Analysis: Print Consideration

Some thoughts I had for my prints were that I wanted my final prints to highlight the contrast of vivid colours and structural style effectively. There should be a smooth tonal transition from shadows to highlight. I had the preference for Lustre or semi gloss over Matt as I thought that would suit well with my photographic style. I had three considerations of paper types and had them test printed.

Baryta Fine Art Paper Vs Photo Rag Paper

Baryta paper enables rich blacks, wide gamuts, great contrast and sharpness, and smooth tonal transitions on my images. It also has that bit of texture on the paper. PhotoRag paper were the ‘regular’ paper we use to print for our submissions. The Oyster Lustre finish is the perfect combination for my photographic style. I have tested both the Baryta Fine art and Photo Rag paper, I realised I still liked the photo Rag paper more. The fact that we often print them for submission kind of give the idea that it’s cheap and of low quality. But actually in fact quite the opposite (at least for me). In addition, I don’t have to spend more to purchase separate paper as that will cost more money for me. Hence, I decided to stick with Photo Rag paper.

Metal Print / Infused Metal Print

This print process uses Dye Sublimation to print onto metal plates. This is what I wanted for my final exhibition images.

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Free Range Exhibition Proposal

29th June – 5th July

 

Free Range is the platform for showing the best works. Since I would not be staying in the UK after graduation, the aim of showing my work is not about getting future work in London, but rather to get myself noticed. This work needs to be of the highest quality yet realistically achievable and on a reasonable budget. In consideration of my landscape photography style, which is a focus on vibrant colours and structural contrast, I have developed a general preference towards lustre and gloss finish. I have found that infused metal prints could be the best representation of my work. Hence, I intend to exhibit one landscape image in large format metal print. For contingency plans, I am considering Acrylic print and Hahnemuhle Oyster Lustre paper as alternatives.

Potential Market Audience

After graduation, I may not be able to carry the metal plate back home, due to its bulkiness. Hence, I am also keeping the option open, of selling the print away for a profit. Potential buyers could be art collectors or corporations looking for quality fine art prints. 

Limitations

I have been shooting on full frame cameras, these images would not be able to compete in the medium format range. The ideal quality for full frame would be 24×16, or A2 equivalent. 

Dimension Reference

Size Width x Height (mm) Width x Height (cm) Width x Height (cm)
Maximum 2000 x 2000 mm 200 x 200 cm 78.74 x 78.74 in
A0 841 x 1189 mm 84.1 x 118.9 cm 33.1 x 46.8 in
A1 594 x 841 mm 59.4 x 84.1 cm 23.4 x 33.1 in
A2 420 x 594 mm 42.0 x 59.4 cm 16.5 x 23.4 in
A3 297 x 420 mm 29.7 x 42.0 cm 11.7 x 16.6 in

 

Proposed: HD Metal Prints

Infused metal prints can make colours extraordinary vibrant and the depth of coating gives the contrast in photos a luminous quality that no paper can achieve.

Specifications

Print type:       Dye Sublimation
Paper:              Aluminium Metal
Dimension:       33.1” x 46.8” (A0 equivalent)                        .           24” x 16” (A2 equivalent)
Mounting:       Float Mount
Frame:            None
Budget:           min £265.95                                        .           min £85.95

Reference

https://uk.whitewall.com/photo-lab/alu-dibond/hd-metal-print

Proposed Alternative (1): Acrylic Print

Specifications

Print type: Ultra HD Photo Print Under Acrylic Glass
Paper: Kodak Metallic
Dimension:      33.1” x 46.8”   (A0 equivalent)           .      24” x 16” (A2 equivalent)
Mounting: Slimline Case with Aluminum Rails        .     Slimline Case with Aluminum Rails
Frame:            None                                                   .           None
Budget:           min £375.95                                        .           £98.95

Reference

https://uk.whitewall.com/acrylic-photo-print-ultra-hd
https://uk.whitewall.com/photo-frame-acrylic-print-aluminium-case

Proposed Alternative (2):  Giclee Lustre Print

[Spectrum]

Print type:       Giclee Print, Lustre
Paper:              Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 gsm
Dimension:      33.1” x 46.8”   (A0 equivalent)                 .                 24” x 16” (A2 equivalent)     Mounting:       Dibond with subframes
Frame:            Wooden Frame                                   .           + £30
Budget:           min £374.44                                        .           > £50

 Reference

http://spectrumphoto.co.uk/giclee-prints

[Metro]

