Yeah they are Photoshopped (maybe not collaged, but definitely Photoshopped). Yeah he has a lot of the artsy-fartsy speak, no more so than the MFA's that are spewing out of Ivy league schools every year with their huge egos and no track record. I think the images are interesting, definitely more so than the people who copy him like Nick Brandt for example. Say what you want about it, they are impressive. He had the will to do it and he succeeded.
I think he has a right to maintain some veil of secrecy about how he does what he does. If he laid it all out, some schmuck would come along and do it for less, probably not as good, but few people understand that.
Sanders, why are you basing on the guy because of his "mumbo-jumbo"? What exactly do you mean?
Calling an inkjet print an "encaustic process,"
Originally Posted by patrickjames
to insinuate a handmade print, for starters.
I ranted about Colbert over on the Large Format
forum years ago -- I won't repeat it here. But
the New York Times review of Ashes & Snow
sums up my feelings about his work pretty well
-- I appreciate that it is a minority view and that
Colbert evokes my Inner Curmudgeon:
And for what it's worth, Nick Brandt was well into
his project long before anybody had ever heard
of Gregory Colbert. And Nick's shooting MF film.
Originally Posted by Rolleiflexible
Whoa! Narcissistic and a crazy ego.. That'll do it. Sounds like he has a God complex as well. Someone feels inadequate..... I wasn't really diggin' on him, but now I am in the "couldn't care less" category. Neither am I a fan of Brandt, but mostly because his images are not real. I would rather just watch Animal Planet. I personally don't like anything that has been too messed with, or too much of a cliché.
Well, now, there's the kicker: I used to correspond with
Originally Posted by patrickjames
Nick awhile back, well before he published On This Earth.
And you know what? Nick's images are real - real in the
sense that he actually took them with his camera, and
what is on the page is for the most part what you find
in his negatives. A lot of the vignetting and crazy focal
planes you see in his images have to do with the way
Nick manipulated the lenses on his Hasselblad, but he
did it all in the camera, on the negative.
I find Nick Brandt's work to be worthy of respect. Nick's
work is his own, and it is personal, and he pursued it
without grants from Rolex. I wish I had bought some of
his prints when I could still afford them.
Guys, I don't care if you personally dislike or even hate Gregory's work and personality, that's up to you...
But... DID he or DIDN'T he use a giant Polaroid camera to produce at least part of the images we see??? Does anybody know if he ever had the original Polaroid transfers on display in an exhibition or has anybody even seen those?
Because for example, this Washington Post article does clearly make reference to Gregory owning the camera and having it operated / used by a skilled technician:
Now I know newspapers write bullshit too, and I am unfamiliar with the "status" of The Washington Post in the United States (maybe it's one huge gossip column newspaper), but it at least makes me wonder who is right here: Is it all photoshopped, or did he indeed use the Polaroid (transfer) process to achieve (part of) the look of the images?
If for the sake of it we do assume he used that Polaroid camera, than the most likely process would have been to use his film footage to select some stills that would do well as a "photograph", project these on a wall like a slide, and than photograph these using the giant Polaroid camera... Which would bust Gregories claim that he actually "photographed" his scenes and not used film stills... (although with a weird twist of his own mind, he might still claim it, since he "photographed" the projected still...).
Looking at some of the images, it seems highly unlikely to me that he first would film it using a movie camera, and than "grab" his 35 mm camera to replicate a similar shot on still film... And if you look at some of the footage in these YouTube films, you can clearly see he made the same movie film footage as in the photographs... But who knows, you'd have to make exact matches to find out...
By the way, nice Polaroid link here:
Also look at the Jennifer Traush site (especially click on the left black curving line, that gives access to a number of nice BW Polaroid images):
who on that blog site says to have worked with Gregory.
Last edited by Marco B; 11-25-2009 at 08:48 AM. Click to view previous post history.
"The nineteenth century began by believing that what was reasonable was true, and it wound up by believing that what it saw a photograph of, was true.
" - William M. Ivins Jr.
"I don't know, maybe we should disinvent color, and we could just shoot Black & White.
" - David Burnett in 1978
"Analog is chemistry + physics, digital is physics + math, which ones did you like most?
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I believe I remember an article about Colbert's work where he was quoted as saying that he used a 35mm and a proprietary alchemy process to get his prints so large (I specifically remember him saying that his process was chemical, not digital). I can't remember the magazine, but I recall the article because I was interested in getting 35mm that size.
Well.... I think it is an amazing & stunning collection of images. Over the top for sure, but awesome. I did a bit of internet sleuthing and came across this blog
Down in the comments John Reuter indicates that they are indeed Polaroid Transfers. Now he seems to be in a position to know as he worked for Polaroid and was director of their 20x24 camera studio.
Here is a link to his website http://www.johnreuter.com/New%20Page...Biography.html
In reading through various places on his site it seems he is intimately familiar large Polaroid transfers. It is also true that Colbert did indeed own the giant Polaroid camera. But it seems all that giant film was cut down to 22" strips back a few years ago. Sounds like Colbert was using Hasselblad for at least some of the images.
So my vote is that the original art was indeed Polaroid Transfers.
Originally Posted by Barry S
It's product. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Oh, and his printing process is certainly digital. Not that there's anything wrong with that either. But this use of fuzzy jargon and a cloak of mysteriousness to disguise what is a pedestrian process, well, that seems to me a fancy version of a shell game. Others more kindly disposed might call it mere marketing. It's matched by the overblown puffery and hype that he promulgates about his work, which in my mind puts it over the top. Whatever. I'm sure he and his backers are doing well and his customers can afford it.
And of course, if one likes the work, then one likes the work, and that's certainly everyone's right. He's certainly very canny about presentation and design. I respect that about him.
As for the Polaroid question, I can't see why it really matters. The original would be very far from the final product. And explication would undercut the mysteriousness that he has adapted about his process.
The big Polaroid was cool: you'd stand there and tell the 'operator' what you wanted, and he/she would make the magic happen. And that's fine by me, it's like making a movie. It's like going to Elevator, or another great lab, and working with the master printer to manifest your vision. 'Big art' is teamwork, and it is right to praise the 'artist' for the vision, but it is a stretch to call them photographers. Not a value judgement, just trying to be accurate.
Colbert makes cool multimedia visual images. I'm sitting here and looking at an PH Emerson platinum. I'm happy to pull this out and look at it once in a while. I don't think I'd want to hang a Colbert in my little house. Impressive though. the Emerson is different.
Last edited by df cardwell; 11-25-2009 at 07:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.