what I have learned from more than one well-known photographer, usually via books or articles. I do not sell prints at high prices as my reputation in the market does not allow this. Nonetheless, at 100 to 250 dollars per print I do not find it difficut at all to tailor the print to match lighting if presented with the opportunity to do so (as a custom print of a particular work).
    "Most say "the eye compensates" and let it go at that. Museum directors don't spend the extra money on this either, and know that 99.999% of the viewers, including photographers, are clueless." (Luis)
    No, the eye won't compensate for poor tonality caused by mismatched viewing illumination, it simply ACCEPTS a lesser result (and will judge it accordingly, of course). Please, I'm sure you know that museum personnel are very adamant about the type of paper you use for a print. It is hardly likely they will accept a print that doesn't look good under their lighting (mainly artificial and of a colour temperature and force easily understood by the artist-photographer).
    The recent Louvre exhibition (250 works) in our local art museum required 5 years in the planning and making (and numerous transatlantic trips and consultations, which no doubt registered in the admission prices). Every element of the manner of exhibition (lighting, angles, placement, environment, relationship to other works, etc.) was highly studied and worked out before the actual opening. If your museum showing photographic works is cavalier about such things, you might want to initiate some discussion and try to improve their practice.
    The viewing conditions for an exhibited photograph are no different than the acoustics of a hall in which you listen to music.
     
  67. jtk

    jtk

  68. Luis--
    But doesn't that mean that, in many cases, you are letting go of what people will see? As you say, many viewers won't notice the difference or won't really have a clue that their lighting conditions are not optimizing the prints. I'm sure as a photographer you, like me, are horrified to see how some people matt, frame, light, and display prints. I think the same is true with monitor viewing (though I'm sure the problem is more severe here). What we as photographers obsess about, rightfully so, the average viewer will not notice at all. They have long been doing many things to "compromise" our work. I do understand that monitor viewing has a more extreme differential that we are currently dealing with. I understand that the concern over this differential is legitimate, but the way it's being treated as if it were a new and strictly monitor-driven issue leads me to believe that there is also a bit of resistance-to-the-new-way-of-doing-things going on here. That's really just a hunch. Were the discussion strictly about quality concerns, I would think these concerns about prints would have at least been mentioned by someone before I did, someone more experienced with prints. Since they weren't, I tend to think there's something more at play about the new way of doing things and ties to the more familiar.
    Clearly, Steve has expressed more than a concern for the actual translation of his prints in a monitor situation. He is not able to interact with works on a monitor in as personal a fashion as he is with prints. I think that's true for many. And I think it's their issue, not an issue about monitors. Younger folks, who are pretty much glued to monitors, I would think have a much more personal relationship to what's on a screen than to what's hanging in their parents' homes.
     
  69. jtk

    jtk

    "Younger folks, who are pretty much glued to monitors, I would think have a much more personal relationship to what's on a screen than to what's hanging in their parents' homes."
    "younger folks" with the most obvious potential are often more athletic, exploratory, and social than their parents (who may be chubby nerds living in cubicles, asocial). In other words, the best may not be glued to the screen.
    Some use blog formats (and, in the interest of greatest control and best appearance, not facebook et al) to craft something well-produced for their important and often distant relationships...still, video, audio, careful writing.
    Monitors and digital presentation and web pages are not the same phenomena. Monitors have very limited futures. We will abandon them...say 2012. We might, with privacy in mind, find ourselves exchanging a new format on SD cards.
     
  70. jtk

    jtk

    This thread has a retro feel to it. Like "The Future of Glass Plates"
    For more recent retro, browse "Nam June Paik"....alleged inventor (1970?) of the concept "information superhighway" and (tongue-in-cheek) "The George Washington of Video"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkjxG_k0VDo&feature=related

    (note mix of performers, audience, space, stage, cables, monitors, projection, planned and unplanned sound)

    ...relates directly to punk , "street," Xerox PARC, Warhol and Internet, if you follow the scent.

