Sunday, September 20, 2009

Are the Photographic Print Dead?

The free print contest is still open for the month of September. Please leave a comment with the words ‘free print’ included in your comment. I have included some sample images to give an idea of the range of images available.

The title may be a little tongue-in-cheek, as I know there are still a few places where they are in demand and in some ways this topic seems to go against my desire to give away prints.

The reason I ask this is that I wanted to thank my regular readers of ‘My Camera World’ blog, for consistently dropping by to read my articles and view my images, by giving away 2 professional produced prints as a contest. The threshold was when I first reached the 1,000-subscriber mark.

I was completely bewildered when there were very few regular readers that wanted to take a chance at receiving a print for free.

This goes against my other world (not online) where I do sell a few prints at Art fairs and galleries. 11”x14” prints normally sell from $120-$160. I have even had a few sales on the web-based art sites. I have a set of 10 greeting cards printed on 5x7 stock that are in reasonable demand. I know of 2 people who framed some of these cards as the image goes edge to edge.

So far, if I am correct, most of these sales have been to non-photographers.

So I wonder about the following thoughts I have about my readers:

  • Do photographers not like to hang prints by other photographers?
  • Are prints only wanted from big name photographers?
  • Do photographers not have extra room to hang an image?
  • Do my blog readers not like to enter contests?
  • Is the cost of framing an image prohibitive?
  • Do photographers not like to collect other photographer’s prints?
  • Do blog readers not trust free give-aways?

I know many of my readers are photographers and most, if not all, I believe would also like to sell their prints.

I would really like to hear your thoughts, as this is something I just don’t understand and with this discussion we could all help each other better understand the photo print market.

I display and collect other photographer’s photos. Its just plain fun to see the work produced by them. Maybe my kids or grandchildren will benefit the appreciation of value with these photographers.

To have an 11’’ x 14’’ image printed on Epson Ultrafine art paper costs me $51.00 by the professional printmaker I use. I estimate that shipping will run about $15.00. So, as you can see, I was willing to spend up to $130 out of my own pocket just to say thanks. There was really no other motive.

In the article on Pixsylated blog Sly Arena in an article ‘Digital Photographers, Welcome Back to 1999 ’, it discusses the demise of still photography with the greater emergence of video.

If video does become the new dominate form, and I think there is a tendency to go that way especially now that large screen TVs or should we call them integrated home entertainment systems, there will be a greater reliance on this item as the preferred display medium. Being it rotating photos, slideshows or videos the wall screen will slowly replace paper.

Video has been around for a long time but it is only in the last few years that we have the real freedom to choose content, type and time. Before, it was limited to mainstream TV and home film movie buffs.

As always there will be collectors of the old ways. Even today there are a few who still prepare glass negatives, but this is such a small set of individuals. Almost like a lost language or tribe to be studied by others.

In the meantime I still produce images of photo paper and cotton rag for those who appreciate the printed form and I hope there are more who still do and will even take a chance on one of mine.

Thanks for your interest.

Niels Henriksen

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sun, Earth and Moon Composite

First I want to mention and support a fellow photographic blogger Damien Franco of ‘Your Photo Tips Blog with the launch recently of his endeavour to open a new sharing forum for photographers called Exposure . Not only is this a great place to learn and share from others but also there will be 8 prizes given away with this launch.

I have become a member and I encourage you to join so we can all learn and enjoy photography from each other.

My Giveaway of 2 Signed Prints

Well it’s now September and as I stated in a previous articles, I will be giving away 2 signed prints of your choice by random selection. All that you have to do is leave a comment in any article published in the month of September that lets me know you want a free print. You do need to mention the word ‘print’ so that I don’t confuse a comment with a spam comment. If you don’t feel comfortable with a public comment then please contact me via email.

I will be collecting the requests during the entire month and at the end of September I will, with the aid of a random number generator, select the 2 winners. These will be shipped for free to anywhere in the world (I hope you are not in an Antarctic station right now) in a tube container.

The images will be your choice and up to a size of approximately 13in x 19in on archival paper. The prints will be signed but un-numbered as they will not be from my limited edition series of which there are only a few now.

You can either view the images I have on various sites and select one or if you wish, I will ask if you have any preferences and select sample images for your review.

Back to Sun, Earth and Moon Composite

In the fields I saw these flowers in several stages of opening to the full flower and one particular set reminded me of the planets with the Sun Earth and its Moon. I decided to take an image of each flower against a black backdrop and combine them as a composite.

I tried to do a similar image with the original flowers in situ but because of their short stature (8 inches high) and their various lengths of growth I was not successful in sufficiently blurring the grass and having all flower tops crisp and in focus. The image below shows these plants as found.

With this tripod setup I did take an image with each flower in focus and then another set progressively blurring the grass below. I thought I might be able to create a semi-real image with sharp flowers and blurred grass but when working on the images I soon realized just how much work it would be to finalize an image. The main problem was trying to blend in the different stalk DOF blurs into a realistic image.

Even the black background version took 2 hours with a Photoshop file of 250Mb and containing 16 layers.

I have a drop cloth that I use while painting and I tried a few with this as the background instead of the black as shown below.

While there is interesting texture I don’t think it was going to work as well in a 3-image composite. As I am accumulating more and more paint on this drop cloth I realize that this will form a very interesting abstract background that I can use for photography.

If you know a professional painter, you may buy him or her a drop cloth to use and wait a few months to collect your new background photographic cloth.

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Niels Henriksen


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