Behind the Scenes – Bank Square Photo Exhibition in Beacon, NY

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I’ve been hard at work on my new ebook, Digital Fine Art Printing | A Photographer’s Field Guide which I hope to release soon. I also have two more books in the works, so needless to say, it’s been a busy few months with less time to contribute to the blog than I’d like.  I’ll have more info on the book soon including some special promotions, but in the meantime I wanted to share info on my current exhibition at Bank Square Coffee House in my home town of Beacon, NY.

It will be up now through the end of January and features 12 large limited edition prints all sized 26 x 36. I also want to share some behind the scenes info on the prints, some equipment, and exhibitions in general.

See all of the images plus detailed photographer notes of each image on Evernote.

Papers

I printed most of the photographs on Canson Infinity Platine Fiber Rag which has become my favorite paper for the majority of my work. The exceptions were two images that for me require a more “subtle” and “painterly” interpretation, and for those I chose Edition Etching 310, a really beautiful matte paper with a subtle texture and rich color.

I’m often asked how I choose papers, so this is a good example where I didn’t quite get the look I wanted from the Platine, and decided to reprint with the Edition. This is not based on any limitation of the paper per se, but rather on how I want the image to come across to the viewer. Yes, I can certainly modify the Raw file to make it more subtle, but that still doesn’t take into account the characteristics of the paper and how it impacts the final print. That also leaves the digital version compromised because it’s not exactly how I’d like it to look either. So for me, each step in the workflow should be finalized before I move on to the next. Once I have the image looking exactly how I want it on screen, then I choose a paper that best reproduces that look and feel in a print. Like everything else, practice and experience help…

Canon iPF8400

I printed all of the images on my Canon iPF8400 ProGraf printer which I really love even more that my previous iPF8100. It’s certainly much faster which means I don’t have to wait as long to make each print (though I always let each print dry for 24 hours before framing.)

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Another feature I love is Canon’s Media Configuration Tool which lets me import custom “am1” files for each paper. This native file holds the head height, vacuum strength, black ink type, maximum ink capacity, feeding calibration, and the paper name. Unlike Epson printers (which only has the ability to use existing Epson paper types), Canon allows you to create or import a media type from scratch and name it to your specifications. So when I add these custom files provided from Canson, I can choose all of the Canson papers right from the iPF8400 menu making it easy and simple to use these papers.

And finally, the print quality is beautiful – amazing detail, rich saturated colors, and great tonal depth and separation – I could’t be happier with the quality I’m getting out of the iPF8400.

Extras

Another must have product in my studio is the D-Roller. Because I mostly use rolls, the curl on fiber based papers is especially difficult to remove. Yes I’ve tried DIY de-curlers in the past with mixed results, but once I tried the D-Roller at a friends studio, I knew I had to have one immediately! it just plain works.

I sign and number all of my fiber based prints with a Staedtler pigment marker and the matte prints with a standard #2 pencil. I sign on the bottom right of the print making sure to leave enough space for the mat which I cut to leave a 1/2” border all around the image. This way my signature and the paper is visible once framed.

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While I do title my prints, I do not write captions on prints any longer and prefer to include the title in the certificate of authenticity that I attach to the back of each print. This is personal preference— I just prefer to keep the presentation as minimal and simple as possible and not distract from the actual photograph.

Finally, I use Tru-Vue anti-reflective museum glass when possible, it just looks so much better than standard UV glass especially in poorly lit environments. Yes it’s much more expensive, but the benefits are worth it – the prints look closer to the how they’d look without glass. In fact I’ve exhibited prints without glass in the past for this very reason, but that’s impractical if you plan to sell the work.

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Final Thoughts

Yes it’s hard work and expensive to create a photography exhibit—and it’s not something I agree to do just because I’m asked or invited. In fact I’ve become very selective about where I show my work. I’d love to show anytime I’m asked, but the financial and economic reality is not that simple, so I try to make judgements about when it’s worth committing the time and money.

I certainly encourage you to show your work at every opportunity, but make sure it’s really an opportunity and not just someone trying to get free artwork for their space or store. This seems to have become very common over the years, and I’ve fallen prey to exhibitions where I really should have done more research.

While a coffee shop might not like the best environment to exhibit photography, this is my office away from home, many of the photographs are local, and the owners (Buddy & Katy) are dear friends who support my work at every opportunity. That’s a winning combination that doesn’t require much effort on my part.