    Or browse "Fluxus" , see where participants scattered, and consider the richness in which few standard concepts of photography even flutter. (Fred, browse "Fluxus San Francisco State")
     
  71. John--
    Thanks for the references.
    I think there is a future in photo prints, images on screen, slideshows, multi-media events, and lots of stuff related to the world of the visual and auditory that hasn't even been thought of yet.
    I saw a dance performance in Maastricht when I visited that included, of course, music, but also slide projections and it also used the architectural surroundings in a way I'd never seen.
    And this thread is about an understanding of photographic prints and viewing still images on monitors, which is also interesting to me and why I've been participating and asking questions.
    Thanks.
    By the way, lots of athletic kids I know, and kids who are doing much outward and inward exploration of all kinds, use their monitors and cell phones a lot. One doesn't seem to preclude the other. "Glued to" was a misleading choice of words on my part. Some are "glued to" these devices but others have just simply grown up with a certain acceptance and relationship to them different from those of us who didn't grow up with them as an intimate part of our landscape.
     
  72. "The recipient will respect it according to his ability. My hope is incidental."
    This seems significant. Thanks for it.
    I seem to vacillate back and forth.
    As I said above, I've had to let go of what I may suppose others are seeing on their monitors because I'm aware they're seeing something somewhat different from what I'm seeing on my screen. I generally put all the nuance and attention to detail (as well as a lot of energy into the big picture) into my photos as I can. I assume that even if the specifics won't always be seen by others, having put that effort and care into it will still have an effect on some level.
    At the same time, as I use PN and the web in general as a means of sharing my photos, mostly to people with monitors, and I often get into discussions about my photos and the photos of others, it is sometimes annoying when it's clear that someone else is commenting and experiencing my photos very differently than I am, due to the variation so obvious in monitors.
    My question to you about making up different prints for very different lighting situations is, in part, answered by your comment about viewers viewing to their ability, but it also does not address some of what I mean. They may have varying abilities to appreciate or experience what you've done and that's one thing. But you are giving them something. Are you offering them something that will maximize their ability to experience what you've done? If you give them a print that you know looks just the way you want it in your studio but does not allow them to see detail in the viewing situation they have set up, I'm not sure why you might not adjust your fine tuning a little for that.
     
  73. John--
    I also don't see it strictly as being about the ability of the recipient of my photo. It's about the product I give him, the raw materials I'm providing him to experience.
    It is the case that many people can't afford or don't know much about optimal lighting in their homes. If I'm giving or selling someone a print and I know the lighting conditions they will be viewing under, it seems like I would consider (though it may not be practical or cost effective) tailoring the print to those lighting conditions. It will likely enable the recipient to see the print better, no matter his abilities, and thereby I'd be supplying him with a superior product.
    That having been said, I respect the fact that I seem to be in the minority here and there may be some naivete operating on my part due to lack of experience. I'm glad I asked.
     
  74. Free internet vs. expensive prints -do I have to spell it out? The irony being, my art is, partly, pics of prints as installations, that I then blog! www.beaconart.blogspot.com
     
  75. jtk

    jtk

    You don't need to "spell it out" to Marx or Limbaugh, who center on money.
    Free vs expensive are irrelevant...unless you're a charity. A gift is valued as-received, not as-given.
    I make gifts when I feel like it. I do send files sometimes, usually post-processed because I actually care about the recipient.
    Failure to post-process/print may measure value for some of us.. = near-zero value
    My prints are made to my standard. I MAKE prints, I USE files. Apples/oranges.
    Many on this very thread are undoubtedly better printers than I am. I'm not making a special claim.
    I expect the recipient to do her / his best... but they don't have to see what I see.
    I don't "hope" they'll do their best, I assume it. I've given equally fine prints to arts patrons who hang and light expensively, and to Navajo people without telephones (or Internet) or indoor plumbing but who do keep things nicely filed and do ponder them in their way...and who seem to have better-than-common visual acuity (eg finding arrows).
    Gift is a value, purchase is a price. In some societies extra value has to do with the damage the giving does to the wealth of the giver (Pacific Northwest.."potlatch")...not my value, but perhaps worth considering.
    A gift has inherent advantage over a purchased item. You keep things you're given, that you wouldn't keep if you purchased.
     
