What is Michael Reichmann's 'schtick'?

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by Max Power, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. Max Power

    Max Power Member

    Messages:
    598
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    Location:
    Aylmer, QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have been visiting Michael Reichmann's site for a while, and have picked up some useful information there, however, there is something nagging about his web-site...

    I have wanted to ask all of you a burning question for a while, but I don't want to start a flame-war...So I will ask it very 'delicately'; what is his 'schtick'? By that, I mean, I don't know the guy in person, but unless I'm totally missing the point, he seems to be a bit of a shill for the major players in the whole digital camera movement. There seems to be a sub-text in his writings which leads me to believe, perhaps erroneously, that he's not really fully 'independent'...

    I don't want to step on anyone's toes, but I'm curious as to what his motives might be...

    Anyone,

    Kent
     
  2. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

    Messages:
    2,767
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2002
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    To make money.
     
  3. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,311
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto-Onta
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    hi Kent

    I just saw his show at Picto here in toronto, I found it to be mediocre to say the least.
    I have been following this fellows web site for a few years, he does have a lot to offer but always starts listing his credentials (which are not that impressive) to prove that his product is the right one if challanged on what he says.
    I went into the colour correction area of his web site and was suprised to find he spoke in painting terms for colour correction. PS is based on photographic colour theory and I was thinking that any young person trying to colour correct using his methods would be misled and very confused.
    He is a very big proponent of inkjet and his website is formidable but looking at end product very mid level competent,IMO .
    On the digital side and ink jet printing I believe he has a lot to offer , I would not get bent out of shape over his schtick.
    I would think he is a big player in the Camera Club Crowd and wields a very big stick there.
     
  4. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

    Messages:
    829
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I check his site occasionally, but rarely find anything useful for my methods. I think it's a great site for the digital equipment junkies though.
     
  5. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

    Messages:
    1,325
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Location:
    Louisiana, U
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The only reason I ever visited his website was to read Mike Johnston's column. I lost interest otherwise.
     
  6. Frank Petronio

    Frank Petronio Inactive

    Messages:
    218
    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    Location:
    downwind fro
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Seems like a clunky website done by a rich guy who likes to play expert. His photography could be stronger but he works hard, and it takes money and cojones to talk your way into those ship-breaking yards in Sri Lanka. I wish I had his P25 Contax set up!
     
  7. Earl Dunbar

    Earl Dunbar Member

    Messages:
    559
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2004
    Location:
    Rochester, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Pretty much the same for me. He seems to be so in love with digital that image quality gets lost. Not that you can't do lovely images with digital, but the final image is the point, not the road you took to get there.

    Earl
     
  8. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,311
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto-Onta
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Hi Frank

    What I didn't like about the ship breaking yard images is , Burtynsky then before him Monk then before him Salgado. These three photographers covered this subject in different styles as I imagine others have. This fellow did not bring anything new to the table (basically copied Burtynsky's vision and nowhere near as impressive).
    When Russel Monk photographed at this location he had absolutely no problem getting into the ships top and bottom. His show was impressive and was not a photo stop on the way to the hotel.
    Amazing location and a very hard life for these workers.
     
  9. Frank Petronio

    Frank Petronio Inactive

    Messages:
    218
    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    Location:
    downwind fro
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I agree, and I'm sure we all would have made the most of the opportunity to photograph at such an incredible location, but I'd hate to second guess anyone's images from the Third World. Not getting robbed, puking your guts out or getting shot is an accomplishment in itself.

    I don't know how to judge his print quality from the website jpgs (which look fine) but given that you've seen his prints, what was bad about them? Compared to other large Epson prints? If it is your dislike of Espon inkjets versus tradtional materials that is understandable, or were his prints just bad in terms of being off in where he placed the tones?

    Of course, now that I think about it, he tends to show sunsets and backlite reflections, or simple centered tourist shots of native's caught unaware or of construction workers on steel work - sounds pretty awful in its own right!
     
  10. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,311
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto-Onta
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Hi Frank

    I think you touched on what I find objectionable. Amongst images of sunsets , pretty landscapes , there were these images of these yards. I think the taking of these images were to easy for him and just to be positioned this way with other pretty objects , just does not make any sense to me. He should work hard to get outstanding images like others before him and make it a complete show and then maybe I would find his work more interesting.
    Regarding his print quality, as I stated before I only knew of his work from his website. I got the impression that I was going to see a masters work, craftmanship at its loftiest level. What I viewed were two or three outstanding prints and the rest mediocre to good.
    I print inkjet as well as other end media and was suprised at the real print vs what the web site said I was to see in his work.
    Like any end photographic media one can produce work of outstanding quality and I must say this show I saw was not that.
    As far as Epsons go , they were good but not outstanding.
     
  11. Marco Buonocore

    Marco Buonocore Member

    Messages:
    347
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I felt much the same as Bob did upon seeing Reichman's work at Pikto. There's such a huge difference between a web based photograph and the actual goods hanging on the walls. I found the prints to be lacking in quality, and in some cases even poorly executed. One street portrait in particular was so badly dodged in the face area (which, judging by the light in the scene, was in deep shadow) that it almost looked drawn on. I'm no photoshop guru, or master printer for that matter, but it screamed out 'shoddy work'. I certainly wouldn't accept that on one of my prints, whether it was hanging in a gallery or not.

    The overall trend was: over-enlarged, too much noise reduction, and a subject matter that has been done in the past quite well. The camera club comparison is spot on.

