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Author Topic: Long Road Down The Making of a Fine Art Photogra  (Read 43978 times)

HiltonP

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Long Road Down The Making of a Fine Art Photogra
« Reply #40 on: July 28, 2006, 10:51:51 AM »

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Hilton, in this world, if there are customers prepared to fork-over 35K for such a photograph, then it is worth 35K, because the market has so declared it. It is no different than valuing a house - it is worth the price the transaction achieved. That is the objective reality in a market economy. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=71996\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

MarkDS . . . yes I know, and yes I agree, but it still freaks my mind!    

This is why I have been enjoying Alain Briot's articles so much, particularly the 2nd from last one. It served to highlight for me how different art forms can be perceived in different parts of the world. Where I live photographic "art" is still young and largely unrecognised as "art". If someone wants to purchase a framed piece it will be a painting, not a photograph. Art galleries are stocked with 95% paintings, and possibly only 5% photographic work. That environment might well change over time (probably will) as values and tastes change along with the shift in generations (i.e. what my parents thought of as art is not what I see as art, etc).
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Regards, HILTON

Blind Photographer

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Long Road Down The Making of a Fine Art Photogra
« Reply #41 on: July 28, 2006, 10:56:02 AM »

I apologize if I was being a bit too harsh in my wording.

I still think criticism of other photographers' work when unasked for is very much unneeded though.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2006, 11:21:31 AM by Blind Photographer »
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Mark D Segal

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Long Road Down The Making of a Fine Art Photogra
« Reply #42 on: July 28, 2006, 11:15:58 AM »

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I actually found the article to be an interesting read. It was informative to see how a photograph could be "worked on" methodically and systematically until a goal was achieved.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=71997\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

To be quite frank, there are many thousands of photographers who work on images methodically and systematically until a goal is achieved, so this article contributes little that is new if that were the basic purpose. If the purpose were to show that one can make a good photograph by rescuing it from aesthetic problems it starts out with, we know that too. If the purpose were to inform us about how a vision was committed to paper in this particular instance, the article has a yawning gap because the heart of the "how to" is proprietary. This has nothing to do with "sour grapes" - it is an objective set of issues about (1) what the purpose of the article may be and (2) from there - whether this purpose is successfully achieved under conditions of confidentiality.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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macgyver

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Long Road Down The Making of a Fine Art Photogra
« Reply #43 on: July 28, 2006, 12:09:08 PM »

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I apologize if I was being a bit too harsh in my wording.

I still think criticism of other photographers' work when unasked for is very much unneeded though.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72002\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I don't nessicerily disagree with that, I do tend to think that art is almomst totally subjective. However it's not always that case in the rest of the world.   One must learn that what they do will be seen by others and valued.  I know not everyone likes me work.  In fact, some of my favorite photographs that I have taken seem to be the least cared for when others view my porfolio.  And vice-versa.

When a musician puts out a piece of music (regardless of whether its a master pianist or a prepubecsent gargageband wanna be) they need to be ready to accept that not everyone likes what they do.
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HiltonP

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Long Road Down The Making of a Fine Art Photogra
« Reply #44 on: July 28, 2006, 12:19:25 PM »

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To be quite frank, there are many thousands of photographers who work on images methodically and systematically until a goal is achieved, so this article contributes little that is new if that were the basic purpose. If the purpose were to show that one can make a good photograph by rescuing it from aesthetic problems it starts out with, we know that too. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72005\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes, but here was one who was essentially writing down his thoughts as he was working . . . both in words, and in photographs, as the work progressed. It gave me insight into his thought processes, whether I agreed with them or not.
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alainbriot

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Long Road Down The Making of a Fine Art Photogra
« Reply #45 on: July 28, 2006, 12:35:38 PM »

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What REALLY staggers me is the asking price of $35 000 for such a creation. Where I come from $35k will buy you a brand new luxury motor car (BMW, Audi, Volvo or Merc), or a small suburban apartment, or over a dozen round-the-world airline tickets! To pay that kind of money for a blown up photo just boggles my mind . . .
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=71991\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

In the US most luxury cars at priced higher than 35k. I would say 35k is on the low end of the scale for "luxury motor cars".  More like the entry price so to speak.