  76. John--
    I'm thinking some of that was meant to address my questions (?)
    If so:
    My question/point is not about Navajo, their visual abilities, or whether your viewer is doing their best or not.
    It's about the printer making different prints for different lighting conditions, all of which ought to be the best and up to standard.
    It seems to me there's not one "best" here. "Best" is situational, context-driven, not fixed and immutable.
    Pianists playing in different halls adjust their volume, tone, nuances accordingly. Always their best.
    Actors performing the same play in one theater vs. another project and even interpret differently. Always their best.
    I don't know why a photographer, given the opportunity and practical possibilities to print for the destination, would think his bests are any less environment-related.
     
  77. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, Sorry for my evasiveness. My emotional "gift" feels at odds with your platonic "best."
    I print to the best of my limited ability, according to my single standard. Presently, I'm sulking because in the past week I've seen work by two vastly better printers. One set hangs in Three Rivers Brewery in Farmington, New Mexico (excellent amber ale): melodramatic B&W scenics..I wouldn't want them around the house, but they are perfect for that brewpub. Somebody knew what he was doing.
    I don't often know where my print will hang initially, and nobody can know where in the fullness of time. An initially badly lit print will, if compelling enough, eventually enjoy better. Do I care when?
    In this small room, reasonably well-lit : a 1939 B&W by my mother, a Stanford farm road (Kodak Bantam Special)...a formal north-lit head and shoulders portrait, 5X7, my great grandfather looking a lot like me...a 16X20 flash-powder-lit group in liederhosen, dirndels, and Wagnerian costumes labeled "Weinesfest, 11, October, 1896" (my grandfather may be in it as a boy). The first two are very fine as photographs and prints by any modern standard. They were all forgotten in closets and boxes until mortality made them my concerns.
     
  78. Got ya.
    But my "best" is not a Platonic "best."
    Plato would be horrified by my contextual use of "best."
    For Plato, "best" was "best," fixed and immutable. Much like your prints.
    Your emotional "gift" is actually a Platonic "best."
    My "best" is relative to context, which Plato would have thought very much less than Ideal.
    That's me, less than an Idealist. :)
     
  79. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, in Black Swan terms, my "best" ain't "platonic." It lives in "Extremistan." Same print might fail or transcend, depending (including now or later).
    If I anticipated the lighting I might print according to a theory (per those effective brewpub photos)...I could print-to-fit...but in some future, wouldn't that print be discarded as mediocre, especially if the owner had forgotten me?
    In Black Swan "Mediocrestan" I'd print according to anticipated point of display...it would serve... ideally it would be discarded when lighting changed. My shade will haunt with enough mediocrity as it is.
    An unasked question has to do with the passage of time. Weston's still looking good. I talk about Minor White here, but I don't think his future is as bright.
     
  80. "because I actually care about the recipient."
    But care about the print and the possibility of future mediocrity more than the present best.
    I get your point and hadn't thought of the "lastingness" of the print. I got it now. As usual, there seem to be at least two ways to see this without one needing to be extreme and one needing to be mediocre . . . unless we need them to be that way.
    It's not a black swan, IMO. Nothing transformative here. Just your way of doing things. A totally reasonable way. I understand now. It took a while :) . . . but I understand now.
    Thank you.
    By the way, why so resistant to being "Platonic?" You are, in this case, though not often that I've seen. Extremistan is Platonic, you're after the Ideal print vs. Mediocrestan, the more Realist, current, experiential view. The desire that something "last" is Platonic, Idealistic vs. something that will serve but perhaps only termporarily which is much more Realist or Empirical.
    All Plato's ideas are good. Some of them work and some of them don't. There's at least a little Plato in all of us.
     
