Brooks Jensen's New Website

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by roteague, Aug 29, 2005.

  1. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I just wanted to point out Brooks Jensen's new website. He is an APUG member and has some really great work - all downloadable in pdf format. Check out: http://www.brooksjensenarts.com
     
  2. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    Roteague,
    Thanks for the link. Brooks has some beautiful images on his site.
     
  3. 25asa

    25asa Member

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  4. highpeak

    highpeak Member

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  5. mark

    mark Member

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    WHat is wrong with piment on paper? SOunds very legitamate to me. It is what it is.
     
  6. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I wish him all the best with his new medium.
    He has contributed his thoughts and knowledge to the photographic community and I'm sure that now he will offer the same benefit to the computerized digital imaging crowd.

    For me, it's back to photography.
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Makes it seem like the decision to dismantle the darkroom wasn't really about the availability of imagesetter negs after all. No surprise there, really.
     
  8. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I wonder if he actually compared the two? Ink jet prints can look good, by themselves, but usually fall apart when the two are compared side by side. For example, I recently had an image printed on both an Epson 4000 and Fuji Crystal Archive - even a blind man could see how much deeper and richer the colors are. Granted this was color, but I'm sure some of the B&W people here could tell you the same thing. For me, good enough is not the quality I strive for.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I get the impression from the article that he has made real comparisons and tested the Epson 4000 with familiar negs that had been printed in other media, silver and otherwise. I did get a sense from the article that there was a fair amount of the "gee-whiz" factor that one experiences the first time you see a pretty nice print come off the printer, not unlike the experience of seeing a print come up in the developer tray for the first time.
     
  10. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I never got a 'gee whizz' factor from a computer printer and very much doubt I ever will.
    Looks to me like all that guff* about not being able to carry on with the darkroom was exactly that, a load of hot air.


    *Guff - colloquial english, slang- fart.
     
  11. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I have seen quite a few direct comparisons of inkjet and silver B&W prints and IMHO there is absolutely no comparison, the silver print blows away the quadtone, or ultrachrome print. I agree with David , there is the a fascination in seeing a inkjet come out almost as good as a true silver print, but after direct comparing hundreds of prints from the same negatives done both ways the silver optical print always wins out.
    I do believe the reason for this is that scanning to inkjet is second generation and one loses something in the translation, no matter how good the scanner and operator is.
    To be fair , and I do not want to start any flame wars here, but if the original capture is from light phase and then printed through lambda,light jet or chromira. , the quality is much more accurate or close to a straight optical print from negative of the same subject matter.
     
  12. mark

    mark Member

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    It is too bad but don't beat the guy up. I agree though there is no comparison between the two. We all know that one image is best printed in a certain method. I have images that I think look great in POP but others that I would not even think about doing that way. It could have been the image did look better in that medium.

    I am surprised he said he was switching over entirely.
     
  13. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    I have to agree the ink prints just look flat compared to silver prints. I scan on an Imacon and have printed with eh Epson 7600 Ultrachrome ink set and when I compare the images side by side of the same negative with the same size print the silver analog wins hands down, more depth and richer blacks and whites.

    I have friends that even use drum scans and still say analog prints wins. That is why I went and built a darkroom and only use ink for commercial jobs. For fine art I am mainly only doing traditional now. There is just no comparison.
     
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  15. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I think one of the things that drives a lot of digital use is the ease of use (at least for some), many people seem willing to sacrifice quality for ease - perhaps they need more TV time, I don't know. AND, I'm not implying anything about Brooks or his motives, I'm just making a general observation.
     
  16. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Member

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    This is what surprises me too. I don't understand why people think that using digital methods means giving up film methods entirely. I got tired of explaining the advantages of film, and bought a DSLR for my clients who wanted digital. I still do most of my personal work with BW film and gelatin silver prints. I've been very impressed with digital, but that doesn't mean I've suddenly become unimpressed with traditional film methods. I will continue to study both, and someday hope to even start using pre-film processes. When I read about a dedicated film guy suddenly seeing the light, and going digital, I take that to mean convenience and profit have become the biggest priority.
     
  17. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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  18. lenswork

    lenswork Member

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    David,
    Not to knitpick, but I was precise in my descriptions. Maureen's print Suspended was clearly better from the inkjet -- many, many others were not even comparable with silver clearly the best medium. My experience and my eye are tellling me that there is no "magic bullet" medium that is best in every case. Some images are best in platinum and any other medium just doesn't do the image justice. Some are best in silver. Some are great in inkjet. We just published Robb Kendrick cowboy portraits in LensWork that are simply superb as tintypes and would not succeed nearly so well in other media. This, to me, is part of the great fun of being a photographer today -- we have so many different ways to show our creative vision! I think this is a big hoorah for photography and look forward to seeing how creative photographers choose to express themselves. Agreed?
    Brooks Jensen
    Editor, LensWork Publishing
    Written Monday August 29, 2005
     