Since we are talking diigital photography, comparing this pricing to high end digital cameras is more to the point. In that case, 35 k is not enough to get you a Hasselblad H2 with P45 back & lenses for example, or a comparable high end system such as a Linhof digital system.  For that amount you'll get the back and a lens, maybe, but not the camera.

So therefore, if we were to price the work comparatively to high-end digital camera equipment, the price of this piece would be more like 50k to 65k.  As it is, its on the low end.  A "bargain" so to speak ;-)  As it turns out this is also much more in tune with realistic prices for luxury cars, although still on the low end.

Regardless, in the world of art, 35k is not a very high price. Granted, it is more than most people charge for photographs, but when compared to paintings, which I think is what Pete's pricing model is, it is a price that's quite normal for that size in the Santa Fe market, with many pieces priced much higher.  We need to keep the context in mind, which is the whole basis for pricing in any market.

So the best way to approach this pricing is by comparing it to paintings, in the same size and creation time (1 week).  You will then see that this is quite standard and that many paintings are priced much higher.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2006, 12:52:38 PM by alainbriot »
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Alain Briot
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dealy663

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Long Road Down The Making of a Fine Art Photogra
« Reply #46 on: July 28, 2006, 01:52:20 PM »

Did any of you happen to look at his site and check out the fine details of his images? Maybe this is the result of the special "math process" that he speaks of. On his site http://www.petemyers.com/introductionfile/introduction.html if you select the 5th image you'll see a small web sized version of a photo, then on the 6th image you'll see a small crop of the specific details of the image.

It does have an unusual look to it, but not what one would expect when viewing a photograph up close. I've seen similar results from other scaling programs (one of which uses s-splines (I think)). I'm guessing that this is how he is printing so large from 35mm negs. If he's making that kind of money on his prints then he must be doing something right.

Derek

luong

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Long Road Down The Making of a Fine Art Photogra
« Reply #47 on: July 28, 2006, 02:47:21 PM »

There are two proprietary techniques that are refered to in the article. The first one is some kind of local contrast enhancement. There are many known techniques to produce a similar result. Photoshop's Highlight/Shadow and DxO Lighting both use them.

The second one is the rendering technique that creates a somewhat unphotographic effect. Because the resulting piece does no longer look like a photograph, it is possible to price it like a painting.
That technique  appears to be what makes author's art stand apart from others by giving his work its "style". If someone has one special process that *is* his style, I do not expect him to disclose it (although the author has already disclosed enough in the article to undermine his own artist's statement).

Regarding the peripheral up/down pricing discussion, the only difference I can see is the following. In both cases, you have a function (a formula that needs not be strictly proportional to surface)  to derive the price of a piece from a piece of another size. When you price up, you choose the price of the smallest piece, apply the function, and do not really care what the largest piece ends up at. When you price down, you choose the price of the largest piece, apply the function, and do not really care what the smallest ends up at. If someone sees another difference, I'd be interested to learn.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2006, 05:33:25 PM by luong »
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John Camp

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« Reply #48 on: July 28, 2006, 03:59:48 PM »

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Regardless, in the world of art, 35k is not a very high price. Granted, it is more than most people charge for photographs, but when compared to paintings, which I think is what Pete's pricing model is, it is a price that's quite normal for that size in the Santa Fe market, with many pieces priced much higher.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72009\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

May be true, but the last time I saw a decent Ansel Adams Moonrise print at auction, it went for $25,000. Much of that was caused by Adams' mass production of the image (I think he made around a thousand of them), which tells you something about the scarcity factor.

One of Bresson's key images recently sold for $15,000; again, he didn't try to create artificial scarcity, so it's hard to tell how many are out there.

