Summer print sale

For two weeks starting from today I'm offering 30% off all print purchases in my summer sale. You can buy a single print or more than one, and receive the discount. Simply use the code ALL30 at the checkout.

To launch this little sale, I'm offering a chance to win one of my small (A4) prints. All you have to do to enter is to re-tweet the tweet shown below. The competition will remain open for one week from today and the winner will be picked at random. I will contact you by Twitter direct mail if you win. No cash equivalent is offered and the print in question will be of my own choosing.

Photography advertising, the invisible influence

The other day I came across a reproduction of a Leica advert from the late 1990s. They were advertising the then latest incarnation of the famous Leica rangefinder, the M6 TTL. As you might expect, the advert is aspirational and contains a carefully crafted studio shot of the camera.
 
The advert got me thinking about photography advertising, and more specifically its influence on me. We live in a world of sublimated desires driven by consumer advertising. We might not always reflect consciously on the effects of advertising, but they are measurable and real, as the gargantuan advertising budgets of the multi-national corporations attest.
 
What if my regard for my Leica M6 TTL was a product, albeit an indirect one, of this advert from the late 1990s? I don’t think I remember it specifically, and yet it has something of an uncanny familiarity. I had a little chuckle to myself, rolling this possibility around in my head. It may not be the whole story - I should hope not, a big chunk of my practice nought but the fulfilment of a market instruction - but there is a strong possibility that my desires were at some level shaped by the adverts of the time. It is sometimes said that we acquire in later life the cameras we once lusted after in our youth and when money was too short to make the dream a reality.
 
I wonder what other photography advertising has helped to shape my choices and paths through equipment and practice? I wonder which ones have shaped yours?
 

#TreePhotoGallery, Part 2

This week I'm pleased to present #TreePhotoGallery, Part 2.

In Part 1, I gathered together a fine selection of tree photographs by photographers on Twitter. The quantity and quality of submissions following my original call for work was so high that I promised a Part 2 - a promise I happily now keep.

I hope you enjoy the work. 

Tom Rayfield, Walk The Faded Line.

Tom Rayfield, Walk The Faded Line.

Tom's delicate piece cocks a snoot at the notion that central placement is to be avoided. The tonality is stunning: it allows the tree to be 'just' emergent; the viewer continues to do a double-take as the tree shimmers like a grey mirage. There is a tonal lesson too: the range is constrained in the middle values - but just look at its effect! Leading lines are at work from the bottom and the sides.

Matias Takala (@elfsprite), Lone Pine, Ilford HP5+ film.

Matias Takala (@elfsprite), Lone Pine, Ilford HP5+ film.

Matias' image works on so many levels. What a fine juxtaposition of the vulnerable tiny growth in the foreground and the expansive water and forest behind. A successful landscape image so often stands or falls on the foreground-to-background relationship. Matias' image is a great example of how to get it right. 

Analoguephotolab (@analogue_photo), Orwocolour NC19 film.

Analoguephotolab (@analogue_photo), Orwocolour NC19 film.

I enjoy the pale tonality and somewhat humanoid-like posturing of Analoguephoto's trees. It's shot on Orwocolour, a film with an interesting history and idiosyncratic colour palette. I haven't tried it, but from what I've seen I imagine it isn't a film for all occasions. It's an excellent choice here.

Adi Taylor, Twisted, the Owler Tor Tree, Ilford Delta 100 film.

Adi Taylor, Twisted, the Owler Tor Tree, Ilford Delta 100 film.

Great photos take great subjects and add photographic magic. That's exactly the case with Adi's image. Not only is the tree itself brimming with visual interest, but Adi's treatment adds fine tonality and careful composition. The square format can be quite a challenge, but here it reinforces the tree's stocky, powerful form.

Tim Dobbs, A Tree At Sunset, expired Fuji NPS 160 film.

Tim Dobbs, A Tree At Sunset, expired Fuji NPS 160 film.

Some photographs have the power to awaken senses other than just your vision. Tim's monochromatic piece does that for me: I sense a whiff of the early morning fresh air; or the cool rush of the day's end. The sun is carefully positioned, its light breaking through the branches just above the horizon. Like Tom's image above the tonality is subtle, and gives away more as the eye delves deeper and gets accustomed to the lower darkness.

Lina Forrester, Afternoon, freelensed with a 50mm lens and a Nikon D5300 camera.

Lina Forrester, Afternoon, freelensed with a 50mm lens and a Nikon D5300 camera.

A clever use of freelensing by Lina conveys the impression of wavering branches and fragile flowers in this poetic black and white photograph. It has something of a dream-like quality, a moment glimpsed but somehow not quite fixed, as a photograph should. Transience is key.

