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Author Topic: An Embarrassment of Riches  (Read 12642 times)

BJL

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2012, 11:08:51 AM »

Where "exhibition" is taken to mean no less than 40-50 inches wide?
Given that many greats, including Saint Ansel, exhibited mostly at 20"x16" and smaller, and that I still see a preponderance of size like 14"x11" to 20"x16" in exhibitions of recent work, I am skeptical about this new-fangled equating of "exhibition print" with "monster sized prints mostly for viewing from many feet away while chatting and sipping on chardonnay".
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2012, 12:36:24 PM »

Given that many greats, including Saint Ansel, exhibited mostly at 20"x16" and smaller, and that I still see a preponderance of size like 14"x11" to 20"x16" in exhibitions of recent work, I am skeptical about this new-fangled equating of "exhibition print" with "monster sized prints mostly for viewing from many feet away while chatting and sipping on chardonnay".
+999!

20"x16" is plenty big enough. I don't want no f-------- billboards in my house!
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Robert Roaldi

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2012, 12:40:59 PM »

There seems to be lots of people around with tons more wall space than I have.
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Isaac

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2012, 12:56:09 PM »

Big Country, big cars, big wimin?
Strange not to mention the obvious - big homes, with big blank walls.

Apologies - Robert Roaldi already did mention the obvious.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 01:40:04 PM by Isaac »
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Morris Taub

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2012, 01:22:30 PM »

Given that many greats, including Saint Ansel, exhibited mostly at 20"x16" and smaller, and that I still see a preponderance of size like 14"x11" to 20"x16" in exhibitions of recent work, I am skeptical about this new-fangled equating of "exhibition print" with "monster sized prints mostly for viewing from many feet away while chatting and sipping on chardonnay".

I went to Paris a year or so ago to see a retrospective of Michael Kenna's work...just a wonderful show at the BNF, I went twice...none of his prints were any larger than 12" in width or height, most smaller...incredible landscape and cityscape prints, and seeing the prints themselves, a real treat...
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Morris Taub

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2012, 01:38:50 PM »

Yes, Kenna was one of the photographers I was referring to. Masterly.

Whatever happened to intimacy?

Never mind the quality feel the width.


Exact,...i loved getting up close to look at his photos...that intimacy is wonderful, size nearly irrelevant...i felt the same way about Paul Klee's work...small wonderful paintings you get up close and personal with...

it's why my own photographic work, the prints, are small...my d700 more than enough, though an upgrade will eventually come...I have done some test prints that hover around 24 inches max, but it's for kicks...most are no more than 12" wide or high...
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Rob C

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2012, 02:21:06 PM »

1. The pooch pix in the link: the best I’ve seen in a helluva long time if not ever; they have a huge sense of fun and not a jot of silly quasi-human portraiture applied to them. Love ‘em. So it takes time, lots of shots and a touch of Dame Fortune – tried shooting women in rolling surf?

2. Large prints. I can only do A3+ max. which is 13”x19” and quite small, all things considered. So clearly, I do have a current preference for something that fits within the available (to me) format and leaves a reasonable white border.

But the thing is, for whom are the prints intended? If for my personal consumption, then large enough, all things considered, because I haven’t the space for anything much more grand; if for anyone else, then I would think that the galleries have it right: they’re selling an impression, a statement, which may, or may not also be termed art. There is also the concept of value for money, rapport prix/qualité as the French would have it, when thinking of eating out somewhere. Bigger often equates with better, as arguments within LuLa itself regularly demonstrate, so why deny the outer world its own take on this format/price/value notion? Obviously, had I a larger printer and a market for my smudges, then I’m fairy sure that I, too, would advocate larger prints at higher prices!

Indeed, some great snapper don’t print large; some are dead and contact prints are all that exist of the right marketing provenance. Some simply never printed anything at all for a market beyond the fashion mags and so their old work lingering in locked/forgotten Vogue or Harper’s office drawers will never be any larger than originally required for reproduction.

There’s a final (that I can think of at the moment) point: some images simply look better smaller than large and, clearly, I believe vice versa holds as true.

Rob C

Colorado David

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2012, 03:02:28 PM »

Rob, I'd far rather sell one small print to ten buyers than one large print to one.

Hope the eyes are OK.

Best

Keith

Just playing devil's advocate here.  Don't shoot the messenger.  What if the choice were to sell one large print to a client or sit on ten unsold smaller prints?  The client may not always be right, but they're the ones who write the checks.

