Alternative Process Travelling Portfolio

Discussion in 'Member Organized Functions' started by Michael Mutmansky, Nov 26, 2003.

  1. Michael Mutmansky

    Michael Mutmansky Member

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    Several of the people on this group have discussed the possibility to put together an alternative process travelling portfolio to send around to the members that are interested.

    If anyone is interested in the possibility of this, let's talk about it publicly here, and maybe we can get one started. I've discussed this with Jorge, and they will set up a private room for us if this happens, so we can discuss the images and other items in a private forum.

    I am thinking that I would like to limit the portfolio to only alternative process images, and to North America to keep the arrangements simple for everyone.

    This portfolio would be an opportunity for everyone to participate, and I would like to see everyone that is active in this group in the portfolio. There are several reasons for this; it is difficult for someone to judge what another person is saying unless you have a little bit of context to the style of printing that the others do.

    I understand that some people sell their work, and I think it is possible to submit a print that has flaws or has been cancelled so there is no concern about the print being lost in the shuffle, and if it is lost, there is no inherent value to the image.

    The portfolio will be a great opportunity for beginners to have feedback from more experienced printers if they wish, and a good way to get tactile exposure with a variety of processes and see what particular printing methods and procedures can do. These benefits are much too subtle to see in any scanned image, and can really only be done by viewing the image in your hands.

    Is there any interest in such a portfolio?


    ---Michael
     
  2. Annie

    Annie Member

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    An Alternative Portfolio is a wonderful idea and I would certainly wish to participate.

    I think that it is possible that the idea of North America is being proposed for the advantage of expediency and not as an exclusionary device. I am not aware of all the logistics of the other portfolio however it has been almost a year since the other group was initiated and it has yet to make one circuit so that the discussion can begin.

    Let me know if there is anything I can do to assist with the project and please place me near the end of the circuit so I have time to work on my humble offering!

    Cheers Annie
     
  3. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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    I'd be interested. I understand Mike's logic however I'd hate to exclude anyone across the pond just over a couple bucks.

    In order to keep shipping $$ down we should probably restrict prints to no bigger than _______. And maybe have a shipping pool that some of us who don't have to pay much can chip into for the ones that pay out big..

    That's if it's we're talking 10 bucks or more. Personally anything less than that and the administration just isn't worth bothering about.

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The current Traveling Portfolio moves slowly, but that's okay by me. I think it's a worthwhile tradeoff for the opportunity to connect with a larger cross section of the active participants on the forum. When it gets back to New York, I'd like to organize a gathering so that participants and non-participants can meet and have a chance to look at it.

    As far as the shipping goes, there are a few people who have volunteered to handle the heavier shipping costs, and given how long it takes to go around, it's not such a burden. If you wanted to start a new portfolio for alt processes, you might just see who wants to participate, and if there are going to be participants who are in some remote part of the globe, relatively speaking, then at that point work on the logistics of how to do it, rather than restricting it up front. Other alternatives might be trading off on the bigger shipping bills, which seems to be happening with the existing Traveling Portfolio as well.
     
  5. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    Michael, I think it is a great idea, even though I probably would not participate at this date. If you want to organize it and seek participants with certain guidelines and parameters I see nothing wrong with that. This site is supposed to be about sharing of knowledge between photographers of any and all experience levels.

    I am trying to get more people involved in the blind print exchange that I started. Anyone can participate and there are no real restrictions except no digital prints. Beginners as well as those with years of experience are welcome. So consider that one a general purpose exchange.

    We also have the regular traveling portfolio, post card exchange and an exchange gallery.

    I think the more opportunities to share work with others the better. And if you want to get a group together with similar approaches or ideas that is great. Share the work. Nothing stimulates your thinking, and how you approach the medium like having someone else's work to look at and discuss.
     
  6. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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    Well,

    Here's my 2 non confrontational cents :wink:

    1) Let's figger out who is interested.
    2) Once we have the participants accounted for issues we're fretting over now might not even matter.

    If we do have a fairly even number of european and north american contributors we could set up two portfolios. Each could tour their respective sides of the Atlantic before crossing over... but I'm confusing the issue needlessly. :smile: The only thing that really matters right now is who wants to play.

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
  7. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    *off-topic*
    This thread has been quite controversial today. I'm re-adding it to the forum minus the disagreement posts from earlier. Those can be taken off-line.