Print type:       Giclee Print, Lustre
Paper:              Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 gsm       .
Dimension:      48” x 36”         (A0 equivalent)             .                 24” x 16” (A2 equivalent)
Mounting:       Classic                                                 .           Classic
Frame:            Wooden Photo Frame (outside)            .           Floater Mount? (outside)
Budget:           £90 ++                                                 .           > £150

Reference

http://www.metro-print.co.uk/products/fine-art-giclee-prints/prices

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Analysis: Website References

Update 1: 20.03.17
Update 2: 16.04.17
Update3: 09.05.17

I have been advised that my portfolio work should reflect my style as a coherent thematic series. I digress. It is not that I am against that notion of one-photographer-one-style approach for one whole series, but the South East Asian region’s market is quite different from the UK, due to the nature of the small market being saturated and competitive. It is a good exercise to develop series of consistent looking images, but If I were to be a commercial photographer based in Singapore, the mentality has to be that more skills I acquire, the better chance of me getting more work.

On this post, I not only discuss having a style as a coherent series but also share some insights on the website platform other photographers used. These are just some examples to proof my point.

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Tan Kay Chin is a Singapore-based photographer. He spent the early part of his professional career at The Straits Times, where he held positions from photographer to picture editor. A vocal advocate of photography in Singapore, he founded Southeast Asia’s first photography workshop, Shooting Home with Objectifs and has exhibited widely and his photographs are collected by Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European House of Photography in Paris and private collectors. Tay Kay Chin was a lecturer at the Nanyang Technological University for a few years until 2015 and has supervised many final year projects in the areas of photojournalism and illustrated feature.

Though Tay Kay Chin is a photojournalist, we can see from his website that he has done a wide variety of genres from documentary to travelogues to architecture as well as commissioned projects across many industries. The documentary element is still present in the majority of his works, but he has also used a wide variety of styles, from panoramic on one project and black and white photography on another. some colours are washed-out and more toned down, while others are more contrasting. His website is running on WordPress template with small sliding pictures on his homepage and blog entries below. Categories separating genres from his personal and commissioned works. He also separates books from his limited edition prints.

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CJWadha is a commercial photographer who provides creative solutions to art directors, designers and business clients. Portraitures are his speciality and highly sought after for his environmental portraits. With a personality to connect with everyone from CEOs to ministers to the common man, he has created iconic images for a diverse set of clients.

For CJ’s website, most likely he used HTML web pages, made by website professionals. from his portfolio works, we could see that even his commissioned portraitures show a diversity of approaches, where the style in lifestyle is done differently from business corporate portraitures and sports portraitures. Yet in his personal works are landscape-based images with different styles. Could we say that his best personal works are not curated coherently? If that is such a case then I think that defeats the purpose of categorising them as “personal”.

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Lumiere Photography is a multi-disciplinary photography company based in Singapore, which seems to have a specialisation in events photography. while they may not necessarily have the strongest visual image or the coherent series around, but their experience in many genres of photography and videography makes up for it. Their clientele base is most likely built through event photography with over 100 clients under their belt in both private and government sector and this is what makes them a reliable service. As for the website platform, it is pretty safe to assume that they have used WordPress template, because of the sheer amount of contents and portfolio images they had to manage. I think as a photography business consisting of a team of photographers, this could be the better approach as a commercial service instead of one-photographer-one-style approach.

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Stefen Chow is a Singapore raised photographer and artist currently based in Beijing, China. the award-winning photographer has had work widely published and exhibited internationally. Stefen undertakes long-term projects with a social conscience. Stefen is the co-founder of ‘The Poverty Line’, a global visual project that contextualises poverty. He has held group and solo exhibitions as well as being jury for many competitions and held TED Talks. The Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and the Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum in Beijing has acquired works to their permanent collection. Hs website was most likely HTML web pages.

Having worked in a wide array of genres in photography projects as well as commissions, it is evident that his approach in photography does not stay coherent. As a highly esteemed photographer, does it mean that the broad range of approach portfolio reflects badly of his methodology in curating images? I don’t think so. In my opinion, it simply means his experience in photography has spanned across so many genres, and versatile in many approaches. all these experience has enabled him to take the advisory role in the photography scene.

