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  1. #21
    patrickjames's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Multi Format
    I respect what both Colbert and Brandt do even though the images aren't necessarily for me. I hope I haven't come across as overly negative. I admire their collective success and hopefully it will continue. I hope that ends that tiresome thing.

    To answer the original question-

    I haven't looked at all of the links provided above, but it appears to me based on my experience with these things that the images are captured with the elements as they are on 35mm film, perhaps some with a movie camera, and extraneous elements are Photoshopped out later. Some may be also done in camera if a camera that handles a Polaroid of that size actually exists, which it appears it does. Obviously the underwater shots were not done in the Polaroid camera (duh). The images are probably enlarged onto the Polaroid film and processed, perhaps in a special way which gives him the tones he wants. More than likely, now that he knows what he wants them to look like, he goes straight to the large print since he has the look dialed in. The Polaroids are then scanned (yes there are scanners that large) and printed using specially mixed inks in several colors on a printer you will likely never see to produce the final humongous print. It is quite an undertaking to match colors at this level. Every aspect of it is custom. It appears that he then applies an "encaustic" wax, which is a hot wax process if my memory serves me well from my painting days, to finish the print. The wax would give a translucent quality to the paper and would produce a beautiful depth. Many Platinum and alternative printers use a similar process. (DavidJohn Lotto for one- Rice paper+Platinum+wax= beautiful prints). I haven't seen Colbert's prints in person so that last bit (translucency) is just speculation, but probably true based on my experience doing these types of things. I can only imagine that standing in front of a print of its size and quality is a stunning experience. As you might imagine, doing this requires an enormous amount of resources, so judging him as a sellout because he is sponsored by Rolex is a little shortsighted. I doubt Rolex does much else except give him money in order to be associated with the spectacle he creates. I would say that regardless of what you would think about the man (and from what I have read I don't think much other than I respect him for his action) you have to respect and admire the process regardless of its origin. He has unarguably achieved more than any one on this forum. Perhaps he has done some good in the world as well, though most art of this type is well intentioned but only serves to get viewers to feel better about themselves. Very few people act on the experience, but those that do make it worthwhile I would say.

    I hope my speculation about his process is clear. I would be happy to elucidate any points if asked. I have a tendency to over simplify. The aesthetics of the process can be achieved at home with an inkjet printer, some high quality rice paper and a little knowledge of such things.
    Last edited by patrickjames; 11-25-2009 at 09:14 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #22
    Marco B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    The Netherlands
    Multi Format
    Thanks Patrick, I think you summed up my own feelings well about his work. And also thanks for some further deliberation about the process, also explaining the "encaustic" term, that I didn't know.

    Also thanks to R Shaffer for pointing out some nice links, especially the link to John Reuters site. For those like myself not much familiar with Polaroid transfers and what it was about and could achieve, see some of the nice examples in his biography by following the links on his Biography page: http://www.johnreuter.com/New%20Page...Biography.html

    Interestingly, on page 5, John also describes a process for transferring d......l (scanned) images to Polaroid 20x24 via 4x5 transparency and film recorders..., and that already in the beginning of the 90's, so contrary to what I thought, it might well be the kind of process Colbert used. But let's end the discussion here, because that part is not for APUG.

    And yes, I have seen a set of real 20x24 Polaroids in a museum once, they are awesome...

    My website

    "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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