BJL

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #28 on: May 02, 2012, 03:15:58 PM »

Why, ten years on, are Canon and Nikon selling cameras that can't autofocus worth beans in liveview mode?  Why do so many of their cameras have fixed LCDs?  Why can't you use the viewfinders to shoot video, if video is "so important" to their plans? ...
It's not like Leica and TLR users haven't been saying FOR YEARS and even DECADES how liberating and useful it is to use a camera for social photography that isn't grafted to your face and eyeball like a fracking Borg appendage.  You know, THEY'RE RIGHT!!!
Fair enough: the D800 represent a mere quantitative change, which however might take 36x24mm past a tipping point in comparisons to some large format options, and so might be the start of a substantial qualitative change in gear choices and in the viability of certain larger format options ... but a thoroughly professional quality Live View EVF/LCD viewfinder system could be a bigger qualitative change in how high end photography is done.

And I do find it amusing that the curmudgeons have over years shifted from
"It is better to compose with two-eyed viewing top down on a (frosted glass) screen while being able to keep both eyes on the subject, (as with an TLR or old-style MF body) than to have to compose squinting through one eye, with the camera held less stably and less comfortably in front of your face, or having to crouch down behind a tripod."
to
"Composing on a small (LCD) screen far from your face is utterly embarrassing, unstable and snap-shoty, far inferior to holding the camera securely braced against your face while looking through the VF".

Trivia: the 4:3 image on the frosted glass screen of a 645 or 6x6 MF camera is 2.8" on the diagonal, so a bit smaller that the "tiny, useless" image on the LCDs of most recent cameras, and less accurate for preview of DOF, brightness, contrast and such. How did anyone compose well with such junk?!
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 03:29:57 PM by BJL »
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mtomalty

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #29 on: May 02, 2012, 03:24:37 PM »


Last month, I spent the better part of a day going through the annual AIPAD show (www.aipad.com)
to research  how I might approach moving towards a photo 'art' business and  to get a bit of an insight
into what  the gallery side of the business might expect from a newcomer.

Personal tastes aside, I definitely left with the impression that comtemporary work is being
selected,or at least shown, with more frequency at sizes greater than 16 x 20 than at sizes smaller.
Of course,all sizes were represented,especially with vintage prints from established old school
stalwarts  but newer work was more often than not in the range of 24x36 and up-often
significantly up. That said, there were equally as many 'softish' large prints as there were  super
detailed ,crisp large prints.
All worked well as long as the content was compelling (again,personal taste)  and,at the end of the
day, ultimate resolution played far less a role in the process than I went in expecting.

Gallery owners or curators might be more interested in larger vs. smaller, though, as it might be a
better return on their labor investment  selling one editioned 60x90 print for $7500 than it would be
trying to sell  a number of smaller prints with lower price points to achieve the same financial
return for a gallery.

Mark
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #30 on: May 02, 2012, 03:36:27 PM »

I'm so delighted to learn from this thread that I'm not the only one who appreciates small, intimate prints!
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John Camp

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #31 on: May 02, 2012, 03:48:23 PM »

Given that many greats, including Saint Ansel, exhibited mostly at 20"x16" and smaller, and that I still see a preponderance of size like 14"x11" to 20"x16" in exhibitions of recent work, I am skeptical about this new-fangled equating of "exhibition print" with "monster sized prints mostly for viewing from many feet away while chatting and sipping on chardonnay".

I once wrote an article for The Online Photographer about print sizes. I suggested that many photographic prints are too small for the commercial market. To look at the problem, I went back and looked at the sizes of seventy-odd paintings, all masterpieces, in a standard art text. I did this because some types of artists -- photographers, print-makers, fresco painters, miniaturists (obviously) and others are constrained in size either by the mechanics of their art form (photographers, printers) or by the demands of the consumer (frescos are made for walls, and are heavy, and thus are most often wall-sized. Miniatures are usually a form of jewelry, and are made to be worn, and so have to be light.) Painters don't have those kinds of constraints, and can choose essentially any size. What I found, and what you will find if you look at an art book, is that painters very, very rarely choose to paint as small as photographers print. They *can* paint small, but they usually don't, and there are lots of reasons for that. Now, don't tell me that there are biases in the data, that photos and paintings are looked at differently, or that you paint small, or you know some guy who does -- I know that. But the fact remains that the overwhelming number of paintings are larger than most photographic prints. (Painting sizes are all over the place, but generally, the "favorite" size, if you are forced to pick one, you be around 1,000 square inches, which would be a 25x40 square in painting.) Also, look at printed posters: they're large -- often larger than the photographic "fine art" prints from which they are made.

