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Thursday, 22 March 2012


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Mike - that reminded me of a similar experience, when someone was sure that he gave me back my copy of a book hand-signed by its author, Joe McNally, and I'm sure I never got it back. Just posted something about the one hour long meeting with Joe on my blog at http://wolfgang.lonien.de/2012/03/and-now-for-something-completely-different/ if I may post that link here. At least it also contains another present Joe made to us: a portrait of my brother.

There's no such word as "alright"

Wow Photoshop 6 Beta comes out and nary a comment. This junk is just drivel man get with it ! OK call me the nutcracker

Hi Mike. Yourself, Ctein and others often touch on this topic but rarely give more than a glimpse of the answer. What makes a photograph (such as the untitled lady on the swing) so collectable and valuable? It's a nice photo. But is its value due to collectors perceiving it as being an extraordinary photo? Or is the value more closely linked to the reputation of the photographer and any emotional responses that their name might elicit? In which case, could any well above-average photographer become highly desirable and collectable with the right promotion and marketing? (My analytical brain is trying to figure out how the art world works....).

I seriously hope these were dye-transfer NOT inkjet prints - come on!

I get the part about it being "lost." Our school purchased a set of Edward Weston 50th Anniversary Portfolio when it was first printed. They just hung the photos on the wall, in frames with the photos in contact with the glass. The good news is that the photos were later re-framed appropriately. Well, most of them. Among the missing is the nude of Charis. I have this sad idea that some kid stole it off the wall, and later his parents found it and tossed it in the trash! At any rate, it is "lost" to us.

"Not bad for a living photographer."
Yeah, but what is more impressive is that they are first sale prices i.e. sold by the artist not secondary market prices.

All to often I hear artists saying something like "It's nice that my early work is selling for millions of dollars , I wish I still had some of it."

>> John Camp wrote: There's no such word as "alright"

Says Who?

Dear JC,

You gotta get a second OED, so you have one for each house. It says "alright" is a "frequent spelling" (not misspelling)for "all right."

pax / Ctein

"There's no such word as 'alright'"

Well, blame the Who, not me.

But there's this, from the American Heritage English Dictionary:

"Usage Note: Despite the appearance of the form alright in works of such well-known writers as Langston Hughes and James Joyce, the single word spelling has never been accepted as standard. This is peculiar, since similar fusions such as already and altogether have never raised any objections. The difference may lie in the fact that already and altogether became single words back in the Middle Ages, whereas alright has only been around for a little more than a century and was called out by language critics as a misspelling. Consequently, one who uses alright, especially in formal writing, runs the risk that readers may view it as an error or as the willful breaking of convention."


I've always liked "alright" and was happy to see both Merriam-Webster and American Heritage come around on it. And no, it's not the same as "all right". Compare for example "The candidates are alright" vs. "The candidates are all right".

maybe not, but there just happens to be a song, written by Pete Townsend of The Who and recorded on their 1965 album 'My Generation', entitled The kids are alright. Quite a famous song at the time, as well.

Look at the size of these prints: 44x60! Is that the way it's done in galleries now? Ansel Adams' museum series was more like 11x14, from an 8x10 negative.

DB said:

"Says Who?"

Made me laugh.

Anyway, in a world where English is becoming (at least for now) a kind of universal language, I think we need to maintain standard spellings as often as is reasonable. Otherwise, we'll completely loose control and the language will become even harder to learn.

"Otherwise, we'll completely loose control and the language will become even harder to learn."

Now you are just trying to goad me, Camp. [g]


In response to "alright" I submit to you this: http://youtu.be/J7E-aoXLZGY

I'm not sure why people give inkjet a hard time-doesn't "no one cares how hard you worked" apply hear with regard to dye transfer vs. inkjet?

Eggleston had a show at the whitney not so long ago and he showed prints from a variety of methods, dt, chromogenic, inkjet- they all looked like "his" work and "his" colour- in fact the inkjet looked better than the dt! to my eye.

obviously I will defer to the resident authority on dt but was it not primarily a commercial repro tool when first developed and then later artists cottoned on to it for the control over colour it offered-? ie technology solving a problem - colour control - better than the offerings of the day- chromogenic has such poor permanence, ciba was god-awful imo. but then maybe I never saw a good ciba.

in that sense when inkjet came along and is now very mature- 12 colour inksets, what looks like incredible permanence so far jury is out- this is just a technology like dt that offers excellent control over reproduction, its not about how hard you worked- ie; separations, coating (for carbon processes etc).

Fresson still does a multi-colour carbon process out of Paris- a family owned shop- they are gorgeous- however- doesn't gelatin harden over time and crack?

I've seen some doggy looking dt's after a while too- yellowing- just as bad as chromogenic.

in the end is it not about how the print actually looks and displays over time?

Regarding the timing of the shot on the couch I mention in the original blog post. I shared the post with Larry Larsen who commented

I think that it was shot on the same day, the self portrait being first and not much time difference, look at the shadow on the couch arm.

to which I responded

I wasn't too sure about sun angles when I wrote that. I though the self-shot (or assistant shot?) was later given the changing in light on the trunk behind the couch. But I don't know if it was just shadowed by something else. Your argument from the shadows on the couch arm is much more convincing: they're in the sun both times and the tree branch shadows have moved. Nice catch.

Thinking more on this ... it depends upon whether the shots are taken before noon or after noon.

From the shadows we know the sun is higher in the "old lady" shot than the WE shot so the old lady shot was taken closer to local noon.

If it was taken in the morning then the WE shot is before the "old lady" shot.

If it was taken in the afternoon/evening then the "old lady" shot is before the WE shot.

The other thing to notice about the two shots is the "lady on the couch" shot is much more saturated (in the couch colors) than the Eggleston "self-portrait" (I'm not sure if he shot it). I suspect the latter is closer to "straight out of the camera" and the former is "Photoshopped".

I also recently had a brief email exchange with Ctein about the original uses of dye transfer printing. I asked: Was dye transfer printing effectively the "Mad Men's" Photoshop? After they mad a manipulated DT print did they use that for color separation then publication? What was the workflow?

To which Ctein replied:

Yes, the workflow was that the dye transfer print was manipulated, either by painting directly on the matrices to change colors (one of the labs of the time had an advertisement that showed exactly the same color photograph of exactly the same swimsuit model, and in each variation the swimsuit was a different color) or bleaching and retouching the prints themselves, or in really elaborate cases doing a composite collage by printing several sets of matrices on the same sheet of final paper. It was, indeed, the Photoshop of the darkroom. Separations for reproduction were then made from the dye transfer prints.

It's important to remember that dye transfer printing was more a tool than an "end user" printing method though Eggleston realized that he could use both.

For those puzzled by contemporary art market (which is driven by all sorts of things not related to aesthetics or "art") you should read "The $12 Million Stuffed Shark" by Don Thompson. It's both humorous and insightful.


That picture was made in 1971 so Eggleston is just aging out of the "contemporary art market" (1970 is often used as a cut off date - it perhaps to needs to jump ahead another few years). He has made an important artistic contributions to photography and is probably one of the names that will survive into the future (unlike most "contemporary art" artists).

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