Perhaps I sound a little bit like a shady salesman with a headline like that, but it would be incorrect to think that I perform the services I do with only myself in mind. Nay, this blog and my photography workshops exist only to serve you, my gentle readers, which is why I come to you today with this update.
First, something I’ve been thinking about lately, which I had designs to write an entire post about but that now strikes me as somewhat too unfinished a thought to deserve such treatment. It has to do with a growing trend among digital photographers that the quality of your work and of your prints can be judged if not exclusively at least primarily by some group of statistics.
First of all art has never been judged based on numbers. The moment that art is judged not for its certain craft, its inspiration, content, execution, and the ways in which it moves you is when it ceases to be art and takes on a new life as the subject of technical research. I grant that technical research has made possible many of the great innovations in the craft of photography that have opened doors for artists and made possible wonderful works. Those works, however, were to be judged on their own merits, divorced from the particulars of their creation.
I see this jaded math-lust happen the most in the process of printing digital images. Not only do you have to be a board-certified chemist to understand what inks are actually made out of these days, but debates rage among the upper echelons of fine art print makers regarding whether 9\^12 bits per million in 17.2 square decileters of molar protein creates a quantization effect of 9.8383-repeating magnitude using 4-picoliter ink spots on granite tile. Or some such nonsense.
As important as some measurements, such as resolution, may be in print making, the fact remains that very well printed photographs can still suck, and very poorly printed photographs can change your life. The trick is to understand all of this mumbo-jumbo only to the degree necessary to achieve the results that make you happy, that satisfy your needs as an artist.
That may have sounded like a bit of a rant…
Edit: Perhaps it wasn’t as much of a rant as I thought at first. Here is a really cool article.html by Mike Johnston at The Online Photographer about over-reliance on measurements when evaluating the performance (specifically) of equipment. He also goes on to criticize people who use charts and graphs to make meaningless, subjective data appear meaningful and objective. If only it wasn’t true! Good stuff, Mike.
Ranting notwithstanding, it’s still true that I’m teaching a digital printing workshop in February. If you want to learn how to soft-proof, color manage, and output your own images at a high-end digital lab, this is your big chance. I’ll be teaching alongside Chris Blake, back at Calypso Imaging in Santa Cruz, CA; read about the workshop and sign up here You will get to print proof images and then make final prints during the workshop, so everyone gets stuff to take home with them. It’s only $599; you won’t find a better deal than that anywhere.
There are some other exciting learning opportunities right around the corner, too, including our workshop in Cape Cod in September, a fall foliage workshop in cooperation with Dan Heller in Vermont in October, and then later on that same month, our City on the Hill Boston workshop That should be enough to keep you busy before the holidays, right? It’s sure going to keep me busy, I can tell you that much.
Of course if you have any ideas for workshops, questions, comments, rude gestures… Leave a comment!