JC
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alainbriot

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Long Road Down The Making of a Fine Art Photogra
« Reply #49 on: July 28, 2006, 05:17:08 PM »

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May be true, but the last time I saw a decent Ansel Adams Moonrise print at auction, it went for $25,000. Much of that was caused by Adams' mass production of the image (I think he made around a thousand of them), which tells you something about the scarcity factor.
One of Bresson's key images recently sold for $15,000; again, he didn't try to create artificial scarcity, so it's hard to tell how many are out there.
JC
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72024\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

John,  

Very good point.  I collect photography myself, and so far my most expensive piece, an Edward Weston,  was purchased at a price comparable to the prices you mention.  This points to a problem in pricing photography by a living photographer in a range that exceeds the prices for the work of photographers that are no longer with us.  Personally, I have reflected on this issue a long time ago, and have decided against it.  But, as I always say, it is a free country and everyone is free to do as they please.  I would never impose my approach on anyone.
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Alain Briot
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Blind Photographer

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« Reply #50 on: July 28, 2006, 09:39:29 PM »

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I don't nessicerily disagree with that, I do tend to think that art is almomst totally subjective. However it's not always that case in the rest of the world.  One must learn that what they do will be seen by others and valued. I know not everyone likes me work. In fact, some of my favorite photographs that I have taken seem to be the least cared for when others view my porfolio. And vice-versa.

When a musician puts out a piece of music (regardless of whether its a master pianist or a prepubecsent gargageband wanna be) they need to be ready to accept that not everyone likes what they do.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72007\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I totally understand what you are saying, and yes the public has the right to judge whatever an artist puts out.  But for example if you run into a group of musicians putting down other musicians' work, doesn't that strike anyone here in an odd way?
« Last Edit: July 28, 2006, 09:40:11 PM by Blind Photographer »
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jliechty

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« Reply #51 on: July 28, 2006, 11:27:55 PM »

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I totally understand what you are saying, and yes the public has the right to judge whatever an artist puts out.  But for example if you run into a group of musicians putting down other musicians' work, doesn't that strike anyone here in an odd way?
It's interesting how your example of musicians would work in one way but not in reverse. We would laugh if some popular musician (e.g. Britney Spears, etc.) said that someone like Zoltan Kocsis, Krystian Zimerman, or Vladimir Horowitz (a few classical pianists for example) had no talent, but would we disagree if the latter said the same about the former?
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pobrien3

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Long Road Down The Making of a Fine Art Photogra
« Reply #52 on: July 29, 2006, 02:36:45 AM »

Pete Myers is not alone in not wanting to divulge the particular set of steps he takes to make the final image.  It's what makes his images unique, and takes him a very long time to do - the original photograph is just where he takes his raw materials from.  Mark Tucker is another great artist who applies his own particular post production techniques to achieve his hallmark look, and I'd strongly recommend a look at the work of Brian Beaney.  Outstandingly beautiful work.  Brian charges 50 quid a piece, Pete gets US$35k for his biggest prints.  Can you compare the two? Which is better value?

I well recall in my MBA days, after weeks of studying how to value companies and being promised the ultimate fail-safe method at the end, we were finally told that no matter what method you use to value a company the true worth is what someone's prepared to pay for it.  That's the only true measure of economic worth, and it applies to houses, cars, whatever.  Pete's prints are worth $35k if that's what's being paid for them, and if he keeps his prices up by not being entirely photo-realistic and wants to keep that formula safe, then that's his right.  I hope you sell hundreds of them Pete, I wish I could!

Peter
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Anon E. Mouse

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Long Road Down The Making of a Fine Art Photogra
« Reply #53 on: July 29, 2006, 03:52:30 AM »

It is funny. Ansel Adams taught people the Zone System and no one was able to replace him nor did that devalue his work. Is the work's value from the process or the intrinsic nature of the image?

Another difference between Adams and the author is Adams was not under a illusion that he had actually done anything than apply aready know science and technique. The Zone System is simply applied sensitometry as Adams would tell others. Folls would also pester Eliot Porter for his "secrets." He would tell them simply to use the instructions that came with Kodak's materials. That was he did.

