John’s Recon

April 23, 2010

Good Prints: Better, but still a bother.

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 5:54 pm

You can make a good scenery photograph with a camera. If you are good you can say a little more than the simple record of the visual event. You control crop, focus, point of view and all kinds of contrast to better state what you like about this frame. If you are really good you might get people to feel some emotion about this place. You can even slightly control time but it is harder to elongate it … this is video’s game. A painter has it easier in that they get to control where everything goes, arranging everything just so … basically a remembrance of a place … like a witness who remembers selectively. Of course, then they have to paint the darn thing and we got them beat … kind of … getting it down for others to see can be a bother for the both of us. More on this later.

The final project for my art class was a choice of a collage and painting it to canvas or a photo montage with some artistic enhancements. I’m sure you know what I chose … the thought of mixing all those colors just made my paint runny and my camel hair “Afro-ed”. It isn’t that bad really, but I have no patience or talent for it.

One of the things this class has taught me is to loosen up and not be so anal retentive about the reverence of the photograph. It is all about the image and what you want it to say and much less how you captured it. Heck, with a camera you lie like a rug anyway since you can point the lens toward specific things, sharpen, contrast, focus, saturate, and CROP … Hey, I thought Bertha came to the wedding … Guess not, she doesn’t seem to be in any of the family photos. When you break the bond of reverence then you can make the photo into an image that can point out more … maybe the texture, the warm light, the whatever can be enhanced beyond what was possible at the actual scene. I was taught to point the camera down when the sky subtracted from the scene but, now I read that there are a ton of photos that I like whose great clouds were swapped in from one of their other photographs … and now online there is a program that supplies the sky for you in case you don’t have any (maybe you don’t get out much – like in prison). What is up with that?

One of my photo montages (I’m doing two since I thought they weren’t that much work … what a dummy I am) is from a favorite memorial from our trip to Washington DC last summer. A single photo of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorial just can’t do this place justice. I took several during the day and then we came back at night and I took my favorite in the moonlight just after sunset. This one says to me serenity, peace, solitary strength, but only because I had seen the other places, statues and read the words … to the uninitiated, it says nothing. So what if you wanted to say more in a single picture about a great man (almost a father figure) who loved his dog and hated war … had a great wife who was as strong as he was … brought the US out of the great depression and created great works projects that produced jobs rightly/wrongly to get people working again. This is a lot for one image to accomplish. Hopefully my attempt at a photo montage says most of this.

It is created from the following pictures:

7058 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Washington, DC

This anti war text carved into this great granite.

7060 Eleanor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Washington, DC

A great stoic statue of his wife Eleanor. I love her hands too but couldn’t fit them in.

7062 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Washington, DC

Their famous dog Fala and the worry ravaged face of Franklin himself.

7064a Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Washington, DC

This great set of statues of the famous breadline … an icon of the depression. I like the determined resolve in their faces and their body postures with folded arms in defiant pride.

7334 Roosevelt Memorial, Old Town Trolley Tour, Washington, DC

All incorporated into my favorite night image taken 30 minutes after sundown where the camera still captures the navy blue in the sky on a moonlit night (moon too high in the sky to capture in this one).

The end result after 32 hours is this picture (15 hours was learning curve of the program itself)

7334montage Roosevelt Memorial, Washington, DC

It’s easy to just leave this on the web where high resolution monitors with good light output do the job. But I want Franklin to be more felt than seen so it is a tricky thing to print him to be just visible in other print media. High gloss not that much of a problem. But it looks better on matte but now you have to experiment on how much brighter the face has to be since the light reflectivity of matte is much less than gloss. Then there is canvas, the ultimate medium to show the texture of the granite floor and walls … less reflectivity yet … you have to build a frame afterward … then mount it. Maybe another 15 – 20 hours (I’m not quite finished yet).

Yikes! this was project one and I have another one due in short order. This digital art stuff is time consuming. Maybe this is the definition of art to many … stuff you put lots of work into. In photography we get away with murder when we can put our stuff on the web and have thousands view it. It is a whole lot different when you have to make a finished print to hang in a gallery. Good prints are easier than they were … but still a bother. Hey, I got a new Epson 13″ x 19″ printer … but can only afford printing 11″ x 17″ with it.

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