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Tuckys is pretty much an all-rounder photography service which seems to specialise in a wide variety of genres, such as corporate photography, corporate portraits, interior photography, aerial videography and theatre photography. From its WordPress-based website portfolio, I guess these amount of works were amassed through many years in the field. It might also mean that the more capabilities the service can cater, the more diverse clients they can get. It might also mean the harsh reality of the industry in the small market, that everyone is trying to amass as much service capability so as to clinch more diverse clients.

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These are some examples from my market region. But having a diverse style as a portfolio series does not only reside within my region; this approach has also increasingly become widespread among other photographers around the world as well. here some of the photographers I admire, to proof my point.

Ming Thein | Trey Ratcliff | Serge Ramelli | Finn Beales | Chris Photo

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Ming Thein is a commercial photographer specialising in product photography on location and corporate reportage. He is also the Chief of Strategy for Hasselblad, well-respected by the photographic community.

From the categorisation of the portfolio images on his website, they were not strictly a series, to begin with, though he tries to include some of them. We can see that even the visuals in his series are not that consistent, apart from using Hasselblad most of the time. Yet surprisingly for a high-profile person, he chooses WordPress blog (not a template) for his portfolio website.

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Trey Ratcliff is a Photographer, Artist, Writer & Adventurer. Trey’s images and stories have captured the beauty of exotic travel destinations and the humour of the bizarre situations he often finds himself in.

I’m not entirely sure if the term “portfolio website” fits this website, but one thing for sure is that it contains some of Trey’s best works to be sold as high-quality prints and he used WordPress template. Again, his images are not that consistent as a series as his works are not curated in that way in the first place. However, this unique approach works for him, so it works.

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Serge Ramelli is a French photographer specialising in landscape and urban photography.  He uses Squarespace for his portfolio website, his best images were arranged according to generic subjects, not as a thematic series. By showing his best images this way, he pulls the focus on the singular image as a visual narrative, rather than the series as the narrative. This works for him as a commercial photographer.

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Finn Beales Finn is an award-winning photographer. Attracted by his cinematic style and the narrative he weaves throughout his work, he shoots travel, lifestyle and commercial commissions for the likes of Apple, Land Rover, Audi, Barbour and a variety of other global brands. Attracted by his cinematic style and the narrative he weaves throughout his work.

Finn uses Squarespace to showcase his works, and its clean layout really stands out for me. His photographic style was largely consistent, and he does categorise his works in a thematic series. however, in the case of other categories such as editorial and landscape category, the image visuals do not look similar. This is the closest example I can find who has a fairly consistent style present in his portfolio, but then again, he didn’t strictly categorise them as thematic series. he presented them as a bit of both.

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James Russell Cant

This is an example of categorising images into thematic series. It is really a good way of curating images according to particular themes and built up over a long time. However, I think this kind of approach does not fit the series of images I am making now. However, for my personal works, this might be the way to go.

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My Website

http:// oowen.photography
info@oowen.photography

In October when I was back home, I met up with an acquaintance whom I met with during my working years. He was in the web consultant agency and was the best person for advice in this area. Though he does not do WordPress templates for his clients, it was his advice that I choose “.photography” as my domain name. It is slightly more expensive, but nevertheless a unique domain. It was also through his network that he managed to could get me a hosting server free for the first 12 months, which would serve as a testbed for my business plans.

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Based on the above references gathered and weighing the pros and cons on my previous posts, I decided to go with WordPress template. I did with content management system because I wanted to start my business small first. In the sense, buying a template at a one-off fee certainly beats a monthly subscription hands down. It would also be easier to expand in the longer run such as the e-commerce and other services, and I could tweak HTML codings if I needed to. I was looking for landscape scrolling templates and good ones were hard to find. Initially, I made a small blunder, as I choose a free hosting platform instead of a self-hosted platform. I went on to create a proper business gmail account and directed my original email to info@oowen.photography. This process was called “masking” in technical terms. It was challenging for me at first, and it took me a while to figure it out, under the advice of my acquaintance.

After curating my best images meant for submission, I decided to put that collection, or series as one might call it, into a portfolio page on my website. this was because earlier on when I did it in a thematic fashion I felt it didn’t present my best potential out. I created a “work” subpage under portfolio so those would house the thematic approach, which may also include personal works (at the moment) I am slowly expanding my works and I intend to include more video works as well as my pre-uni works.  For now, I do not have any commissioned works, hence I put it as a generic category.

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I intend to create a few pages with a more responsive interface. the theme itself has its limitations (and quite a bit of it ). Under Works Page, is a different format from Portfolio, where I can call out project categories based on “year” tags. Most of my older works from pre-uni days are locked in my archive disk back in Singapore. I plan to add them after I graduate when I have the access.

