28 October, 2010

Just a snap

There are just some photos that you like. If it's not art, I guess it's just a snap. In any case, I like this one.

It's just a crane and now it just stands there on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour — quietly. More particularly it's a travelling jib crane, and it's maintained by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.
Electric Portal Travelling Jib Crane (installed 1979)

27 October, 2010

My church


   They said, no church approves of
   gay or lesbian marriage;
   I said, mine does.
   They asked, what church is that?
   And I said,
   the Church of the Dignity of all Men and Women.

   No incense.
   No funny hats.
   No sermons (save for this one).
   I agreed that I need a creed—
   but all I could think of was,
   "Live and Let Live."
   There are, unfortunately, a few empty pews.

Printer 01

I'm planning on buying a printer at the end of this year or the beginning of next. I have an inexpensive Epson that prints up to A4, but I'm unhappy with the results. No, that's unfair. I'm happy with the results that I'm getting for the price — but I want more and I want bigger.

Epson 3880 Printer

I want to move up to either A3, or possibly to A2.

As you might know, I love my Panasonic GF1, but I recognise its limitations. So, given my "situation," would I be able to print to A2 well enough and often enough to justify the expense? I've narrowed it down to two front runners — Both Epsons: The R2880 (if A3 is the best buy), and the 3880 (if I'm giving A2 a try).

I'm not completely ignorant about these things, so I already know that given the resolution and dynamic range of my GF1, there wouldn't be any actual additional detail in an A2 print than there would be in an A3. That, however is not my question. I want to find out (assuming the greater viewing distance for an A2) whether it's reasonable to expect high-quality (exhibition grade) at that size.

So, how to decide? I've looked at the buyers' guides and the reviews and have found a lot of conflicting, or at least unhelpful, advice.

I really don't know which way to go, so I thought I might take you along for the ride.

I have taken a first step by downloading the Fine Art Printing videos from Luminous Landscape. I'm a fan of the Luminous Landscape's Lightroom 3 videos and I hope that in their Fine Art Printing videos I'll find some guidance. Even if the videos turn out to be unhelpful about buying, they will be a good investment when it comes to printing regardless of what printer I finally choose.

I'll keep you updated.

21 October, 2010

Annie Leibovitz's Book

My daughter loaned me Annie Leibovitz at Work. I enjoyed the book and want to share a paragraph from near the end. She wrote:
Annie Leibovitz
When I'm asked about my work, I try to explain that there is no mystery involved. It is work. But things happen all the time that are unexpected, uncontrolled, unexplainable, even magical. The work prepares you for that moment. Suddenly the clouds roll in and the soft light you longed for appears.
Similarly, Henri Cartier-Bresson mentioned (about one of his most famous photos) that he couldn't see the scene when he took the picture. The interviewer remarked, "That was lucky." and HCB replied,
It's always luck. It's luck that matters. You have to be receptive, that's all. 
These reflections give me hope that I have a chance of taking at least some photos that capture the moment. And, at the same time, I'm encouraged to get out there and "be receptive." 

I'm not silly enough to believe that it's only wearing down the shoe leather, but that's necessary.

AL's book was also interesting to me because it fell so closely on the heels of my seeing the Douglas Kirkland exhibition. Like Kirkland, AL is famous for her photos of celebrities. Her early work (much of it for Rolling Stone Magazine) is quite different to Kirkland's. Her photos have more grit and seem to capture the moment with more of the context.

02 October, 2010

Willy Ronis 1910-2009

I wasn't doing this blog when Willy Ronis died last year. So I thought I should add a few words before too much more time had passed.

Mike Johnson from 
the Online Photographer did an article at the time of his passing. I urge readers to have a look. 

Paris - Willy Ronis

I think Willy Ronis and the humanist photographers were onto something. You can record almost any scene with a camera, but what causes the viewers to relate is to see things in human terms and in human scale; and, as importantly, to have it recorded with compassion and empathy.

It can be easy to photograph the bizarre and the strange, but I don't think that it strikes the chord that the humanists sought.

Douglas Kirkland Exhibition

Recently I went to see the Douglas Kirkland exhibition at Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). (It's on from 11 September to 24 October 2010.) 

I enjoyed the exhibition, but at times I found it difficult deciding whether a photo was intrinsically good, or interesting because his subject was famous. (His subjects included, among others, Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.) 

DK's Michael Jackson photos, for example, included a series showing the make-up work for Thriller, I found these interesting as history, but not offering (to me, at least) an insight. His Judy Garland photos, on the other hand....

Douglas Kirkland
At the end the exhibition there are two pictures of DK. In the first he's in his early career and shown with his equipment. In the second, he's shown in current times with his current equipment.  The move to digital (mostly) is obvious. I thought it was interesting, however, that his flatbed printer appears prominently in the current picture.

I noticed that each print in the DK exhibition mentioned that it was printed on Moab Entrada Rag. It seemed to me to be a fairly shameless plug, given that it's a public gallery and no other technical information (save that they were pigment ink prints) was provided. I'm not familiar with that paper so I went to the
Moab site. Sure enough, Douglas Kirkland features prominently there. Clearly, he takes the printing side of his art seriously.