Until recently, the reason for small photographic prints was clear -- common negative sizes simply didn't hold up in larger prints. You had to go to very large format cameras, and very large format enlargers, to do that, and those were appropriate for only limited kinds of photography. That's no longer so true. Size is now opening up, and I think that larger photographs will become the standard. Because of the way printers work, I suspect that 13x19 all probably become the standard "small" print, at least for a while.

If you're interested: http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2011/03/image-size.html
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Rob C

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #32 on: May 02, 2012, 04:36:20 PM »

Rob, I'd far rather sell one small print to ten buyers than one large print to one.

Hope the eyes are OK.

Best

Keith



Hi Keith

I’d be perfectly happy to sell one print to anyone! Apart from commercially-motivated print stuff on assignment, I’ve sold very very little other than some stuff to a U.S. (I remembered, Eric!) client which wasn’t even on digital, which tells its own story regarding time-lines!

With respect to the peepers: they did three different tests; I’ve been prescribed some drops and await further contact from them regarding more tests. I hope for the best… I met an old jazz musician from Wales today whilst having lunch and told him the eye-hospital story along with the comment that a blind snapper wasn’t going to be of a great deal of use; his warm encouragement was that no, I’d be about as much use as a deaf jazz musician. Felt so much better with that. Set me thinking about dumb singers, and concluded that it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, regarding some singers. There’s a tunnel at the end of every light.

;-)

Rob C




David Mantripp

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #33 on: May 02, 2012, 04:43:22 PM »

I guess like just about everybody I'm interested in the D800, and I've tried one.  I'm sure it lets you make very big, sharp prints, but I don't think it's for me.  I just didn't much like the feel. The big sticking point for me is just what Matthew Cromer said in an earlier post: Live View is just crippled without a tilting screen. So I'm going to stick with my (not actually discontinued yet, Matthew) Olympus E-5, despite a sensor which most here wouldn't even bother to sneer it, because of it's fabulous usability as a photographic tool which, now & then, gets me shots that a Nikon D800 probably wouldn't.  

However, a D900 with the E-5's screen, that might tempt me :-)

(oh, and add me to the "sometimes big is TOO big" faction, too)
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Dave Millier

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #34 on: May 02, 2012, 05:22:18 PM »

Michael Kenna (a favourite) prints everything 8 x 7 1/2" inches.

David Fokos (great name for a photographer) who does a similar style prints everything huge  http://www.davidfokos.net/installation4.htm

1. The pooch pix in the link: the best I’ve seen in a helluva long time if not ever; they have a huge sense of fun and not a jot of silly quasi-human portraiture applied to them. Love ‘em. So it takes time, lots of shots and a touch of Dame Fortune – tried shooting women in rolling surf?

2. Large prints. I can only do A3+ max. which is 13”x19” and quite small, all things considered. So clearly, I do have a current preference for something that fits within the available (to me) format and leaves a reasonable white border.

But the thing is, for whom are the prints intended? If for my personal consumption, then large enough, all things considered, because I haven’t the space for anything much more grand; if for anyone else, then I would think that the galleries have it right: they’re selling an impression, a statement, which may, or may not also be termed art. There is also the concept of value for money, rapport prix/qualité as the French would have it, when thinking of eating out somewhere. Bigger often equates with better, as arguments within LuLa itself regularly demonstrate, so why deny the outer world its own take on this format/price/value notion? Obviously, had I a larger printer and a market for my smudges, then I’m fairy sure that I, too, would advocate larger prints at higher prices!

Indeed, some great snapper don’t print large; some are dead and contact prints are all that exist of the right marketing provenance. Some simply never printed anything at all for a market beyond the fashion mags and so their old work lingering in locked/forgotten Vogue or Harper’s office drawers will never be any larger than originally required for reproduction.

There’s a final (that I can think of at the moment) point: some images simply look better smaller than large and, clearly, I believe vice versa holds as true.

Rob C

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ndevlin

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #35 on: May 02, 2012, 05:29:34 PM »

Mark says that the the D800/800e is "a game changer", but I have to disagree. .. Useful, yes, desirable, yes but to call it a game changer smacks of overworked hyperbole.

