Wasn't there a time when museums were actually purchasing multiple copies of color images, showing one and freezing the others for the future? It seems I remember this connected to the Chicago museum.
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
As for the Wall print, more power to him and all who make their living off their art. This thread reminds me of a funny letter to the editor in the Detroit News in the early 1980's. My friend Tom Halsted purchased on behalf of The Detroit Institute of Arts one of the few prints of Charles Sheeler's "Wheels". At the time it was a record price paid for a photograph... $69,000. People in Detroit were quite divided, many thinking he had wasted good money. One person wrote something to the effect of, "Why not just have the Detroit News photographer take a picture of it? It would be a lot cheaper!" Now it is thought of as one of the most prized works the museum owns and is undoubtedly worth millions. - Really stunning too!
Yes, I appreciate what you are saying. But, Wilhelm has made these estimates based upon his guidelines, and I am not sure how much color fade that he is using as a reference. I have also heard that some groups (Kokak?????) had suggested their papers would last 100??? or more years. Obviously the testing is all done differently under a different set of guidelines- there is no standard as far as I know. Yes as I understand it, light, and in particular UV light is most destructive. But the questions of temperture and relative humidity will also contribute.
Obviously keeping photos out of UV and particularly long periods of sunlight (particularly direct and to a lesser extent indirect/reflected) will lessen the shortening of the lifespan. Also, flourescent light as I understand it also has a fair amount of UV and contribute to shortening the life of the image. Using a UV protective glass (usually absorbing or filtering 97% UV) or acrylic (usually absorbing up to 98% UV) will lessen the color fade and contribute to lengthening the life of the image. TruVue recommends (for their UV or Museum Glass [which is UV protective]), to minimize damage of artwork (including photos) to avoid exposure to direct sunlight, fluorescent light, high heat, or high humidity.
Good Point Bill
I am now in the middle of creating some backlight cibachromes for the ROM in Toronto. If all goes well the images are being floated into real glass , a process I am not familiar with. The images I produce will be sent to Europe to do this glass technique.
The back lights will be illuminated with a complicated series of LED's which as suggested is not as aggressive as front light would be..
As well extra images will be produced to go into dark storage as you suggest.
Regarding Wilhelms reporting of the life span of cibachromes of 29 years, I believe you can go to Ilfords headquarters in Europe and see framed cibachromes dating back to the Late 50's or Early 60's. One of my technicians was sent to the factory for training and told me of them. I have never been to Europe to see for myself.
I would not be suprised that Jeff Wall has put a few images away for dark storage. I was not kidding in my initial post about his purchases of material that is way beyond what our lab would even consider or hope to produce in one year.
Good for Jeff , I hope he keeps on selling more images at this rate.
Originally Posted by billschwab
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Originally Posted by Sean
Well, I finally saw the $1,000,000 photograph.
I wouldn't say it's bad, but I wouldn't say it's terrific either.
Having never seen backlit Cibachromes before, I can only go on Duratrans which I have processed quite extensively, albeit many years ago. I did pull out a couple of Duratrans when I got home to compare, quite interesting.
Firstly from a technical point, it is very well done, with one major exception (later).
The colour balance, is absolutely spot on. Density, is also spot on. Centre to edge fall-off, I couldn't detect any.
Basically, pretty much perfect, except for one thing.
There is a vertical black line, which is a join mark, running right through the centre. This line is approximately 2.5mm thick, would you believe.
Nothing I saw in the original newspaper article and picture, or on the web, seems to show this glaring black line.
Apart from the black line it's pretty well executed. As for a piece of art, well I'm not so sure, perhaps I will need some time to have more reflection.
It's displayed really well and you can view it from 20 metres away. The thoughtfully placed viewing seat is positioned about 6 metres in front, which is perfect for viewing.
What is quite interesting, is that it has been placed alongside one of Andy Warhols self portraits, done a year before his death. Portrait number 8 of 9, I think. Warhols portrait is a fair bit larger than this piece, it doesn't dominate it, but if his self portrait was backlit, it would leave it for dead, I think.
That's my 2 bob's worth, anyone living in Melbourne should have a look, it's free and it's the most expensive photograph in the world!
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"Basically, pretty much perfect, except for one thing.
