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  1. #1
    bjorke's Avatar
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    Analog, Digital, and the Sublime (Edward Burtynsky)

    It's reasonable to analyze these works in a context of the romantic sublime — much like one would do with Ansel Adams. Unlike Adams's trancendant aspirations, however, these wrangle with the presence and actions of man, the self, and their inevitable demise and disolution:

    http://burtynsky.stanford.edu/

    These photographs could not be realized without the use of both analog and digital means.

    "In the experience of sublimity the self 'shrinks' and suffers 'annihilation' in the face of what exceeds it. The passion of the sublime is the passion of being submitted, vanquished — to a point of (near) disintegration."
    — Giuseppe Sertoli writing on Edmund Burke's A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, 1757

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
    KBPhotoRantPhotoPermitAPUG flickr Robot

  2. #2

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    I don't understand why you say it could not be done without some digital. Anything shown on the 'web has to be digitized. Where do the two pictures in particular use digital other than the Zoomify thing which is just a method of web presentation?

  3. #3

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    So are the Burtynsky prints supposed to be good because they are big? I dont see anything else extraordinary about them. Tell me what is it that could not be done without digital other than size? Would these prints have been considered "good" if they had been 8x10 instead of 40x60?

    Furthermore, even if they could not be done without digital, why should we care? what is the point of your post? Why post it in APUG, arent you tired of the digital vs traditional flame wars? This post should be moved to soap box or closed. Enough is enough.

  4. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    One might argue that the political agenda is at odds with the aspiration toward the sublime in the Romantic sense, but perhaps not in the postmodern sense.

    I don't see anything inherently digital about these photographs. In one review I've read, he says he shoots 8x10" color neg and prints digitally, I'm guessing to Lambda/LightJet/Chromira, since they're C-prints, but that seems like just a convenience to me. There's no reason he couldn't make good 40x60's from 8x10" negs with a traditional enlarger. Here's what he says about it in an interview from the _SF Chronicle_--

    "People keep asking me when I'm going to start shooting digitally," like other makers of big prints such as Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth, Burtynsky said. "And I say when I'm no longer able to avoid it. Sensitive digital equipment doesn't perform very well in the harsh environments in which I work."

    Meanwhile, he continues to do his own printing at the Toronto photo lab he established many years ago, using digital technology only to refine what the negative-to-print technique can achieve.

    "In extending my ability as a printer and photographer, it's a great tool, " Burtynsky said of digital technology, "but the ethics of image manipulation is a whole discussion that I haven't engaged."
    http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg...1.DTL&type=art
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  5. #5

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    I could not find any reference to digital on his web site or at 3 of the galleries that represent him , so I don't know if they are actually cibachromes, or lightjets on crystal archive from scanned transparencies or totally digital output.

    Be that as it may, I like the images. I have always been fascinated with the works of man on a grand scale and our ability to reshape the world to fit our desires. you can agree or disagree, but nature or God created man to be as much a force of change as meteorological or geological processes.

    Of course anything man builds or alters in nature will be wiped clean by the imminent ice age (not caused by man but natural cycle) or the over due eruption of the Yellowstone caldera system or the long over due impact of an asteroid. Nature will always get the last laugh.

    For myself, a dam, oil refinery, factory, bridge is just as impressive as any work of nature. At a huge scrap yard near here I visited I was in awe of a mountain (close to 100 feet high) of huge machines. Giant milling machines, presses, metal shears, etc. All being recycled. For me, that mountain of cast iron and steel representing hundreds of years of technology and ingenuity was just as intriguing and beautiful as any mountain or meadow.

    I don't really see any kind of a editorial viewpoint in Burtynsky's images. I see a simple and elegant rendering of man's interaction with his environment.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  6. #6

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    He makes ink jet prints David, not chromira or lambdas. Even so a C print of this size would require a digital negative, I dont know of anybody who is doing traditional color enlargement this size anymore. But in the end, who cares? Does this mean that I have to go digital now because Burtynsky does his prints this way? No at all, as a matter of fact there is a guy in Europe making b&w enlargements from 12x20 negatives that will blow anything an ink jet print can do out of the water. Does it mean that those doing b&w ink jet prints should throw away their Epson 9600 and use this guy?....not in the least, so what is the purpose of this post? What is this sublime BS?

    Sometimes I feel there is more people in APUG trying to advance the digital agenda than there is people trying to keep the traditional work alive! Havent we had enough?

  7. #7
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorge
    He makes ink jet prints David, not chromira or lambdas. Even so a C print of this size would require a digital negative, I dont know of anybody who is doing traditional color enlargement this size anymore.
    All the images in the show are described as "Dye-coupler prints." A dye coupler print is a C-print, not an inkjet. He says he prints digitally, and the output is a C-print, so it would stand to reason that they are LightJet, Chromira, or Lambda. If you go to the site for the lab he founded, Toronto Image Works, they do indeed provide 48x60 Lambda prints, so I'm assuming that's what these are.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  8. #8
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Hi Folks

    Ed is from Toronto and his lab is a competitor of mine. Toronto Image Works.
    I have seen all the work on this site , live, at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Over 100 large murals , except for 3 or 4 all were traditional dye coupler prints.
    What I admire about Ed is that after graduating from Photo School over 20years he decided to photograph the work you see on the site, to have control over the process he built Toronto Image Works.
    Every print that you see , I can assure you Ed colour corrected and made suggestions to his printer(staff) to follow. All prints were done in his lab and on a Horizontal enlarger. Imperfections were hand retouched, In fact I use the same retoucher for bleach retouching of black and whites.
    I look up to Ed as he is 1. a very nice man , who will freely share his knowlege and supports the photographic community here in Toronto. 2. and he is a dedicated photographic craftsman that I respect.

    He may be starting to print with Lambdas or LightJets, but I can assure you what you see on the web site is all Analoge of the highest quality.

  9. #9

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    Ok, so they are ( I cant imagine what is so difficult about saying color print) in any case, so what? A print this size could have been made with an 8x10 enlarger as well as with the digital printers. Once again I ask, what is the purpose of this post? What do those if us who prefer traiditional work, be it color or b&W, care if this guy is using an 8x10 and making digital files for printing?

    Why is it that someone would want to come to APUG and sing praises to a pixelographer? Do you really think there is even one member who is not aware of the all the possible hybrid methods? This thread would have been right at home at the lenswork forum, where the advancement of digital is the hidden agenda, too bad they dont do color work.

  10. #10

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    He may be starting to print with Lambdas or LightJets, but I can assure you what you see on the web site is all Analoge of the highest quality.
    Well then I am confused, where is the digital part as it was expressed in the original post? From what I understood Burtynsky has been doing digital printing for a while, as a matter of fact he has spawned a big following doing a lot of the same thing, industrial landscape in color.

    So is bjorke wrong? Did he think he was going to show us what can be done with digital and it turns out it is all analog?.....now that is funny!

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