  19. lenswork

    lenswork Member

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    David,
    I am not sure why there is such insistance that there is a hidden agenda or that there was any reason to discontinue our Special Editions other than what I stated. I can show you the piles of flawed negatives we had to discard that led directly to our decision to shut down the business aspect of the darkroom. As I said in my earlier post, I still have my negatives, my enlarger, and my personal work will likely include some gelatin silver for some time to come. It will also include digital prints. I am not opposed to any medium if it is the best medium for a particular creative vision. I cannot be any clearer than that. So can I ask at least for the benefit of the doubt?
    Brooks Jensen
    Editor, LensWork Publishing
    Written Monday August 29, 2005
     
  20. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Agreed, but let the prints sit for a few years, work in the medium for a while, and I'll be interested in your opinion then. There is a degree of novelty with trying any new process or getting a new machine, and I wonder if your impression is not influenced by that sense of novelty. I don't think you can answer that question right now, but you may be able to at some distance.

    Regarding the Special Editions, I still wonder why not just do traditional dupes with traditional negs instead of imagesetter negs and find a secure way to distinguish them from fine prints to avoid confusing the market, but we've been through that on photo.net.
     
  21. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    I think the benefit and doubt should be yours simply because this thread is out of place. You did not bring your images to an analog site for discussion. someone else did. How you choose to present your work is your choice.
    Your mag speaks for itself still my favorite monthly browse.
    On a personal note though, I'm sorry to see you give up the analog banner. Even if you can make the image more to your vision from a scan, The true achievement would be to go work the image in camera and film till the vision is realized. That type of perseverence would be a great tool of influence passed through the mag.
     
  22. lenswork

    lenswork Member

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    Kevin,
    To be frank, I have struggled with pricing issues for years and finally had an epiphony in 1997 when I was thinking about the original LensWork Special Editions concept. Perhaps I can best address this by quoting from an email exchange I had just today with a guy who asked me about this very issue. In my email to him I wrote:

    Every photographer needs to answer the question about pricing to their own satisfaction. My answer may not be valid for you or anyone else, but it is very valid for me. After thinking about this long and hard for my own work (over the course of 30 years), I realized it boils down to how one chooses to play the art game. For some, satisfaction comes from selling a few photographs for a high dollar amount; some prefer low prices and a wider audience. Some want the prestige of the established galleries and the accolades that come from academia and historians; some are better satisfied by the connection made with people who want photographs in their homes as a part of their everyday life. There is no right answer and all approaches can be valid.

    Having said that, my answer is simple: I want no barriers between my photographs and the people who are moved by them. I consider it a grave failure if my artwork is separated from an admirer because money prevents them from owning it. I consider it a grave failure if the relationship between my images and an audience is defined by the limited hours and access of a public institution (i.e., museum). I much prefer the intimacy that comes from someone owning and living with one of my photographs through the change of seasons, the changing of moods, the changes of life itself. I have always felt that the highest purpose of art is to enrich someone's life. This is best done over time, slowly, deeply. My artwork satisfies me when it resides in people's hands, people's homes, people's lives.

    It is from that premise that my definitions of fine art photography spring. I am not interested in gallery representation where prices are so high that 98% of the public can't buy there. I price my work so everyone can buy a photograph. I am not interested in large prints that require museum walls or boardroom walls to display them. I print in intimate sizes. I am not motivated by the opinions of academia, historians, art critiques, the art world, or the photographic art establishment. Whatever they believe and value is fine with me, but it is non sequitur to my purpose and objectives. If the larger art world were to find my work collectible and sellable, I would consider that a lucky coincidence. However, I cherish the emails and notes I receive from folks you'll never here of who tell me that one of my photographs has reminded them of a loved one, comforted them in a difficult time, made them laugh or smile.

    My observation is that most of the art establishment strives to goals that are the opposite of mine; they work to elevate prices as high as possible; they feel rewarded when art can only be collected by the elite or wealthy in society; success is defined by the number of museums and corporate collections you are in; often even the production of photographs is considered more virtuous when they are so difficult as to be limited by cumbersome technologies. I have never understood why food, music, clothing, literature, poetry, and so much of the finer things in life are best when distributed widely, but artwork is supposedly better when it is restricted to collectors and well-funded institutions. So much of art today is driven by investment principles. Don't get me wrong, I am all for money and making as much of it as possible. I am not anti-business. On the contrary, I am convinced that a few good business principles could help the art world tremendously, but that is a topic for another day.

    As you can imagine, such attitudes keep me away from the New York gallery scene, away from the AIPAD-type shows, away from the game that is required if you want to become an icon of the art world. Which is just fine by me. It leaves me more time for photographing and being out there, with a camera, where I want to be, making photographs and seeing the world.