There is a vertical black line, which is a join mark, running right through the centre. This line is approximately 2.5mm thick, would you believe."
i should preface this by saying i have had the pleasure of meeting jeff and talking to him extensively about his work. he is truly one of the most intelligent artists i have met and equally friendly.
without going into TOO much about the theory behind his work...
for Jeff, this line represents the material limits of representation and mimicry. the line obviously comes from when he began making these large prints and being limited by the size of the rolls of material he could acquire. instead of attempting to hide the seam he chose to slightly exaggerate it understanding the subtle materiality of the medium he chooses to work with - something which interestingly enough not many people (photographers included) consider; the materiality of photography. by now, he could certainly have film manufactured in a wide enough format to accomodate his needs, but he chooses to continue to work with it. he sees this seam as a crucial formal element that retains the idea that representation in general is very much in fact "material" and any attempt at representation is inherently limited by its medium. it is this mimicry which makes his work more akin to a painting than anything else. in fact, and this may be hard for some here to grasp, he is more interested and owes more to a specific history of painting much much more so than any history of photography. in fact, any attempt to discuss the history of photography with him turns right back into a discussion of the history of painting (both for him are one and the same -- a history of representation) and the limits of the respective mediums. for Wall, in viewing his "photographs," one must be open to the idea that viewing his work is like viewing a painting - and any critique of the work MUST take this (and its histories) into account.
perhaps Wall is not that well known of a figure in the photographic community and perhaps what i have mentioned above has a lot to do with it. but rest assured, he has been somewhat of an "art superstar" for some time now hiring the best set production crews from hollywood, amassing an impressive studio of assistants and technicians, and having one hell of a facility with one multi-level brownstone gutted and dedicated entirely to sets and another building with a production lab one could only dream of having access to. his work has been receiving quite healthy sums for some time now so this new acquisition is nothing really out of the ordinary. he is one of the most respected contemporary artists in the pedagogical community and is certainly one of the most important artists of the late twentieth century.
in the end, what i find interesting about this whole discussion is the massive divide between the "photography" community and the photograph-as-medium art world -- and the intolerance therein.
"the age of nature is past; it has finally exhausted the patience of all sensitive minds by the loathsome monotony of its landscapes and skies." naturaimmemorial.com
no, no... it's not ansel adams, is it? not a robert doisneau poster. no - so it must be garbage...! This sort of reminds me of Hitler's arguments against what, at that time, was called 'modern art'. This is one of those times I find it embarrassing to even be on here. Sorry. I like you guys generally... but, sorry.
Addendum: also - if you understood how much planning, effort, thinking and WORK goes into a SINGLE image, it'd make your head spin... and, just maybe, you might look at it differently. It's like looking at a Malevich painting and saying "my four year old could do that"... well, actually - no he couldn't. Understanding roughly how a picture is made is not the same as understanding.
Last edited by Sparky; 03-24-2007 at 12:20 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Johnathan, I am with you a little bit, but in the end a photograph like this selling to a museum for this price is really mostly about the ego. The ego of the museum and the ego of the photographer and/or his reps. I understand your perspective as a commercial photographer on the amount of work that goes into a single image, but in the end you have to ask yourself what is it really. Is it really something new, interesting, worthwhile? I don't balk at the price paid, I just think that it glorifies an artificial work that doesn't provide much in the way of expression except to say "look at me and how big and impressive I am!" In the end I think it is a manipulation of the system. Imagine yourself looking at this image in 100 years, Are you going to give a sh*t? I would hasard a guess and say no.
Patrick. I don't think it's ANYTHING like that. At all. That's like saying - Britney Spears created an artificial niche for herself to manipulate the pop music market just to feed her ego. What a piece sells for is generally a reflection of it's 'status' within the dialectic (excuse the five dollar word please!) of the art world. It's part of a very important narrative of what's going on right now, part of the zeitgeist, if you will. The art 'market' is normally a reflection of the importance of a piece of work WITHIN the dialectic or narrative... just as, let's say, Andy Warhol was a very important fixture within that narrative in the 60s (and you can just hear the throngs of people screaming out "a lithograph of a bunch of SOUP CANS, for chrissakes!!!! worthless CRAP!!!"). Jeff didn't make the rules here. Nor did I. It's just the way things work.
I'm only a commercial photographer on the side. What goes into my work is NOTHING. It's got nothing to do what Jeff does. That's not commercial work. I just take snapshots compared to that work. The guy spends probably MORE than $50K making each photo (studio rental, full time staff, rentals, make up artists, models, etc etc etc...) and in some cases, close to a year (and sometimes more) - on a SINGLE image. That's what I was talking about. But it's effort well spent for him, isn't it. If he's going to make good money. I doubt that he saw ANY of that $1M though. Wasn't it sold at auction?? That means it was someone else's property. Not his. Works that sell at auction or for private sale RARELY go through the artist.
Johnathan I agree largely with what you are saying and will leave it at that. The tragedy that you touch upon is that artists benefit very little from their work as you mentioned. I really find this abhorrent in general. How much did he make from his original work? Maybe a few thousand. He does benefit in the end though because of the prestige. What will his next work sell for? A lot more than this one. I think we can both agree that the whole scene is pretty twisted in the end.