Sandeep Surmal, Southbank, London, Ilford SFX film with Infrared R72 filter.

Sandeep Surmal, Southbank, London, Ilford SFX film with Infrared R72 filter.

I see so many infrared images in which the effect itself is dominant. They seem to say first and foremost: 'look how infrared transforms our visual world'. Sandeep's image uses the infrared effect, for sure, but it does more photographically, because the effect is in the service of the photo, not the other way around. With their leaves transformed, the trees mirror the lamp posts, leading our eye down the Southbank promenade. The partly ghostly people on the left add a lovely visual punctuation mark.

Lucy Wainwright, Fuji Superia 400 film.

Lucy Wainwright, Fuji Superia 400 film.

Lucy's image is one which reminds me why I enjoy shooting film so much. It's hard to put into words, but the medium, with its bluish cast and gritty grain, add a gravitas to the struggle of the stalwart, gnarly tree. It's an image of survival: of steadfast resistance in the face of nature's unforgiving side.

A fine image to end a fine collection.

Here's a quick link to #TreePhotoGallery, Part 1 in case you missed it.

 


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Hahnemühle Photo Matt Fibre 200 gsm paper

Make a start in fine art inkjet printing

There is a beguiling range of inkjet printing papers available on today’s market, many of which have specialist characteristics and applications. If you are new to inkjet printing, or indeed are simply in the mood for a different support, it can be difficult to know which paper to choose.

I have several paper types that I regularly use, each for a different purpose. Among these is a category that I might call the inkjet equivalent of a straight print in the darkroom. Having made a first stab at processing an image, I want to print it out and begin to make decisions on how to proceed. I will return to processing, print again, and repeat as necessary. Towards the end of this procedure I will include the final paper, usually one of the most expensive available. The paper I use first will be an ‘economical’ one (for reasons of economy, naturally), but, crucially, must not be so far removed from the final type as to introduce a jump or glitch in the process. It’s pointless to work on a draft version of a print, only to have to start processing from scratch once the end paper is introduced.

A paper has recently come to my attention that I have considered for this draft / straight print role. It is Hahnemühle Photo Matt Fibre 200 gsm. You have to tread carefully with affordable matt papers because at the lower end of the market you may not achieve the kind of quality you need. In point of fact, I remember thinking for some time that printing on matt supports wasn’t worth the trouble - until I discovered fine art matt media. The problem was that the image was rendered with a noticeable grainy structure (quite unlike film grain, incidentally) that gave the image a rather un-photographic quality. A quality matt paper will not suffer this, rendering your image in a smooth and photographic fashion, with good tonal transitions.

The price point of Photo Matt Fibre suggests that it is an economical but not a budget paper. It is significantly cheaper that Photo Rag Matt (one of my favourite final print papers), at nearly half the price. Hahnemühle themselves advertise it as a good first paper for fine art work. I’d like to second that view here and recommend it myself as a good place to start.

A draft print on Hahnemühle Photo Matt Fibre 200 gsm. Made using an Epson R3000 printer.

A draft print on Hahnemühle Photo Matt Fibre 200 gsm. Made using an Epson R3000 printer.

I like two things about this paper. First, it has the aforementioned quality of rendering a photographic-type image that I consider the sine qua non of inkjet printing. Second, it is not a thin paper at 200 gsm, and comes with a slight texture reminiscent of more expensive fine art matt papers. I can therefore get very close to my final print with this media, before using my preferred exhibition paper.

Good tonality, the ability to render sharp details and a gentle fine art texture are qualities of Photo Matt Fibre.

Good tonality, the ability to render sharp details and a gentle fine art texture are qualities of Photo Matt Fibre.

There are two possibilities here then, as I see it. Either you’re starting out and are on safe ground with this paper as a first matt paper choice and a taste of fine art printing; or you’re already printing and might consider it as a replacement to your draft matt. In either scenario Photo Matt is a sound, keenly priced option.

 

You can buy Photo Matt Fibre via this link from Amazon:


If you enjoyed my post, you might like to subscribe to my site here

Purchases made with Amazon following the links on my site help me cover costs for posting the content I make. I get a small commission from Amazon at no extra cost to you. Alternatively, you can donate directly here. Thank you for your kind support!

#TreePhotoGallery, Part 1

If you read my prior post you'll know this gallery has come about thanks to a whimsical call for photographers to confess with me an obsession for trees. Credit must be given to @EMULSIVEfilm and @AukjeKastelijn who were party to the original conversation. They do, however, take no responsibility for the gallery that follows, and the editorial choices and omissions are mine.

The response to the call has been quite amazing. Some very fine work has been shared, unfortunately more than I am able to include here. I clearly did, however, feel it was a pity not to give at least some of the work a home, hence this gallery. I have set aside more images for a 'Part 2', so watch this space.