    Does this answer the question about my $20 price?
    And by the way, I must admit that I was very influenced by the success we had with pricing in the LensWork Special Editions program where we sold over 17,000 prints with an average price of less than $40. Do you realize how many 17,000 gelatin silver prints are? There is, of course, no way to know for sure, but I would be willing to bet that this puts LensWork in a very small group of folks who have sold that many gelatin silver prints in all of photography's history -- an accomplishment of which I am quite proud.
    Brooks Jensen
    Editor, LensWork Publishing
    Written Monday August 29, 2005
     
  23. Daniel Lawton

    Daniel Lawton Member

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    Just like any other story there are three sides. Brooks Jensen's reasoning, the ardent Apuggers theory and the truth. I'm sure the whole image setter thing factored into the decision to shut down the Lenswork darkroom. I'd also bet money that Brooks and Lenswork see us (traditional film users) as a dying monetary force and instead seek approval from the new and increasingly powerful monetary force of digital users. Obviously no one should expect someone at Lenswork to say this but in essence that is what is happening. It may not be as in your face as Pop Photo but in its own subtle way Lenswork is slowly adapting the same philosophy. When your profession revolves around selling books, magazines and photographic prints on the "latest and greatest" medium everything is geared towards the mainstream. I am honestly happy that Brooks has found a new photographic Mecca in terms of inkjet prints but if I really cared I'd go pick up the latest photo rag in Barnes and Noble.
     
  24. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Whew... I am glad I am not the only one who noticed this. In the past I thought of Lenswork magazine and their forum as a sort of neutral ground, where the emphasis was on the art of photography. IMO this is no longer the case, more and more the editor extols the virtues of digital over any other medium. This in itself is not bad, it is his opinion and his magazine. But I no longer wish to visit a site or subscribe to a magazine where I am deceived into thinking it is the art what matters when it is clearly not.
     
  25. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    Brooks, I read your piece last year in Lenswork about the pricing issue and the gallery game. I was very moved by it and appreciate your point of view greatly. There are other issues that play into this, however. You have achieved a certain level of prominence through the magazine and will be able to get customers very effectively that way. Most of us who strive to sell photographs need to find a way to get our images to the market and do not have the benefit of the economies of scale that you have. Without a meaningful way to promote our work, we will either be subsidizing our sales or charging a higher price to be able to make any kind of money selling photos.

    I do hope that we will be able to do something as a community of photographers (and here I mean like minded folks, including APUG members and others) that can help to create a market that will allow folks to be able to sell the numbers of prints necessary to make your type of pricing structure work.

    Paul.
     
  26. lenswork

    lenswork Member

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    Daniel,
    Again, what do I have to say to convince you guys that there is no -- absolutely no -- hidden agenda? LensWork is an open book, so to speak. LensWork is, will be, and always has been about images and the creative process. We do not advocate any technology. We do not reject any technology. We don't even discuss technology -- as readers well know. Most times we don't even know what camera is used when we select work for the magazine. We don't know until we prepare the photographer's bio prior to publication. (Exceptions like Kendrick's tintypes do exist, but they are very, very rare.) Your statement about "selling books" etc. and "the latest and greatest" is absolutely non sequitur to LensWork. Burke & James is just as welcome on our pages as Epson. Hell, we don't even take outside advertising! How could we care about what sells or doesn't sell in the wide world of photography when we don't run ads?

    My personal interest has always been about creativity and the creative process. My endeavors -- be it the magazine, the Extended, my books, or our prints -- are about creative images and personal expression. It's about the thrill of looking at a Minor White print and having the hair on your arm tingle. It's about seeing something in front of your camera and then having the same thrill when you look at your print. It's about connecting, through images, to an audience.

    As to the "dying monetary force" -- to the contrary, our audience at LensWork has always been people who are the most passionate about photography. (I assume it's obvious that LensWork has little appeal to folks who just make family snapshots?) I've bet my livelihood on the gamble that there are people who are as passionate about photography as I am and as far as I can tell the members of APUG are among the most committed, most passionate photographers around. It is for such committed and passionate people that LensWork exists. If I thought you were a disappearing audience, why would I continue to publish the magazine? Just the opposite, I think your passions are infectious and forums like APUG do more to promote the health of photography than almost anything -- even magazines. The direct, daily, grassroots connections that are possible in a forum like APUG are so much more conducive to photography's health than the occasional, annual workshops I grew up with it's not even a contest. I am optimistic as all get out.

    One other point: We don't "seek approval" from any group defined by a technology, but we do hope that our common interest in images and creativity define a community of people who share an outlook about photography that is supportive and mutually so. Lots of us use different equipment -- large format, medium format, 35mm, platinum, cyanotype, silver, and, yes, even digital. LensWork is not about our differences but rather about our common challenge of using our chosen tools to make a creative, expressive, and personal statement with our art. We share something that is not shared with writers, painters, sculptors and other artists -- we work with the world as it appears to our eyes and as it is revealed to us and our cameras by light. We make images in a way that no other art does. It is that aesthetic that separates photography from the other arts and binds us together as photographers. It's what we have in common that fascinates me.

    I know that passions run high about all this stuff, but I know even more assuredly that what we all share -- difficult as it is to define -- is more important than the equipment we use.

    More than my 2-cents worth, and thanks for allowing me to say it.

    Brooks Jensen
    Editor, LensWork Publishing
    Written Monday August 29, 2005