  81. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, I don't especially "desire" a future for my prints (being vaguely-faux-buddhist), but the odds are high (the risk of the bet is low) that if I print in a mediocre way (ie for one particular viewing situation) there will probably be no future for them, there will be little possibility.
    Extremistan and Mediocristan are goofy Black Swan frames of reference having to do with probabilities, possibilities, and risk. In Mediocrestan there actually may be reasonably predictable probabilities and risks. Common statistical methods and the bell curve may work adequately there. By contrast, in Extremistan there are few probabilities and very high risk...the possibility of extreme success and extreme failure. Think government employment vs dotcom. Think Bush vs Obama: one attempted little, the other is rolling many dice.
    If I print to my taste the possibility of a future exists. This is the implication of "Extremistan". It might (or might not) be rewarding to someone in the future to possess a print from 2009, just as it's rewarding to me to possess very fine (or finely framed, as in that Octoberfest example) family-owned prints from the 19th century ( Fremont CA, San Francisco).
    It happens that these California prints were made or produced or purchased (fine studio portraits)..appreciated and possessed... by photographic enthusiasts (my family). I think the best would be collectable by people who simply like fine vintage images...I'm sure that thes are survivors of culling by the photographers. Culling removed the mediocre and opened a possibility for the best.
    I predict (prediction is often possible in Mediocristan, not in Extremistan) that a print made for an inadequate lighting situation will be discarded (culled) when it's viewed in better light. That mildly radical action will elevate the rest of that collector's photos.
     
  82. The premise that assumes the mediocrity of printing for a particular lighting situation is flawed. It simply assumes longevity to be a more worthy goal (what you define as success) than other goals.
    If the so-called "extremist" method were to be assumed lazy, uncaring, or unsophisticated for its negligent attitude toward the current viewing situation, that would also be a mistake.
    The "extremist" method seems mediocre on at least two counts:
    1) It seems to be the accepted norm. (This is most often a signifier of a lack of extremism -- Jeff Spirer: "I've never met anyone that [prints differently for different lighting conditions].")
    2) It has kept things simple. (Those using this method haven't confronted the issue that their prints are being seen in all kinds of situations which are not accurately representing the vision of the photographer in the same manner they are suddenly confronted with it with respect to monitors. The viewing inconsistencies are more obvious and severe with monitors so they have become more troubling -- one of the premises of this thread. There's mediocrity in seeing only what's been made more obvious.)
    The "extremist" may feel better comparing himself to dotcom instead of government employment and Obama instead of Bush, but that kind of self-congratulation is mediocre as well.
    Like I said, I understand your point and it seems a reasonable way for you and anyone else to work. I certainly applaud the aesthetics and craft of anyone who can make a fine print and make one that will last for the ages.
    But that's got nothing to do with your being more willing to take a risk, nothing to do with yours being an extremist method and others being mediocre methods.
    It's just your way -- either by choice, by habit, or inheritance -- and just one way.
     
  83. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, I have the impression that you're upset by what I've said.
    Your insistance that Mediocristan refers to "mediocre" is understandable, but it does not...you're missing the point: The extreme may also be mediocre. The mediocre may be "best."
    Extremistan relates to risk, upside and downside possibility...not merit.
    Mediocristan refers to a low-risk world...government employment is a perfect example. Nothing wrong with that. But it doesn't ring certain bells.
    You talk a lot about "art," and I differ with you there specifically because the word has devolved to Mediocristanian jargon, whereas I think it refers to high risk, belongs more properly to Extremistan.
    Extremistan is inhabited by high risk, not by predictability.
    A Mediocristan print might be more acceptable (might make your badly lit friend happier) than a print from Extremistan...hopefully it would be more acceptable, if dumbed down for the bad light you've postulated (and please don't confuse this with monitor viewing...it's a different matter..I don't care much about monitors since they're Edsels).
    My best may be Extremistanian because it either works or doesnt...it might be a total failure in your friends bad apartment, but it might be a great success the apartment of someone that more fully appreciated photography or appreciated the gift.
    Your several judgmental comments seem platonic (by definition?)....measuring my views with an absolute standard that you evidently possess. I'm in no position to say anything absolute, beyond the personal.
    ...however I don't think you understand platonicity in application. Taleb may not either, but this seems a fair discussion of his view:
    http://obsidianrook.com/doomfiles/PLATONIC_HATRED.html
    I am a success or a failure, but the risks I take may be deminimus, I may be a Mediocristanian. If you worked for the government, your understandings would probably be OK, whereas an Extremistanian's might be positively or negatively revolutionary.
    A Mediocristanian VP promoted Nam June Paik's "Information Superhighway" and tried to maintain it as a government entity. His concept died, overwhelmed by barbarians from Extremistan (the people who developed a dull Defense Department Mediocristan program into our favorite medium).
     