If you’re in town, stop by Bank Sq to check out the exhibition, and ask for me at the counter – I just may be in the back writing away on the new book! I’m always up for a chat – – Please Visit!

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Comments, questions, or feedback, please let me know below in the comments – I’m always happy to help.

New Exhibit at Bank Square Coffee House

Three Gossips at Sunset

Three Gossips at Sunset

I just opened a new show at the Bank Sq Coffee House in my hometown of Beacon New York, and it will be on display until the end of Jan 2012. It features 11 large prints of landscape images I’ve made over the course of the past year or so, many of which I have shared and written about here. It’s also great to have Canson Infinity as a sponsor of the show, and I am very grateful to them for their confidence and support. It’s not often these days you find international companies willing to support small shows in local communities.

This exhibit is somwewhat different from ones I’ve done in the past in terms of how I’ve chosen to display the photographs. I wanted to bring viewers as close to the landscapes as possible, sort of the effect you get with canvas prints without any framing or glass to come between them. But instead of canvas, I wanted to print on my favorite paper, Canson Platine Fibre Rag, which for me translates the image as faithfully as I remember experiencing it in the field. I wanted the experience to be the same as when a print comes out of the printer, and you are able to appreciate all of the subtle details of the image and the paper.

 

At the same time I wanted viewers to perhaps come closer to appreciating the process of making a print, and how it interprets the original image, or the “performance” as Ansel so famously said. For me the print is half the process of making a successful image, and I wanted to make that clear, in all senses of the word, to the viewer. This meant no frame or glass, or other protective coating, and while this is nothing new in the art world, it was for me.

The only way I knew to do this effectively and economically was to mount the prints to 3/8 self-adhesvive gatorfoam, which is lightweight but very rigid. I printed the images on my Canon iPF8100 with a 2″ white border all around, then mounted them to the 24 x 36 gatorboards and trimmed the excess paper to create a clean and even look. I then glued two small strips of wood to the back for hanging purposes. The wood strips also help to lift the boards off of the wall an inch or so, creating a nice depth to the prints. To me this creates the desired visual effect which is very intimate and striking. I know this is detrimental to the prints themselves since they are not protected from things like dust and other airborne elements, but my emphasis was on viewing, and not on selling these specific prints.

 

The other aspect about this show that I want to make is that I really enjoy showing my work in settings like a local coffee house. So often people are intimidated by galleries and art-speak that I feel it interferes with the enjoyment and appreciation of the art work. I’ve never been one to call my own work “art”, that’s for others to decide. For me it is my personal expression of what I am passionate about, and I want that to have the potential to be appreciated by anyone, regardless of any other factor.

Plus coffee houses attract all kinds of people, so you never know who will see the work. I have made sales and picked up new clients from past shows, so anything is possible. I am not being negative abut galleries, on the contraty they have helpe me immesnsely as well, you just have to find the right galleries for your particular style and subject matter.

If you happen to be local, stop in and take a look. I will be having an opening reception in a few weeks and I’ll let you know as soon as I have a time and date.

Bank Square Coffee House – 129 Main St, Beacon, NY  Open 6am- pm

Bank Square Coffee House Installs “Mighty Storm King” Mural

Beacon, NYBank Square Coffee House installed Robert Rodriguez Jr’s “Mighty Storm King” mural at their main street location. Bank Square Coffee House is Beacon’s newest and finest coffeehouse featuring high quality Hudson Valley roasted coffee and vegan baked goods.  Long time Beacon residents, Leonard and Katy (owners) are outdoor enthusiasts who wanted to bring the beauty of the Hudson Valley “inside” for their  local patrons and tourists to enjoy. They also own Mountain Tops Outfitters, an outdoor recreational shop (right across the street), offering all the gear and apparel needed for hiking and kayaking.

The 54 x 128 mural is at their main entrance and depicts Storm King Mountain, a popular landmark in the Hudson Valley.  In the 1960’s, Con Ed proposed to build a pumped storage hydroelectric power plant at the mountain to meet the rapidly expanding power demand in the New York City region. This marked the beginnings of a new era of environmental advocacy in the U.S.

Thanks to objections of the locals and the formation of Scenic Hudson , today Storm King Mountain remains a national landmark representing the start of the modern environmental movement.

For locally grown coffee, smoothies, teas, vegan baked goods, visit Bank Square Coffeehouse at 129 Main Street, Beacon, NY.

If you would like to bring nature into your corporate, retail or office environment as a fine art print, canvas, or mural, please call us for a free consultation at 888-425-4755.