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Archive for the ‘Exhibit’ Category

Reading the signs at the SLAM

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I read the signs at the Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM):

• The works of art in this gallery have been temporarily removed during construction.

• This object has been temporarily removed. Purpose: Examination.

• Many of the Museum’s amenities and services have been temporarily relocated during construction.

• This exhibition contains mature content. Parental discretion is advised.

• Installation in progress. Please pardon the inconvenience.

• Caution, monitoring in progress.

• Please pardon the inconvenience, this elevator is out of service during construction.

• This stairwell is temporarily closed during construction. Please use the main elevator across Sculpture Hall to access the lower level galleries.

• Many of the Museum’s amenities and services have been temporarily relocated during construction.

• The Museum Auditorium is closed.

• During the current phase of construction, we have limited restroom facilities.

• The Richardson Memorial Library is open by appointment only. Please visit the Information Center in Sculpture Hall for assistance.

• The works of art in this gallery have been temporarily removed during construction

• Gallery closures and art movement throughout the Museum are anticipated as we make progress on our exciting expansion project.

• Your patience is appreciated.

• Thank you for your patience.

Written by dominiquejames

June 27, 2011 at 9:46 AM

Interesting and nice

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About the Brownmonkeys:

The Brownmonkeys is a design collective based in Dubai. Purveyor of the lowbrow movement in the region. A group of multi-disciplinary artists. They consist of graphic designers, illustrators, painters, musicians, photographers and videographers. The Brownmonkeys offer an alternative approach to contemporary art and design, keeping the whole work process fun and without inhibition. They have strength in numbers, varied sensibilities and kaleidescope of ideas.

They are: brave, independent, bold, and powerful.

Texture

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20110622-020512.jpg

A picture of patterns, textures, tones, lines, swirls and forms such as this keeps the eyes looking in every which way. With nothing exactly to fix on, the image becomes merely an impression. We see it even if we don’t really focus on it.

[Photography by Dominique James. Copyright © 2011. All rights reserved.]

A flickering of daily pictures

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It’s all in every day’s work: the pictures and their captions. Take a look. And if you like it, be sure to let me know.

Oh, by the way, the pictures also tumbles here, day in and day out.

Please feel free to share, and thanks!

Hang it!

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Written by dominiquejames

June 21, 2011 at 9:54 AM

Tumbling your pictures out into the net …

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BY DOMINIQUE JAMES

It doesn’t make sense to own and use a digital camera, and not have an online platform or two to share pictures taken with them. Digital pictures yearn to be free. The pictures you take doesn’t mean a thing if they remain stuck in some sort of limbo in an SD or CF card, stored on computer’s internal or external hard disk, or stashed in stacks of optical media, and no one sees them. It’s as if you haven’t taken any pictures at all!

There are a number of excellent websites out there that anyone can sign up to (most of which are free), and post pictures taken with all sorts of digital cameras—from mobile phones to DSLRs. I’ve tried a number of them, and I continue to use many of them—every single day, in fact. Since I constantly take pictures, I just as constantly push them all out into the net.

Of the many online photo sharing sites where I put out my pictures, one of my favorites (and one that I highly recommend) is Tumblr.

I like Tumblr because, over all, it is absolutely fun to use. And it has enabled me to link with communities of very interesting like-minded people from all over the world.

I’ve been using Tumblr for years. My statistics (as of today), will bear this out:

• I’m following 468 people
• I’ve liked 15,859 posts
• I’ve so far made 2,111 posts
• And, I have 246 followers

That’s it, “so far.”

If you’re curious about how my Tumblr called [dj:ny] looks like (where I post at least one photo a day), click here.

But while Tumblr is an excellent photo sharing site, admittedly, it isn’t just a photo sharing site. And although I use it mainly to showcase my photographs (yep, that’s the photographer in me), Tumblr is quite flexible and good for many, many other things.