  84. "dumbed down"
    That's how I thought you were viewing it. I'm not upset. I enjoy this discussion. Seriously.
    It would be helpful if you pointed to something I said where I measured your views with an "absolute standard." You're using the standard, the personal standard that there is one final print that will suffice for all your viewers, referring to anything other than that, for you, as "dumbed down."
    You think "Extremistan" is taking more risks or maybe that's how Taleb defines it. It may well be and I accept that. But your printmaking habits are not taking more risks, so they may simply not be as "Extremistan" as you think. They are simply meeting your standards. The person who adjusts for varying lighting situations may be taking many more risks. His risk is clearly that the prints won't last beyond the individual situation for which he's made them. He risks working harder than you in nuancing each print he makes of the same image because he doesn't print to a standard like you. There are risks involved with making tailor-made prints that are not involved with sticking to a standard.
    Taleb and I understand Plato.
    Taleb and I understand that Plato sought and deified consistency and everlastingness. According to what you linked, Taleb doesn't think much of such consistency. Taleb also doesn't think much of things that are as well-defined as your "standard" print. You're seeking Plato's sort of consistency and Idealism with your prints. You think you have made an Ideal print which will serve all situations. That is Platonic. It is not messy. And it is not evidence of a method Taleb would seem to prefer (at least according to what you linked).
    By referring to the "messiness" (which Taleb prefers) of not making an Ideal print, of varying the print for the lighting situation, as "dumbed down," you are disassociating yourself with Taleb and aligning yourself with Plato, who would also refer to it as "dumbed down." Like you, Plato felt that situational adjustments were "dumbed down." It doesn't seem as though Taleb would refer to situational inconsistency as dumbing down. He would rather appreciate the messiness of it. As do I.
     
  85. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, Since few here seem to have read him (I've just finished listening to 12 CD unabridged), I should have explained that Taleb brags about his trader mentality. He isn't an investor so much as gambler.
    This explains his rejection of Plato. He finds no discernable predictability in Extremistan, postulates no driver-of-the-universe, few certainties. Plato comforted investors in Mediocristan until the theories Taleb ridicules betrayed them (eg Modern Portfolio Theory, diversification, dollar cost averaging). Platonic thinkers experienced the negative potential of Extremistan. They will never "recover" without a hugely positive "Extremistan." (try to recover 30% loss @ at a modest 3% inflation number, plus 4% (the goal of institutional investors and expected from treasury bonds), all compounded: you'd need 7% reinvested every year after expenses in an untaxed account)
    To gamble, one puts down one's bet and lives with the consequences, prepared to tolerate small losses most of the time, open to very rare huge wins. My prints are bets. I don't choose to adjust them to the inadequacies of characters who at certain times exhibit prints in bad light...after all, who knows when they'll be see the light.
    We especially differ here: I'm distinctly NOT trying to convey "my vision" to anybody..it's more accurate to say that I'm simply putting something out there. That sharing-vision idea is understandable and pleasant, but it doesn't ring true for me...it seems an unexamined notion, and I once espoused it or something similar.
    Giving someone a print makes it even more my own than my original file or film. That's a partially formed concept but it rings true for me...maybe I'll eventually decode or reject it. For the recipient to grasp my vision (if I have a vision) she might have to be close to my wave length at some point (similar aluminum foil hats on April Fools Day)... not at the moment of receipt of print in your friend's dank, dark NY walkup... maybe in the future, after she's carried off ...to a well-lit New Mexico palace :)
     
