The Fine Print as Window or Art Object.

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by MurrayMinchin, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    This will be somewhat confused I'm sure, as I've recently started wrestling with how I want my finished prints to look, so nothing is clear in my head concerning this stuff...

    You could say I've followed the west coast (U.S.) style in that I use large format, and selenium tone my fibre based gelatin silver prints which are then drymounted onto and overmatted with white board in brushed aluminum frames. Matted and framed, my images are like windows through which viewers experience my way of seeing the world.

    Lately, I've been trying to visualize my finished prints as objects of art unto themselves. I want them to be looked at, rather than looked through.

    Anybody else wrestle with this one? How did your work change?

    Murray
     
  2. vet173

    vet173 Member

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    Think of them as opaque. I know it's not a good answer but that's all my dumb a$$ could think of at the moment.
     
  3. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    I think it's a matter of who's looking at your prints as much as it is the prints themselves. It's also a matter of what you've presented: a record of what you've seen or an interpretation of the same. But I confess to not really understanding what you mean by "looked at rather than looked through".
     
  4. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    I understood it in this way [Murray correct me if I'm wrong]:

    'looked through' - the viewer looks at the objects portrayed on the photograph, so his mind dwells with what's on the photo's rather than the photo itself .
    'looked at' - the viewer looks at the photo as an object in itself in terms of composition, color, grain, exposure, balance, etc. - what's portrayed is of less importance or comes in second place

    looking through the photo in the first sense seems to be the more intuitive one (which gets comments from viewers like 'oh what a cute doggy!').
    Looking at the photo takes a little more effort, training and awareness on the side of the viewer (which might get you comments like: I think this works better if you crop those branches out in the left upper corner as it will give more balance to the whole.)

    Both aspects are important IMHO but I can see what Murray is struggling with. If I were in his place, I'd decide for each subject what the appropriate mode of presentation would be to achieve the effect I'm looking for, and I wouldn't shun unorthodox ways of doing so. But then, Hey, I'm a freagging artist so that's what I'm supposed to be doing anyway, isn't it?

    Norm
     
  5. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Maybe I should have waited until tomorrow and tried starting this thread after some "sober second thought"...naw...I have the day off work tomorrow and the holiday booze has to be finished sometime, right? :wink:

    I'll try again. My prints (for me) don't really exist as objects of art unto themselves. Behind plexi-glass and over matted they seem not to exist, but become like windows. They are things whose surface represents scenes from nature as I felt them to be. They are B&W, clean, crisp, full depth of field, sometimes heavily dodged, burned or masked expressions of my way of seeing. I'm now making the best prints in my life, yet there's something not quite right...

    Maybe having them behind plexi-glass and on a wall disconnects me from them. Maybe having them selenium toned on gelatin silver paper doesn't work for my images in the environment I photograph in...what worked for Ansel at over 10,000' in the dry Sierra's doesn't seem to apply to my images near sea level on BC's north coast, where it's so moist there are ferns growing in the moss on the branches of the trees.

    I'm toying with the idea of lightly sepia and normally selenium toned images (5x7 images on 8x10 paper, 8x10 on 11x114, etc.) where the border of the paper is masked to remain white after sepia toning, and they get dry mounted (or starch pasted?) back to back with another sheet of the same paper the image is printed on. This would then be mounted by photo corners and overmatted as usual...or...it could be incorporated in some sort of book or portfolio presentation where they can be held in your hands.

    What to do when the best you've ever done isn't what you feel?

    Murray
     
  6. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Thank the Great Yellow Father, because you haven't ossified yet.
     
  7. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Hi bjorke...(*hic*)...clarification please :smile:

    Murray
     
  8. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    D'oh...never mind...the dictionary seemed too far away but I eventually managed to gather enough strength and dragged my butt over to it.

    Ossify (ossified, ossifying) turns into bone; stops developing or progressing.

    Cool word - just how big is your word quiver anyway? Still though, what's Kodak (The Great Yellow Traitor) got to do with it? :wink:

    Murray
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    murray

    maybe you should experiment a little bit and make small folios or books that contain your prints. nothing grand (at first), maybe some stuff printed on 5x7 paper with a border so you can stitch them together and make a cover.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0830634835/102-2451463-2282548

    this is a pretty good book for teaching easy book-leaflet-folio &C design.
    it doesn't take a huge amount of skill, and not a whole lot of specialized equipment.

    then ... if you get to like some of your work presented this way, you can make really big books. i've made bunches of them around 11x14(ish) and have the paper and materials to make them bigger ...

    and if you don't want your prints permanently-bound there are ways to make post-bindings, so you can remove and exchange what is between the covers.

    good luck!

    -john
     
  10. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Thanks John, you've given me something to chew on :smile: (really like your coffee series by the way!)

    Murray

    (added later) I just searched the galleries and those photographs taken for a coffee shop are gone...they were yours, right?
     
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  11. severian

    severian Member

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    Desk top publishing photos

    Hey Murray,
    I think that John has a great idea for you. Make books. One of a kind artist books are a genre that you might examine. How about desk top publishing your photos into books?
    It's a crisis for every artist when the image in their mind does not match the image that they have produced. Have you ever made a photo that is 100%?
    I would estimate that 99.9% percent of my work never sees a frame or a wall. They live in empty paper boxes. I've never really made any photos for any reason other than I enjoy making them. Let others see your work in whatever context they choose. Enjoy the trip because you will never really get to the destination. That is a positive statement.
    Jack
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    thanks for the compliments about the coffee series murray!

    sorry, i tend to put'em up, and after a week or 2 i take'm down :sad:

    oh, about bookbinding books:
    you might want to check out keith smith's series. if you wanna get fancy, he has all sorts of stitches &C in these books of his ...
    http://www.keithsmithbooks.com/

    careful though -- book-making is a lot of fun and kind of addicting.

    ian greant, here on apug, makes hand stitched books too -
    absolutely beautiful ones!

    take care

    john
     
  13. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    And taken in a positive way :smile:

    My quest to making fine prints has been a long one. It's a little disconcerting to have finally arrived only to find it's the wrong place. After being focused on a goal for so long I'm a tad lost, not knowing for sure which way to go next. It wouldn't be the same if it was easy :smile: !!!!!

    Murray
     
  14. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Murray, it sounds like your thought the whole time you were a strictly visual person only to realize that maybe you are a tactile as well. Studies have been done on different types of people and some are predominately visual, some tactile, some auditory etc. Most people are a combination of some sort.

    You must feel that when framed, your finished pictures have the subconscious look of a window, which you feel is separating your audience from your work. What you really want is a more up close tactile representation. Books sound like one way to achieve it. Portfolio cases that the mounted prints are incased in, is another.

    I once had the opportunity to buy some Hurrell prints and they came in a portfolio case with a classy slide top that housed about 10 prints about 11x14. It was definitely a "personal" type of presentaion.

    Try experimenting with different tactile presentations and see what satisfies you.


    Michael
     
  15. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    BINGO!

    The nearest photography gallery is 1000 miles down the road, so I'm flying on my own without the chance to see how other photographers have approached this. I'll just have to play with the options until the answer slaps me in the face!

    Murray