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Thursday, 18 October 2012


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Put me down for a copy please.

I looked at all the photos on Mr Surloff website after your post about his work, and I can assure you that you already have a buyer for the (potential (eventually)) upcoming book.

I'm down for one of those!

Very cool! Definitely exciting for both sides I bet.

Excellent news! Can't wait to order a copy of "Mark Surloff, out of the interwebs." :)

This is great news! It is very inspiring how he is able to compose superb pictures out of quite ordinary scenes. The contrast and tonality is also very attractive.

Well done to both you and Mark.

Extremely nice composite work. Mark's PS skill is first rate over all. Obviously most of these are not single exposure shots, but composites done very well. What a wonderful and fun design sense and sense of humor in many of them. The only one I immediately found obvious was this one, the man in the water to the right just looks wrong.


Hi Robert, thanks for taking time to comment on my photographs. While I admire all forms of creative photography, my approach is very straightforward. My portfolio consists of only straight, single exposure images.

"Obviously most of these are not single exposure shots, but composites done very well."

Robert- Forgive me if I missed something on Mark Surloff's site where he states as much, but you absolutely and "obviously" know these are composites from viewing low res jpegs online because...

I've been a little obsessed with Mark's work since it was first featured here a few days ago - so much so that I was looking around for something to sell so I could afford one of his prints. I would much prefer a book so I could own more than one.

Mike, please make this real. And Mark, love your work.

Outstanding work (and good improvement on the site's navigation). I await news of the book.

This is the kind of work that makes it hard for a pleb photog like me want to get up in the morning. Fantastic!

As I spent an hour looking at Mark Surloff's images via the link provided here, I was amused, surprised, and delighted that Mr. Surloff's eye could find such things. In some of the images, I saw less contrast than I might have looked for, as Matt Greer pointed out, but it seems that Mr. Surloff used his take on contrast to accentuate other aspects of his compositions. I am surely learning from his beautiful images to take another look at my usual desire for " almost black and almost white and every shade in between" as a rule. Sometimes, as he shows, other approaches to contrast are very effective.
What a treat to see such a collection of work that is so easy to celebrate. Thanks Mike.

Where is the preorder link?

Oh yes, Mark's website is much better now.

I reckon I'll have to be ordering another book next spring. I'll see if I am fast enough to get one before they sell out. Japan would be around 15-16 hours ahead of US Central I believe. I am usually up at odd hours, so I only very rarely miss something because it is sold out. (Might be better off financially, if I did miss a little more often.)

Sigh, I suppose shipping to the UK will be usurious, I'm in. If there is sufficient advantage to doing so, I could accept a shipment of prepacked books for the UK and take them across the road to my post office and post them from here.

And Mark, as one of those who commented adversely about the old website, thank you.

This is marvelous! I don't always love your editorial choices, but they're always *good*. I am excited by the possibility of ToP shepherding photography books to press.

Holy cow!

When I see work this good it makes me wonder if I've taken a good photo...ever.

Mark might be my favorite photographer.

Looking at Mark's work, again and again, is truly an inspiration! I think it could be a lesson to us all that great images can be found anywhere.

I think many or most of us, at one time or another, have found ourselves in some naturally photogenic places, where not much more is needed than to point the camera and release the shutter to obtain good photos. I can at least speak for myself that after visits like this, it's easy for me to think I have grown as a photographer for making such good photos which, in fact, took no particular skill or vision to make.

Mark has shown us (or at least me) that great compositions are all around us and it is indeed, the photographer's eye that can turn an everyday, ordinary scene into an extraordinary photograph. Truly excellent work Mark!

I'll be looking forward to your book - it would indeed be one of the few that I would purchase without a second thought!

I like his subjects and compositions a whole lot. Unlike some others here I find some of it too contrasty and too clinical/digital-looking for my taste. Like Tmax that was hit too many times with NeatImage software. Thankfully the subject and superior presentation through the composition and such override that for me on many.

Definite buyer here! Awesome.

"get a point as close to white as possible, and a point as close to black as possible, and work the curves to really enhance the mid-tone contrast."

... Yes... back in my busiest photo-club days, over 20 years ago, there was a movement from Russia, with these super-ultra contrasty pictures which still had details everywhere. A spokesman of the "movement" said: "print everything on paper no 5 (highest contrast), and then practice 1000 hours in darkroom!)

I feel I was a bit ruined by all the tech talk in those days. It is only now that I can see that sometimes a photo speaks to me more if I press the shadows down into black instead of obsessively keeping detail over all the tone scale.

It's really arbitrary. It's like somebody made a rule that *every* line in architecture must be either perfectly horizontal or vertical.

robert harshman: "The only one I immediately found obvious was this one, the man in the water to the right just looks wrong."

It does look odd but it's from a single photo.

One thing it reminds me of is what's called in the CGI world "the floating chair effect" due to lighting (or incorrect gamma) problems the shadows cast by an object are "less than expected", by the visual system in the brain, for that item to look like it is supported by a plane.

You can see the effect in this image. The ball is actually "on" the floor (the lowest point of the ball is touching the floor plane).

This crops up in an explanation of getting the right gamma correction at the right point in a linear gamma CGI workflow but anything that reduces the shadows below an object (image tone manipulations or light added) can give rise to this visual illusion.


Hey Stan B, don't get all upset over my view of these. Mark has commented that they are single exposures, I'll take him at his word. They are wonderful images as I said, just so many improbable views that I thought they must be composites, but Mark has stated that they are not, so OK.

Awesome! I liked one of his photos enough I looked at buying a print. Out of my price range unfortunately but maybe I could justify a whole book of them...

Robert- I've learned the hard way myself... still do, often.

Slightly offtopic, but wanting to examine the contrast range a little closer, I went googling and found a Histogram Viewer add-on for the Firefox browser. Very handy for photogs. Unfortunately, it doesn't work very well on Mark's gallery as the thick white borders cause excessively high values at the extreme right end of the graph.

One notable thing I like about Mark's work: although each shot contains multiple planes of depth, they generally rely on the viewer seeing them as "flat" to make sense of the composition. It's like that Winogrand thing of attempting to solve a visual problem within each frame.

I worked as Mark's assistant for many years and have gone shooting with him as well. Also I have been present during processing. He uses single shot and does very little processing. He also has achieved these results with different cameras. Hope this clears this issue up for those nonbelievers.

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