Wile Mark is prone to over worked hyperbole, as opposed to mere hyperbole  ;),  I have to come to his defense on the 'game changer' issue.  It is in the same league as the original 1Ds in its potential for impact on the industry.

Photographically, it delivers IQ performance which leaves very little reason to purchase medium format, while simultaneously performing at gob-smacking ISOs, all with dead-on autofocus.

Economically, it obviates the high-end crop-dslrs as 'pro-sumer' cameras. Most people with the money for serious glass and a serious interest in photography will find little appeal in a $1500-1800 APS-C camera when a D800 can be had for $3K.

It's not fan-boy talk to say this camera will likely be looked-back on as a real milestone in the digital camera industry.

- N.
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #36 on: May 02, 2012, 05:47:16 PM »

Regarding print size and comparison to paintings, it is worth noting that the great Dutch master Vermeer painted on small canvases as opposed to really big.  I have an Ansel Adams Yosemite special edition print (Merced River in Autumn) that is 8x10 and it's magnificent. 
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BJL

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Paint brushes are low res., so most paintings need to be bigger
« Reply #37 on: May 02, 2012, 06:33:44 PM »

John,
There is one very obvious difference between making a painting and making a photographic print: the resolution given by paint brushes and by the manual dexterity of most painters is garbage by photographic standards. It is clearly easier for a painter to work with brush and line widths of several mm or more (miniaturists are a special case, requiring far more difficult technique).

To be generous, most painters naturally operate at the equivalent of 1mm or greater line width, and with that, the detail of even a very modest 2MP, 1600x1200 image requires 1600x1200mm, or about 64x38 inches. I leave it to others to work out how large a canvas would need to be in order to render the detail of a D800 image in oils!


But in case I was misunderstood: there are perfectly good cases for making some big prints suitable for viewing from half-way across a room, just as there long has been for bigger than average paintings.  My complaint was with the idea that jumbo size is a _necessary_ condition for a gallery-worthy print, or that this is or should now be the norm for sufficiently "worthy" prints.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 06:36:54 PM by BJL »
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BJL

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Economically, it obviates the high-end crop-dslrs as 'pro-sumer' cameras. Most people with the money for serious glass and a serious interest in photography will find little appeal in a $1500-1800 APS-C camera when a D800 can be had for $3K.
I do not see that at all, so long as the smaller formats continue to offer higher sensor resolution in lp/mm (smaller pixels) and thus genuinely allow the use of less long telephoto focal lengths and thus smaller, lighter lenses ... along with the saving of say $1500, or the equal-cost alternative of having several more lenses, or carrying two bodies and so having two lenses ready for immediate use.

Also, for anyone interested in using high frame rates in action photography, there are many better and far less expensive options than the D800; it is a great camera, but not a universal tool by any means.

It is interesting though to see the same fact (the D800) used by some to predict a move away from larger formats and by others to predict a move away from smaller formats! An "inkblot test" of peoples' format preferences, perhaps?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 06:53:08 PM by BJL »
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Morris Taub

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #39 on: May 02, 2012, 07:20:20 PM »

I do not see that at all, so long as the smaller formats continue to offer higher sensor resolution in lp/mm (smaller pixels) and thus genuinely allow the use of less long telephoto focal lengths and thus smaller, lighter lenses ... along with the saving of say $1500, or the equal-cost alternative of having several more lenses, or carrying two bodies and so having two lenses ready for immediate use.

Also, for anyone interested in using high frame rates in action photography, there are many better and far less expensive options than the D800; it is a great camera, but not a universal tool by any means.

It is interesting though to see the same fact (the D800) used by some to predict a move away from larger formats and by others to predict a move away from smaller formats! An "inkblot test" of peoples' format preferences, perhaps?

personally, I'm looking at the d800/e like i did my d700 camera when i bought it...as a great all 'rounder body, though the d800 has obvious improvements...but of course there's better solutions for certain things like sports and action,...just like i'm guessing some would never give up their large format cameras or M9's...i guess that's what bjl just said...

again, personally, it's a tool, and small pocket cams, m4/3's, etc. have their place if they fulfill your needs...I can see having an olympus em5 as a take everywhere cam or maybe fuji's xpro1 with a couple of lenses, plus nikons d800 for what it can do...use what i need when i need it to get the job done...

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