I did not want the work research in my Reflective Journal and Visual Logbook to end after I graduate, hence I have incorporated it as my Journal for my portfolio website. I intend to carry on updates in my journal in future, but perhaps more as a diary journal format.

On my recent trip to Iceland has opened up a broader view on how landscapes images can be used on merchandise items, apart from photographic prints. Most of the shops I been to, be it in Reykjavik, tourist gift shops or even in the airport, I tend to see large amounts of merchandise items with printed with landscape images. Perhaps, largely because of how Icelandic people pride themselves of the spectacular views of pristine landscapes that they can offer.

Items with landscape images include:

Chocolate packages | Candy Packages | Post Cards | Photo Books | Stamps | DVD Covers | Mugs | Calendars | Posters | Stationery Items (Pens, Pencils, Cases, etc) | T-shirts |Stickers | Magnets | Lamps | Cushions | Canvas | Mouspads

 

 

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On the recent seminar about selling our artworks in the NUA Shop on the open day during the exhibition, there were more ideas we could consider producing other than prints and original artwork:

postcards | textiles | shirts | notebook | jewellery | keyrings | 

Why would someone buy it? Who are they buying for? 

  • support artist?
  • a moment of their trip to NUA
  • could not afford a price of the artwork but could buy this in the shop
  • a great gift to give

what we could consider our audiences; cater for families and children who are visiting the exhibition show (lateral thinking). cheap and affordable items that that may appeal to them and they may purchase away with. 

Additionally, we could consider printing with in-house resources, such as: 

laser cutter | fabric printer | vinyl cutter | large format print | flock and foil | perfect binding | giclee paper print?

How do we price our work? What would someone be prepared to pay for this? There are two ways to go about:

Cost up – factoring in all your costs and calculating sales price from there. 

Cost down –  factoring….

The realities of retailing is that NUA asks for a commission of 25% on degree show sales, and commercial…. This commission pays for staffing the shop, credit card charges, as well as marketing and promotion. 

References

https://www.redbubble.com/shop/iceland

http://nammi.is/candy.html

 

Alan McFetridge is a New Zealand-born but London-based photographer whose work has been exhibited, published and commissioned for the past 14 years. He specialises making imagery come alive and pursuing extraordinary projects that become realised through the power of the vernacular and narrative. In 2013 Alan began lecturing at Norwich University of the Arts and continues to guest lecture in the UK. He is currently working on his first monograph, a major body of work on habitat currently being shot across the globe.

What I like about his works was the versatility of skills and techniques shown in his works, particularly in the landscape genre which includes the commercial car photography.  Almost all of his images were shot with 4″x5″ large format cameras.

As Long as the Sun Shines is a series of photographs that delves into the aftermath of a wildfire on the newly formed edges of a vast wild land. It begins at the origin of ‘the beast’ and the charred aftermath deep within the heart of the earth’s largest ecological community of plants and animals, the boreal forest. This shows the consistency of his images as a series.

In Underworld series, despite having multiple elements, such as interior shots, outdoor landscapes and even human elements, his control in colour tones were consistent on all of these images, that is, the pale bluish tints. Underworld was a project made in 5 years after earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 caused unexpected and substantial damage and trauma to an area in Canterbury, New Zealand.

yet in his 17 years of commissioned works shows a different side of his skills, particularly in the automobile advert images he has produced. cars were placed in different conditions and lit differently. the car could be a 3D model, or that he has worked with a team to lit the car on location. There is the vivid colour element present in most of his car images, I guess it’s his preference for the split toning effect.

To be honest, I have only met him once during the first two weeks of my year two course in the group critique session. I had just started out in Uni but I didnt know he was such a talented photographer. I remembered he used to advise students on trying out the split-toning effect in photoshop and now I could see why. I ‘d wished I had spoken to him a lot more.

Sam Barker is an award-winning photographer, including two AOP and two Kontinent Awards in 2014 for his portraiture. Sam’s signature cinematic lighting style has made him sought after in the world of Advertising where his distinctive style has led him to be commissioned for campaigns in Europe and the US for the likes of Hugo Boss, Glennfiddich and Landrover amongst others, shooting subjects as diverse as Matt Damon to Lewis Hamilton, to tribal chiefs in Africa and the Americas.