    APUG is getting a bit large for a few moderators to handle so I think it's time to change our approach in moderation. Tonight I'll be installing a "Report This Post" function to the forum. This puts moderation back onto the members instead of a few individuals. If a thread escelates into anything negative members can report it and we'll have a look. If a thread escelates into something negative and no one reports it, then we leave it alone and assume everyone is happy to deal with it. Just how offending the post may be and the action taken can be determined by the amount of users reporting the post. I hope this will maintain a level of freedom to the forums with moderation driven by the 'voice of the people'. If anyone has concerns about this you can PM me. Thanks, Sean
     
  8. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    When we're ready to talk details, I am willing to participate in an alt process travelling portfolio.
     
  9. Michael Mutmansky

    Michael Mutmansky Member

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    Everyone,

    If it is possible to get together some people who are willing to burden a greater shipping cost, we can include overseas people in the group. That is a logistical pretzel that I think we could handle in the sequencing of the portfolio. I don't want to be responsible for collecting money or anything like that, and unless someone else wants to do this, I think that we have to leave it up to a few people willing to pay a greater shipping cost.

    I am, however, concerned about the time that is required for overseas shipping. Can someone speak up about the speed that the regular portfolio is travelling? I don't want people to have to wait for a year before the portfolio gets to them, because there are a number of people who may greatly benefit from the discourse that may come from an immediate review of other people's work.

    My thinking is that we can start by having everyone that wants to send an image to me, and I will put it together in a starting portfolio. Then, it can be sent around to the people in the list, starting with some of the people who have just begun, or are just starting out in an alternative process.

    People can also add an image when it gets to them if they wish, but for the first round, nobody should pull the image and replace it because everyone will have not seen them yet.

    This will allow us to get a few images into the hands of beginners right away, and then pass the images to everyone else as time passes.

    After the portfolio gets around the first time, then we can start pulling the images and replacing them with others.

    I could also scan and post the initial portfolio so that people can start questions and discussion as soon as the portfolio starts it's rounds, and everyone will be able to see the image on the monitor so that there will be a little bit of understanding of what is going, even before the portfolio has reached them.

    If you are interested in participating in this, please post to this discussion, so I can gauge the number of people involved. Also, it you are willing to ship overseas, please send me a PM stating that you are willing to do so.


    ---Michael
     
  10. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    Michael, the other portfolio took about 10 or so days to travel from Australia to the US. Surprisingly, postcards can take longer! I believe the postage time is the least of your worries for keeping it moving... How long each person hangs on to it and appreciates it can be more of a factor. I know I would have liked to hang on to it longer, and I had it fro nearly 2 weeks in the end.

    I'm not an alternative process worker (other than a few cynotypes which I've experimented with but have no real clue) so unless there's another Aussie APUGer going to voice their interest... you'll be safe from me :smile:
     
  11. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I think it took longer to go from Mexico to the US than it did to go from Australia to the US, so with that caveat I will be glad to particpate once you get it organized.
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    One of the longest transit times for the "regular" portfolio was the hop from Norway to Mexico.

    But I would still be interested in participating...
     
  13. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Just curious ... Where is the portfolio now?

    Let's not lose sight of the initial motivation for the portfolio: I think we all agreed that, in scanning and digitalizing our our work, many of the characteristic advantages of a chemical print were compromised. One inclusion of mine, especially, is a disaster when scanned (the nude wrapped in netting) and I only want that shown as the "original" print.

    I am really not interested in "critiquing". I might offer "technical" suggestions - when asked - but I cannot pass judgement on anyone else's *vision* - and WILL NOT!!

    We have a mechanical problem - snail mail is just that - *SNAIL* mail. Added to that are the vagaries of each individual involved - some are going to be "buried" with work, or ill, or just want to hold onto the portfolio and savor the work there for some extra time ... or, motivated by the content, re-print some of their work for inclusion... or, or ... ad infinitum..

    This portfolio is unique, and to me, well worth the wait - and then some. I don't think that there is any way more effective to experience the work here ... to SEE and feel the presence of the actual print. Even the *best* magazine reproductions, or glassed in and hanging in a gallery cannot come close.

    I for one am prepared to make the terrible sacrifice of *having to be patient* and wait for the portfolio to get here.
     
  14. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The original Traveling Portfolio has one more stop to make before it comes back to the first contributor. There are 20 participants and along the way one dropped out and one was added, and there was one sequence error resulting in shipping back and forth from New Zealand to the US to Australia and back to the US (or vice versa, I forget), instead of NZ-Australia-US, which added a few weeks to the travel time.