On their About Tumblr page, it says: “Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos, from your browser, phone, desktop, email, or wherever you happen to be. You can customize everything, from colors, to your theme’s HTML.”

In other words, it’s the quick and easy and fast and simple way to put all sort of things out there on the web (specially pictures, if I may say so myself) without being dumbed down and limited by the 140-character restriction or without being intimidated by convoluted long-form blogging platforms. It’s right there safely in the middle. And, did I say it’s fun?

The real added bonus of course is that I get to join in many utterly fascinating online interactions with the awesome members of the growing Tumblr community. These Tumblerites (what Tumblr users are lovingly called) are certainly an intelligent and cool bunch!

Now, this is the part where I have to say that for all the terrific things that Tumblr is, it isn’t perfect. Many long-time Tumblerites will be able to tell you that there are hiccups (also known as “service interruptions”) that you might encounter when sharing or when looking at post. It can get annoying but it doesn’t really happen all the time. You sometimes even forget that it happens at all.

Tumblr explains these mostly small and minor incidents (although there were a couple of really huge ones), as “inherently” part and parcel of their growing pains, which, if you ask me, is just as inherently understandable. Tumblr has been growing by leaps and bounds these past few months, so it’s almost forgivable when they encounter setbacks. But what’s reassuring is that the people behind Tumblr have come out to the online community and have made public their plans in upgrading their facilities, which, in turn, is designed to hopefully improve their service even as they grow. In any case, as much as they and everyone wants everything to work out well, the occasional hiccups are unavoidable.

Still, despite these, I trust Tumblr. They’ve made good on a lot of their promise to upgrade facilities and improve service. And, as far as I know, there hasn’t been some sort of mass defection. Sure, there has been a lot of loud and noisy complains about Tumblr’s occasional erratic and unpredictable service, but it seems they are holding on pretty well. Their service has, in fact, and as far as I can tell, has improved considerably in recent weeks.

So, if you’re curious about putting out your pictures (and yes, other stuff too) out into the net, consider Tumblr as an excellent platform to do so. To sign up with Tumblr for free, click here.

[Note: I am not in any way affiliated with Tumblr. I’m just one happy Tumblerite. Also, for free professional advise and consultation on advertising and commercial photography and visual media design, send me an email at dominiquejames@mac.com. And, you can view and purchase my fine art photographs online at Zatista’s website. Thanks.]

The essential cutting-edge photo printing techniques of yore

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BY DOMINIQUE JAMES

Do you know what are some of the most important pre-digital photo printing techniques? Can you name a few of these photo printing methods? Or, how about describing the difference and similarities between an ambrotype and a woodburytype? Do you even know what they are?

Before the advent of digital photo printing processes, photo prints were created through various, and oftentimes time-consuming, elaborate, laborious means, based on the known and prevailing high technology of the times. And yes, including ambrotype and woodburytype processess. Long before you are able to print photos by simply and conveniently feeding an inkjet printer with a photo paper and pressing a button, you might be surprised to find out how hard and difficult it used to be in photographically printing images.

During my recent excursion to San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), I had the pleasure of viewing the museum’s permanent collection of precious photo prints on exhibit. Entitled Picturing Modernity: The Photography Collection, this fascinating exhibition is a showcase of SFMoMA’s photography collection that includes pictures form the mid-1800s to the present, highlighting key moments in the development of the medium. The presentation I viewed focused on topographic photography, highlighting pictures that focus on the natural and architectural surfaces of the land, from 19th-century surveys of cultural monuments to contemporary works.

One of the fascinating sections presented in this major photography exhibit focused on six antique photographic processes. Excellent examples of each of the processes were featured. Below are SFMoMA’s brief description of each of the historically important photo printing technologies of yore that the museum featured.