Sam began his career in photography in 1997 whilst attending the prestigious London School of Printing. It was here he lost his hair but gained a distinction and a job as an assistant for Matthew Donaldson.

Within a short period of time his work was spotted by The Telegraph, shooting amongst others, a then rather green Benedict Cumberbatch for Sue Steward on the Arts pages. Commissions started to follow from the likes of The Sunday Times, GQ Magazine and Harpers Bazaar. It was not long before his work was picked up by worldwide publishing houses and advertising agencies with commissions for sport, finance and portraiture. Sam is also a regular contributor to the National Portrait Gallery where he has 12 portraits in the permanent collection.

Sam Barker now shares his time between London and New York. His passion for great pictures and adventure has also seen him shoot travel stories and personal projects in Iraq, Ethiopia, and Colombia and Bhutan.

Sam Barker’s campaign for HSBC in 2015 shows how his landscapes were able to be used for commercial purposes.

However, his contribution was only a part of the larger movement by HSBC, to celebrate their long-term partnership with WWF, and the work of the HSBC Water Programme, which was to install a ground-breaking interactive sound installation at Gatwick Airport. It takes travellers along the 6,300km-long Yangtze River in just under two minutes, providing a fascinating insight into the sounds, people, local businesses and wildlife of the river. Sam, images were also put up with as part of the installation.

while searching for references for bodyscapes, I found one commercial photographer whose works had intriqued me. That is when I learned about his foodscape series, exactly the kind of landscapes that provokes one reaction.

Carl Warner is an artist, director and photographer who is well known for his foodscapes. His passion for creating and making stunning images from the banal things that most people would not take a second look at. The Foodscapes received international recognition back in 2008, and Carl has been coming up with new pieces ever since.

Each piece of his works exhibits the technical expertise of his photography in many aspects. choice of food for colors and textures, attention to every single detail including lighting, since all of the visuals were painstakingly built from scratch, as well as the post processes of compositing them all together.

Besides food, this artist also uses other mediums to imitate landscapes. His sensual Bodyscapes project featured intricately tangled human bodies, which make you tilt your head a little with each picture.

In this series of photographs by Carl Warner, human bodies have been contorted, lit, and manipulated to form expansive landscapes reminiscent of barren deserts and mountains. He shoots all of the forms in his studio to focus attention on “one person’s body, creating a sense of place so that a body that is lived in becomes a place to live.” The images are then digitally pieced together using Photoshop. Compared to food, the human body is more limited in the types of angles and shapes it can make.

Final Fifteen

 

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Prints

Of all the landscape works I have done, choosing which images that best represent my photography style has been a difficult task. I have certainly gathered as many references and tried a lot of different approaches as much as I can. While I have started this endeavour since year two and progressing into year three, there were certainly many images that I felt could be contenders but I had to omit them due to the rigorous selection in relation to my theme “The Provocative Landscape”.

If images are suited for art galleries or editorial magazines, it makes sense to present them in large prints or in magazine format. If images are geared towards online editorial, then it makes sense to present them in digital format. However, what if my images are more towards stock market, then how best should stock images be presented?

Stock images are considered as digital images, but they can have a wide variety of applications: websites, banners, magazines, books covers, posters, publicity campaigns, etc. I struggled to justify the best way to present my images. In the end, I decided to print them all, because ultimately if these images are digitally accurate in colours and will be used for prints, then it makes sense to see the accuracy of the colours. Being a person who works in colours and wants as much control over his images, I would definitely want to see them in print so that I can adjust them again later if necessary. I did two test prints to choose between Lustre print and matt print. In the end, I opted for the gloss finish which reflects the strong crisp and contrast style I have.

Hence, I have printed all 15 images in Lustre prints, with white borders. The white borders tend to give a short of prestige feel to the images as a proper high-quality photograph, and that is exactly what I wanted: professionally done images of the highest quality: the highest quality of images i can produce as a professional photographer.

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Aftermath 

I loved what I do in my landscape works. From travelling to different locations to conducting studio shoots, I have done an extensive amount of shoots related to my theme. My research and analysis into a myriad of photographers and artists have also influenced my practices greatly, exploring new directions which I have not thought of previously. I have had many stumbling blocks along the way, such as doubts as to whether I was heading in the right direction or not, and shoots that I could have done but I have not thought of, etc. I was away from school for personal matters for almost three weeks and I was not sure if the lecturer’s advice were helpful for me when I got back. Despite my shortcomings, it was my passion in shooting the landscapes that kept me motivated in my practice.