There seems to be a great need to mythologize the photographic process. The latest in this trend is "propriety" processing methods. I think this comes from two areas. First, the person does not really understand imaging and thinks they are doing something new rather than applying known factors. The second is it makes good marketing to say you have a "magic" process that no one else has. This mythologization has a negative affect as it confuses beginner and places the emphasis of aquiring "secret" knowledge rather than simply learning how imaging works and learn to control the process. The need of the amateur to believe that there are "secrets" is fairly natural as all arts require a lot of experience and knowledge; they think the "secret" gives them a short cut. The folks who visited Porter did not want to believe him when he said it is simply a matter of controlling a process that Kodak had set down.

I think if your want insight into the mind of some of 20th century's greatest photographers, I would recommend looking for an out-of-print book called A Dialog with Photography. The "secret" of photography is that it comes from the person, not the process.
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j-land

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« Reply #54 on: July 29, 2006, 03:59:54 AM »

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Mark Tucker is another great artist who applies his own particular post production techniques to achieve his hallmark look

Mark Tucker is not calling himself "one of the most gifted Master Fine Arts Photographers of our time"

Maybe because... Mark Tucker's work speaks for itself?  
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pobrien3

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« Reply #55 on: July 29, 2006, 04:36:50 AM »

  I tend to ignore the self-promoting text on this sort of site and would personally take issue with Pete's assertion, but that's only my opinion!  I love Mark's work, and I'm a great admirer of Pete's too.  Do have a look at the surreal work of Brian Beaney - fabulous!
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alainbriot

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« Reply #56 on: July 29, 2006, 06:13:24 AM »

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...The need of the amateur to believe that there are "secrets" is fairly natural as all arts require a lot of experience and knowledge; they think the "secret" gives them a short cut.

.... The "secret" of photography is that it comes from the person, not the process.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=72045\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I totally agree.  This has been my experience (I was a beginner in... the beginning!) and it now informs my approach in regards to teaching and sharing my knowledge.
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Alain Briot
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Lisa Nikodym

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« Reply #57 on: July 29, 2006, 10:39:26 AM »

Um, maybe this is a stupid question (since noone else has asked it yet), but can someone explain exactly what is "special" about the image after the proprietary step?  I'm sure there must be something in the final big print to make him take the time and effort to do it, but in the little image accompanying the article, for the life of me I can't see what interesting thing that step has done.

Lisa

Mark D Segal

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Long Road Down The Making of a Fine Art Photogra
« Reply #58 on: July 29, 2006, 11:15:44 AM »

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Um, maybe this is a stupid question (since noone else has asked it yet), but can someone explain exactly what is "special" about the image after the proprietary step?  I'm sure there must be something in the final big print to make him take the time and effort to do it, but in the little image accompanying the article, for the life of me I can't see what interesting thing that step has done.

Lisa
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Lisa, the question isn't stupid, but needs more precision, because there are a number of ill-explained steps in that article - even though it is an article about MAKING a fine art image - so it isn't clear exactly which stage of the proprietary process you are referring to. In general terms though, as you go from start to finish he's salvaged what many would dismiss as blown highlights and dramatically improved dynamic range and local contrast while maintaining very good detail.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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pobrien3

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Long Road Down The Making of a Fine Art Photogra
« Reply #59 on: July 29, 2006, 11:50:01 AM »

Lisa, I don't get this from the article either, but I'm a little familiar with Pete's work and so I presumed he was referring the somewhat 'pointillised' effect he creates, only really apparent when you look at the detail.  The wee image at the end of the article doesn't really show this to good effect, but you can see it better on his website at http://www.petemyers.com/introductionfile/introduction.html .

Perhaps Pete presumed the reader was more familiar with his style, or more likely perhaps that wasn't the point of the article.  I think he was making the point about working the image until you achieve an end result rather than a discussion of his particular technique.  His style is very much about what's achieved in post production, and to borrow his phrase it's in the making of an image, not the taking of one.

Peter
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