AMBROTYPE

Ambrotypes are named for James Ambrose Cutting, who popularized the process during the 1860s in the United States. A glass plate is coated with collodion (gun cotton dissolved in ether) and dipped in a silver nitrate bath, making it sensitive to light. While still wet, the plate is exposed in a camera and developed to produce a negative with whitish tones in the light areas and clear glass in the dark areas. Backed with an opaque coating or viewed against a dark background, the areas of light and dark read as positive. Ambrotypes do not originate from negatives and are thus unique objects. They require protection in miniature cases because the glass plates and collodion emulsion are extremely fragile.

TINTYPE

Tintypes were extremely popular in America in the 1860s. They are produced on thin sheets of iron coated with an opaque black or brown lacquer. The lacquered metal is made sensitive to light with an application of collodion containing silver salts, then is immediately exposed in a camera and developed. The process is essentially the same for producing a collodion negative, and, in fact, tin types are negative images; it is the dark, lacquered background that produces the effect of a positive image. Tintypes were often placed in decorative frames or miniature cases like those used to protect daguerreotypes and ambrotypes. Hand painting was frequently employed to compensate for their lackluster tonal range.

ALBUMEN PRINT

Widely used until the 1890s, albumen prints are characterized by their glossy surfaces and sharp image definition. They are made by floating thin paper in an egg-white (or albumen) mixture containing salt. This mixture coats the paper, giving it a smooth, shiny surface when dry. The paper is then made light sensitive with silver nitrate and exposed to sunlight in contact with a negative, which is typically made of glass or waxed paper. The resulting image is permanently fixed by bathing the paper in a solution of hyposulfite and water. Toning during processing, often with gold chloride, yields variations in color and make the image more permanent.

CYANOTYPE

Cyanotypes were first introduced in 1842 by Sir John Herschel. They are made by brushing ordinary paper with an iron-salt solution that produces bright blue pigments when exposed to light. Once dry, the sensitized paper is placed in sunlight while in contact with a glass plate negative or other image source, such as a plant specimen, until the image appears on the paper. The paper is then washed in water to stop the development process. The materials used to make cyanotypes are essentially the same as those used today to reproduce architectural blueprints.

SALT PRINTS

William Henry Fox Talbot first introduced salt prints in 1839. They are made by immersing ordinary writing paper in salt water and then coating one side with a solution of silver nitrate, thereby embedding light-sensitive silver chloride in the paper’s fibers. A negative is placed on top of the sensitized paper and exposed to sunlight until an image appears. the print is then made permanent with sodium thiosulfate (hypo) and can be toned for greater permanence and richer hues. Occasionally the paper is pretreated with a thin coating of albumen, which makes the surface slightly glossy. Because multiple salt prints can be made from a single negative, this process made it feasible to reproduce photographs in albums and books.

WOODBURYTYPE

The woodburytype process was patented in 1864 by Walter Bentley Woodbury and used until about 1900 to create continuous-tone photographic reproductions in books. A glass sheet dusted with talc is coated first with collodion and then with bichromated gelatin. When illuminated under a negative, the gelatin hardens in proportion to exposure. The gelatin is then separated from the talc-dusted glass and washed to remove any remaining unhardened material. The result is a relief that is applied under heavy pressure to a lead plate, creating a mold. The mold is inked with pigmented gelatin–usually purplish brown in color–and the image is transferred to paper in a printing press. Unlike other early photo-mechanical processes, woodburytypes lack a grain pattern and are admired for thier luminosity and subtle tonal range.

The photographs in Picturing Modernity: The Photography Collection date back to the invention of the medium. Learn more about the photographic processes from a fully illustrated information sheet that you can freely download or view in a convenient single-page PDF format.

Nowadays, although it can still be done, hardly anyone does any of the above photo printing methods anymore. However, it’s always a good idea for digital shooters to learn their roots, particularly to discover how difficult it used to be to print pictures, and hopefully, along the way, gain appreciation for the ease and convenience afforded by today’s digital photo printing techniques.

Written by dominiquejames

April 2, 2008 at 11:31 PM

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