I hope you enjoy the gallery.

 

Dustin Veitch, First Light August 2016, Ilford FP4+ film developed in Kodak HC110 1+100.

Dustin Veitch, First Light August 2016, Ilford FP4+ film developed in Kodak HC110 1+100.

An ethereal atmosphere dominates Dustin's black and white image. The play of light and shadow has an intangible quality, as if we could be looking at multiple exposures.

 

Ribnar Mazumdar, The Sentinels, Fuji Veliva 50 film.

Ribnar Mazumdar, The Sentinels, Fuji Veliva 50 film.

A colourful sky pervades Ribnar's image, but it is the play of scale that intrigues me. How big are the two dominant trees? The tower in the middle? The tiny trees at the bottom of the frame? A great use of composition and scale.

 

Matt Parry, Glowing Green, Provia 100f film.

Matt Parry, Glowing Green, Provia 100f film.

Matt's image has a strong graphic structure punctuated by the delicate, back-lit emerging leaves. A contrast of the old and immutable trunks, and the young, delicate regrowth.

 

Monika (@DrMarsRover), Silence, Paradise, Mt Rainier, Ilford HP5+ film.

Monika (@DrMarsRover), Silence, Paradise, Mt Rainier, Ilford HP5+ film.

In this near monochromatic image by Monika, trees take on the disguise of fallen snow. There is a palpable sense of the weight of the snow and the resistance put up by the unyielding trees. The strong diagonal from top left to bottom right visually reinforces this exchange of forces.

 

Barnaby Nutt, 200 Seconds Over Ullswater, shot digitally using a 10-stop neutral density filter.

Barnaby Nutt, 200 Seconds Over Ullswater, shot digitally using a 10-stop neutral density filter.

I particularly enjoy the crisp, shape-defining light in this neatly composed piece by Barnaby. The details are fine and the tonality expansive.

You can find more of Barnaby's work over at his website. Click his image above for the link or go to barnabynutt.com.

 

Emulsive (@EMULSIVEfilm), Kodak ULTRAMAX 400 film shot at EI 25.

Emulsive (@EMULSIVEfilm), Kodak ULTRAMAX 400 film shot at EI 25.

Emulsive's submission seemingly hails from another planet. It was born through experimentation, specifically pre-heating the film before development, that resulted in the strong colour cast. The treatment somehow suits the character of the tree, its shape and demeanour.

 

Nick Trujillo, Lone Cypress, Pebble Beach, CA, Fuji Reala 100 film, developed using an Arista C-41 kit.

Nick Trujillo, Lone Cypress, Pebble Beach, CA, Fuji Reala 100 film, developed using an Arista C-41 kit.

The choice of film and development have undoubtedly played a role in Nick's fine image. There's a relationship between colour palette, format and subject matter that sings to my eye. I also admire the careful framing - it can be really hard to manage the closer elements in such shots from afar.

 

Philip Constant, Two Trees, Santiam Hills, Ilford Delta 100 film, lab developed by Ilford USA

Philip Constant, Two Trees, Santiam Hills, Ilford Delta 100 film, lab developed by Ilford USA

There is a poetic simplicity to Philip's image, an emptiness, and yet a dialogue. The two trees stand separate (and are compositionally in danger of becoming unrelated), and yet they feed-off each other, two central characters in some undisclosed drama. The tonal key is just right, and clouds both lend interest to the sky and bridge the central divide.

 


Thank you for looking, and I hope you enjoyed the work as much as I did. Please do look out for the second instalment, coming soon. 

#TreePhotoGallery

Yesterday I started a thread on Twitter about trees. The premise was simple: photographers love to photograph trees, so share a tree photo if that's you. The response was overwhelming. I have shared some of the initial responses, but as I began to lose track I started to think that the images deserved a home.

To make the exercise a little more interesting, I intend to publish a small selection on this blog, along with some brief comments as to what I like about each image. A mini, appreciative, review if you will. If I have the images, I will publish more than one instalment.

There are some terms and conditions, as ever, to this, so please do take note. I'm selecting according to my own taste (and as a confirmed tree photographer obsessive). Please don't be offended if your image isn't selected: it's not a verdict on your work, and reflects more my predilections. There may simply be some aspect of film or processing choice and so forth that I'm just not into. Participants agree to publication on this website, and therefore license me, without charge, free and unhindered use of their image. The copyright will of course remain with the photographer. I will also share chosen images on Twitter and possibly other social media channels, and so participants agree to this too.

To enter please share the tweet below and post your image using the hashtag #TreePhotoGallery. If you already used the hashtag #TreePhoto, you're already in, and I will contact you for permission if I select one of your images.