  86. Yes, indeed. "Pleasant" and "unexamined," says John.
    Thanks. Probably now enough.
     
  87. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, for several months I've been writing as clearly as I can about personally evolving thinking...that evidently irritates you, has repeatedly irritated you to the point that you attack
    ...why not expand on your own experience and thinking rather than sniping at mine?
    The problem seems to be that I question some of the "givens" that some photographers routinely embrace... some that I've embraced in the past. In particular, I question the casual, seemingly unexamined "shared vision."
    Forget my attitude toward "art" ..how about examining "shared vision"... what does that mean to you?
    How does it work?
    A self-evident idea?
    This Forum tends to rely on ideas that are taken for granted...maybe that's because we're photographers and photography deals with the surfaces of things.
     
  88. John--
    "Shared vision" is what many of us were talking about in the intimacy thread. That thread was about all kinds of intimacy, between photographer and subject, photographer and photograph, viewer and photograph/subject, and photographer and viewer. You may be skeptical about the photographer/viewer intimacy, I don't quite remember. But skepticism aside, it was certainly discussed. I've talked about shared vision a lot over the months. Suzanne Langer has examined it thoroughly. She and I have reached different conclusions about it from yours, even though we have examined it. We share visions through Significance. Empathy of feelings. Symbolism. It's what art, when it's not hanging in a motel, can be about. Photography, too.
    The viewer shares my vision not directly but because of an empathetic response to the photograph. He responds to the significance of my feelings not necessarily with those same feelings but with feelings of his own stimulated by the work. Significance, in this regard, means more than importance. It is sort of importance + empathy + symbolic form and feeling. A key to significance is "sign." Signs aid in the sharing of vision.
    You have used Plato and Platonic here, in a Philosophy of Photography forum, and your use of them has appeared muddled to me. Taleb evidently presents his views partially in the context of Plato and his distaste for some of Plato's ideas. (While I don't share Taleb's distaste for Plato, I agree with Taleb that Plato's ideas often do not apply well to the world I experience.) Your writing about Plato and the platonic parts of Taleb's work suggests that you have only a vague notion about how they're being used. In some cases, you use Plato and/or Platonic in a manner completely counter to an understanding of his Idealism and love of consistency. You have specifically said that you have avoided the study of Philosophy, so it seems reasonable that you would have only vague notions about these things. Nevertheless, you tell me, someone you know has a lot more experience with Plato than you do, that I don't understand this application of Plato. That's a snipe, no? It's at least very ballsy.
    I take your calling my own and others' ideas "pleasant" and "unexamined" as snipes. Admittedly, I snipe back at you. In my mind, you've asked for it by consistently behaving that way.
    Here, you set yourself up for these attacks with your own attitude, referring to my suggested method as "dumbing down." Evidently you didn't see that as a snipe, just your way of talking. But it's a snipe. You got the response you got because of it.
    I see your several mentions of projection instead of monitors as snipes. This thread is about monitors. Say your piece once and then let it be. We get it. No one really even responded to you on it. Maybe repeat it once because you've been ignored, but at some point you have to get the message that you're the only one who cares right now.
    I don't mind your feelings about "art." I mind your harping on them and sidetracking good discussions with them. Just like we all (according to you) accept that we are not "most" people and that we are of a certain class, all of us accept that (perhaps because of that class we're in) we have a good working idea of what "art" is. Rarely does it include what's framed above motel beds or what you refer to as decor. Yet anytime the word is mentioned, instead of attending to what the discussion is about, you interrupt it with the same musings about "art" being Elvis on velvet. Those come off as snipes.
    When video or slides are mentioned and you enter with the sole idea that lack of sound is an "atavistic" restriction and it's said for the umteenth time and there is no other critique offered, it comes across as a snipe.
     
