I’m now printing out each weekly image at full file size. To
create photographs but never print them is like cooking a meal but never even
tasting what you've made. A fine print, as I wrote last week, is so markedly
different from an on-screen image. My
experience is, you don’t really know what you have until you print it,
preferably large It’s no fun having to rush through printing a whole slew
of images when the time comes to show them. I like to linger over the work.
Running the print through various states on the road to the final image is a
great way to do that. Getting a better feel for what the whole image-making
chain does helps me make better choices even before I click the shutter.
I’m now printing with a system marketed under the
Piezography label that Jon Cone sells through InkjetMall.com Instead of having eight color cartridges,
various shades of gray plus black are substituted and you print via special
software. (That is way easier than Epson’s snaggle of settings.) Cone sells
various configurations and formulations depending on the printer and the print
tone you want. I chose the warm/neutral ink set. The results have been
impressive. The light to dark graduations and detail rival darkroom prints and
the carbon-based pigment inks are ultra light-fast Using bulk ink reduces the
cost of feeding the printer by about sixty-six percent. Since I’m a
perfectionist and experimenter, constantly running small proofs and large
outputs, this savings is significant. I've had absolutely no problems with clogged
print nozzles. Really my only objection, if you can call it that, is that the
refillable cartridges came without reset chips and it was a bit of a DIY
operation to remove the Epson electronics without damaging them, so they could be
affixed to the new ink units.
Proof at full size: Epson 3880/ Piezo K7 Inks/ Moab Lasal
This print hangs via magnets on my steel-clad kitchen door.
Enlarged onto 13 x 19 paper, it visually fills the space. If only my audience could teleport into my
studio! The Internet is really an impoverished place to view photography. Most
peoples’ monitors are inaccurate and clip the tonal range of photographs, often
at both ends, the dark and the light tones. Given that nowadays people browse and view their email on tiny phones, it’s even more the case. The depth of a fine
print gets lost and becomes a flat pattern. No wonder that digital photography,
that often looks flattened is now the accepted norm and prints which look like
they were made at the corner CVS have been known to adorn gallery walls.
Bottom line: Forgo the easy route that demands little and
delivers even less; go see photographic prints in person. I want to thank
all those who did just that this last Saturday and came to the opening at Frame Fatale. That a number of the works
also became part of your personal collections thrills me. It makes the long
hours and dealing with the temperamental Philadelphia
weather all the more worth it. Your support is vital. In case you could not
attend, the full complement of works is up through May.
Come celebrate the first half year of The Concrete Muse! A
show of small prints will be opening up this Saturday, the 13th from at Frame Fatale, 1813 E. Passyunk in Philadelphia. This is a chance to see what the work looks like “live” and exquisitely framed, albeit on a more diminutive scale (this week's image will be featured in the display window at full size) and to pick up some ready-to-hang art for what it would cost to have it matted and framed-- in other words: cheap! More importantly, this will help support the project as it goes into its next half year!
I believe that longevity is a big component of creative
success. Too many projects get abandoned without ever being pushed to the edge
IMHO. The Concrete Muse is six months old this week and it feels like it’s jut
beginning. Going back to film and working largely with 35mm in a hybrid
film/digital printing set up is an education in the best sense of the phrase.
My overall methodology is continually changing and refining, but more
importantly, new things keep on entering my field of vision. This seriously appeals
to the part of me that’s a real learning junkie and loves to tinker.
This shot was taken last summer somewhere in my
immediate neighborhood. My guess is I grabbed it quickly. The Canonet QL17,
often described as “the poor man’s Leica” (I paid $40 in 1994) is very good for
shooting on-the-fly. It wasn’t until I got into the printmaking that I realized
there was a person looking out as well as the canine. It required three
separate negative scans that were then put together in Photoshop. The combination of the white dog and the very
dark background, printed on the lower-contrast paper I use for working proofs
(Moab Lasal), made this a particularly thorny printing problem.
Print: 11.5” x 17”@240 dpi /Epson 3880/ Piezo K7 inks on Moab
seems to be abuzz with renovation and construction and these sites and sights
draw me in. One of my undergraduate art teachers, Charles Eldred, used to say:
“What’s bothering you will find its way into the work.” I’m not worrying about
that too much these days; however it’s not uncommon to see where a whole row has been replaced with modern buildings, yet one lone, original holdout
somehow remains to remind the future of what was.