    Ed Burtynsky's images on the same subject had me hypnotized last year at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I went back 3 times and dragged friends with me. I had a quick look at Reichman's stuff on my way to pick up prints of my own, and they hardly registered.

    I'm not trying to bash the guy... But it's something about the way the Luminous Landscape webpage beats it's chest and proclaims itself significant that rubs me the wrong way.

    To throw out a few well trodden expressions: "the proof is in the pudding" and "take it with a grain of salt". With these in mind, I've not visited LL since I saw those prints on the wall.
     
  12. cao

    cao Member

    Messages:
    188
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I thought the well trodden expression was "the proof of the pudding is in the eating." :sad:
     
  13. ndevlin

    ndevlin Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    As someone who actually knows (and likes) Michael, I felt this thread warranted a reply.

    1. Michael's "shtick", as far as I can determine, is that he's a guy who both loves photography and the tools of photography. Having reached a stage in his life (through talent and hard work) that he can pursue what he loves, he spends a great deal of time shooting, talking to people about shooting, playing with cameras, etc., simply because it pleases him. If only we could all be so lucky!

    2. Michael is not motivated by money, nor does he need whatever he makes from photo endeavours. That said, there is a certain genius in being able to go on terrific trips with interesting people to photograph in exotic places and make a few bucks doing it. Think about this: he sells out his workshops IN MINUTES at an average cost of $6-10K US. He could sell four or five times as many spaces, or sub-contract multiple trips, but does neither since this is a passion for him, not an industry.

    3. He doesn't make a dime from the camera manufacturers whose business he has either enhanced or damaged. From what I understand, he actually PAYS for his gear. He could take a LOT of freebies, but doesn't. Unlike the photomagazines that we have all stopped reading, he actually writes what he believes in his reviews. Whether you agree or not, at least he's honest and commercially unfettered.

    4. His visit to the ship-breaking yards was carefully pre-arranged through local contacts monts in advance -- there was no bluster-at-the-door. Moreover, b/c of horrific Bangladeshi traffic, he had about an hour of light before sunset in which to shoot. Burtynsky and Salgado were there MUCH longer than that. For what it's worth, I've been completely unmoved by Burtynsky's Chittagong pics, which I don;t think hold a candle to his Quarry photos -- again, a matter of taste.

    5. I agree that the Pikto show prints weren't his best. I had the pleasure of seeing his full set of 11x14 proofs, and there were, imho, many very strong images that didn't make the show -- all of much better print quality. But those are curatorial choices. For example, the Mangum exhibition currently on at Stephen Bulger's gallery is absolute crap --both in content and quality. That doesn't mean the photographers aren't "good", just that the show was week.

    As a final thought, perhaps what wrankles a lot of people is that Michael quite obviously doesn't give a **** what the chattering DPreview crowd think of him. His collected body of work is very strong and he spends his time doing things he enjoys with people he enjoys. It's a privileged position that more than a few would envy. Personally, I find it kind of inspiring. Each to their own.

    - N.
     
  14. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,311
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto-Onta
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Ndevlin

    I neither know him and am indifferent to him, I have went to his website and was turned off . There was a lot of pre press about this picto show and I thought it worth while to view the hype, IMO the show was lacking and the print quality was not there. To say he has better images in his portfolio is much like the fish I left in the lake.
    I think the reference to the Burtinsky, Monk, Salgado exhibits is not so much about the horrible traffic in Bangladesh or his one hour of light to get the images, but the fact of not sticking around and maybe documenting this area in M Reichmans style , rather than a quick point and shoot and move off approach.
    I am sure he is a great guy and I know a lot of people buy into the LL package, I am just not one who does.
     
  15. mark

    mark Member

    Messages:
    5,262
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    What's a DPreview crowd?
     
  16. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

    Messages:
    779
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Calgary
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  17. mark

    mark Member

    Messages:
    5,262
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    Oh. I don't care what they think either.
     
  18. Bill Mitchell

    Bill Mitchell Member

    Messages:
    527
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Such sour grapes.
     
  19. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

    Messages:
    4,532
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    You should know....
     
  20. mark

    mark Member

    Messages:
    5,262
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    I don't get it.

    errrr....(insert frustrated grumble here).
     
  21. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

    Messages:
    4,532
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I think the sour grapes comes from another one who is always pro digital in an all analog forum....I guess he can't stand it we dont want to talk about the digigizmos....
     
  22. mark

    mark Member

    Messages:
    5,262
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    Oh.
     
  23. ndevlin

    ndevlin Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Personally, I can't understand why anyone would be bothered in any way by Michael's site or any other than is geniunely interested in photography. I haven't shot a roll of film in longer than I like to admit, but I still enjoy this site because it keeps me in touch with a dimension of photography that interests me and provides the occasional bit of inspiration to try something new or different, or just to go and shoot.

    The luminous landscape offers much the same thing. There's content on it that not digital-related and the digital elements should be of general interest to even those who don't practice in that media but like to know where the art is going.

    It's far from "perfect," but it's a damn-site more interesting than my website (which doesn't exist), don't you think? Moreover, it's free, and you can leave anytime you like.
     
  24. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,846
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisc
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    "His collected body of work is very strong"

    Then why does he not post any of his "very strong" work on his site?
     
  25. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,289
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've been following MR's website too. He is very pro digital. Some of his equipment reviews were very condescending on those that shoot film.

    I find that a lot with digital photographers. Ironically, I shoot both, but much prefer film.

    Art.