  89. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, I asked if you had ideas related to "shared vision." In response you pointed to various formulations made by others.
    Taking my reference to "comfortable" and "dumbing down" as personal criticism was your egotistical mistake.
    You asked what I would do. My impression was, back then, that you were being honest. I stated directly that I wouldn't dumb my work down to someone else's limitations. It's hard enough for me to print adequately for myself !
    I don't have your philosophic expertise: when doing what I find best I am not doing it on the basis of abstract absolute qualities, despite your invention of that sort of idea for me.
    Taleb assiduously tries to avoid abstract absolutes. Pardon me for my limited education, but I think Plato was exactly the opposite.
    This is 2009: I think there's comparable weight to Plato, astrology, and Oprah Winfrey's latest diet... Having suffered through hours of Taleb, I am pretty sure about his understanding of Plato, whether or not he has your expertise in the matter.
    If I made a print for your friend I would NOT adjust for his bad lighting. I don't know why that bothers you.
    If I cared how he'd display it, I'd ask HIM to do the right thing. I'd respect him enough to assume his values (re lighting and photos) could be improved. You evidently have some sort of opposing position, but you've not attempted to state it clearly. If you had a positon you'd have expressed it in your own words.
    My mutable position has to do with my understanding of my limited capabilities, my emotional responses to these matters, and my own muddled, but minutely examed value system.
    If you have a relevant value system, please say in a sentence or two what you'd do in response to your friend's lighting. Step up to the plate.
     
  90. I'm outta here.
     
  91. Since physical print and screen are two different media, there cannot be one that should prevail on the other. I recently went to check out an exhibition of all Caravaggio's paintings done with digital in-scale reproductions of the original paintings. That show had a great success and would have been impossible to realize it with the original paintings, for obvious logistic reasons. Although the reproductions were done at the highest definition and in scale 1:1, looking at the original paintings (most of which I saw at museums many times) is still an experience unmatched by the digital media. As I said in the opening statement, they are different experiences and should not interfere with each other. If I want to look at a photo by W Evans, I want to see the original print, not a high resolution digital reproduction on a screen. If I want to see Michelangelo's paintings, I go to a museum. If I want to see the work of digital screen artists, I will look at works through screens. There is absolutely no reason why the digital media should replace the physical ones, they are different and should all coexist, giving artists the possibility to choose how to express themselves.
    As far as the essay, I agree with the fact that using a reflex or even a Leica makes it impossible to get really close without even getting noticed or spoiling the moment. I also agree with the need of capturing a genuine moment. Personally, I just don't see the need to get all that close to do that, period. Those photos don't make any sense to me, they are photos of people mostly ugly or with deformed facial features or poor devils at the bottom of our social pyramid but I see no presence of the photographer and no real intent of communication whatsoever. The capture of "weird" faces and desperate people is a very banal thing to do IMO, and the fact that you can get so close doesn't really make the experience any better.
     
  92. jtk

    jtk

    Yes: " ...poor devils at the bottom of our social pyramid ...no presence of the photographer and no real intent of communication whatsoever. The capture of "weird" faces and desperate people is a very banal thing to do IMO, and the fact that you can get so close doesn't really make the experience any better."
    In the past some of the best almost exclusively photographed subjects they had gotten to know ... Edward Weston and Bill Brandt, for example. That's exactly the kind of photographic closeness that moves me the most.
     
  93. Well said John, a shot of an unknown random guy in the street, unless he is part of a bigger scene, doesn't speak to me. Sometimes there are unique characters that are worth a shot, I admit it, but 90% of cases we see just poor people that unfortunately are everywhere, thanks to the monetary competitive system on which is based the western civilization... that's a different story. Knowing the person you are photographing, like the old guys used to do (and modern artists as well), it's the best way to establish a connection and show on the photograph both the personalities of the subject and the photographer. A street shot must portrait a scene, IMO, not a random subject disconnected from everything else.
     

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