    I suspect that second time around it should go a little faster, since we'll be a little more accustomed to how it all works and the list will be sequenced a little better, and we have a couple of clusters around New York and the West coast that can all view the portfolio together and move it along a bit more quickly.
     
  15. Annie

    Annie Member

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    I think the idea of centralizing initial submissions is a good one. Scanned images would certainly be a beneficial reference tool for discussion. Michael, I believe that David incurred some costs in relation to the set-up of the other portfolio, when you have a total of your expenses please post so we can contribute our appropriate share. I am looking forward to seeing everyone's work!!
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Aside from the shipping expense, the only cost I incurred was that of the portfolio itself, and most of that was reimbursed by the participants. There were a few for whom it was simply impractical to send funds to the U.S., given the small amount per individual as compared with the minimum cost of the transaction, but a few volunteered to pay a little extra, and I made up the difference.

    The portfolio we used and which has held up and protected the prints quite well with repeated international shipping is the Tenba Port Ship 1114, which runs around $127 from B&H:

    http://www.tenba.com/camera/portfedex.htm

    The case is relatively lightweight, has a airbill window, and does not need to be boxed each time (though postal regulations require that it be locked--we use a combination lock and the combination is posted on the private portfolio address page), and has no loose straps that could snag during shipment. They also make a larger size, but remember that that will raise the shipping cost.

    I looked at various art shipping cases, and this design seemed most practical.
     
  17. Michael Mutmansky

    Michael Mutmansky Member

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    Ed,

    The purpose of scanning and posting is to provide people with a reference when someone says "What were you doing that produces this result? or How did you achieve this effect?" or some other specific reference.

    This will be especially helpful for the people that haven't seen the portfolio yet, because it will give them a little frame of reference until they have the portfolio in their hot little hands.

    If you don't want your submission critiqued, we will ask everyone to respect that request. If you don't want to critique other people's work, then you can simply look at the portfolio and pass it on to the next person, and keep mum about what you have seen.

    Let me say that the intent of this is not for me or anyone else to critique other people's work, but to exchange images and help everyone develop a greater sense and appreciation for the work of others and other alternative processes. If someone wishes to have other people provide constructive criticism, that is their option, but fundamentally, the portfolio will be about getting real alt photo prints into peoples's hands, not as a master/protegee interface session.

    Let me also say that I am specifically limiting this to alternative processes because there are many alt people out there who only print in alt processes, and if they do print in silver, it is more as an afterthought than anything else. This is not an issue of an exclusionary approach, but rather an issue of focus. The world of Alt photo is large enough to spend a lifetime exploring and never covering the same territory, and the hope is that the portfolio can keep the focus on these processes, and spur discussions and advancement for the alt photo practitioners at APUG.

    I plant to send out a request form to everyone who is interested, regarding the information that I would like to have included with the image. This will have process information (specifics, if desired), information about the photographer/printer, and information regarding whether the photographer would like feedback and other items involving interface issues. This info sheet will establish the framework that people can use to provide commentary and also help establish the frame of reference for the background and history of the photographer.

    I am interested in other ideas that people may have regarding the format and procedural issues, because I want this to be beneficial to everyone, and I want this to meet the needs of as many people as possible.

    What is the size limit for images in the original portfolio? I was thinking it should be 11x14 maximum paper size for practical reasons, and to help keep the cost of shipping down. Does this make sense? If you have a bigger image, it could be folded or cut to fit (I shoot 7x17, and I would probably fold one of the prints in half to get it into the portfolio.). Remember, we're not talking about a presentation portfolio, we're talking a learning portfolio. We can look through a fold or assemble a cut down print without problem, and still appreciate the intent and workmanship of the photographer/printer.


    ---Michael
     
  18. Michael Mutmansky

    Michael Mutmansky Member

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    David,

    Thank you for posting information on the original portfolio. I will look into these cases, and see what they look like.

    I was originally thinking of using one of the shipping boxes that light impressions makes, as an inexpensive way to send it around, but I suspect it may not hold up to the rigeurs of the travel.

    ---Michael
     
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I looked into the Light Impressions TransPort shipping cases, which are about the same price. The ones from LI were large enough to hold an 11x14" archival museum box, which seemed an attractive feature, but as I recall, the whole package would be heavier and there seemed to be more in the way of loose straps or buckles to get caught in transit. They sell inexpensive corrugated boxes as well, but I suspect these will need to be replaced every few trips.
     
  20. CraigK

    CraigK Member

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    I'm in.