Showing posts with label digital photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label digital photography. Show all posts

Thursday, October 23, 2014

extraneous work (5): writing about art, presenting, photographing, photoshopping

writing about art to me also means presenting art visually, to accompany the writing. almost all bloggers use photographs or other images to enliven their accounts, but i dare say that presenting art works online is a special challenge. why? because:

in this day and age we still have no reliable way to represent/reproduce colours.

and certainly not online. this fact to me is still less surprising than that nobody complains about this (have you ever heard someone else beside me complaining about this?).

take for example the famous painting luncheon of the boating party (le déjeuner des canotiers) by pierre-auguste renoir. let me present below the three first results from google image search:

dejeuner des canotiers, pierre-auguste renoir
le déjeuner des canotiers, pierre auguste renoir (1881, click on the image for an enlargement)

dejeuner des canotiers, pierre-auguste renoir
le déjeuner des canotiers, pierre auguste renoir (1881, click on the image for an enlargement)

dejeuner des canotiers, pierre-auguste renoir
le déjeuner des canotiers, pierre auguste renoir (1881, click on the image for an enlargement)

i could go with more reproductions of this painting...and each would be quite different from the other. so even when searching for art images, i am constantly evaluating picture size, detail but also overall colour. and this is hard, even if i have seen a painting many times in real life. and i have come to observe often that my own computer screen is very different from other screens, so i cannot in any way really control what you are seeing on your screen.

this to me is extremely frustrating, it is like having a piece of music being represented in different speeds, scales, instrumentations, on different computers... but (almost) nobody complains. this is a very clear indication that most people don't care about the precise colour of the things they're looking at. except when it's clothes, or cars, or ...

anyway, be sure that the pictures presented on this blog often involve a tedious amount of photoshopping. this holds especially for photographs of my own artwork. here i discover time and again that my canon 650d is simply not as good colourwise as my canon 350d was (before the batteries expired, new batteries are extremely expensive, i thought i would get better value from the much newer model 650d, but alas). as a result there are quite some paintings that i have not been able to photograph satisfactorily at all, even when using photoshop extensively. so i'm studying on how to resolve this. one way i have discovered is to use a combination of photoshop and picasa. admittedly i'm no expert on photographing, nor on photoshop. but in this series on extraneous work, it seems fitting to mention that i have been forced to acquire much more expertise in these disciplines than i would have liked to, simply to be able to present art.

of course in the pre-digital days, i simply could not afford the equipment which was necessary for good colour reproductions. so all my bitching aside, there is some improvement.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

four seasons: autumn again

four seasons: autumn leaves~ frank waaldijk
autumn leaves (own work, 2013, digital, click on the image for enlargement)

well it is autumn, actually, so i thought i'd put up one of the many many pictures i take year round of nature and what strikes me. photography is such a different medium than painting, yet it serves me very well to look through my camera and record images. one day i hope to integrate these two media more.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

digital photography: composition with window

composition with window (own work 2012) composition with window(2012, own work)

i commented a little on the digital photography revolution earlier on this blog (see the posts labeled digital photography). although it is still laborious enough, at least now i can achieve full-colour photos in much the way i want them to be. i'm not overly ambitious as a photographer, but the medium is rich and i love to take pictures and transform them into something `more'.

some years ago i spent quite some time on a photographers' forum (now closed) and what surprised me was the general disdain for the use of photoshop. as a visual artist, i guess my perspective is a bit freer. i see photoshop as one of the many tools which i can use in achieving a certain image. and in my opinion, (photo)realism is vastly overrated.

we artists can (and therefore often should) explore new worlds. we don't all have to be revolutionaries, but why keep on producing same old same old imagery year after year after year? granted, new imagery takes time and effort. but new windows on our world is our business, as far as i can see...

in this work, abstract composition plays the central role of course. a cooperative tension between figuration and abstraction often meets what i'm searching for.

i quote from a digital photography revolution post:

Not only will this result in a massively larger quantity of good work being produced but, I suspect, a huge difference in the type of work produced. The idea that photography could finally enter the same century as painting in terms of philosophical outlook rather than lagging a hundred years behind excites me greatly. The influx of trained visual artists into photography can only be a good thing.

Monday, November 26, 2012


beautyberry? (own work 2012) beautyberry (2012, own work, detail)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

digital self portrait 3 (& more photoshop)

digital self portrait, own work
welcome to my world (digital self-portrait 2011, click on the image for an enlargement)

having a severe cold has the benefit (? i hope...) of forcing me to keep posting on this blog...the above self-portrait appeals to me for various reasons, one of them being that i really enjoy what photoshop has to offer in terms of enhancement of an original image. i know there are purists who think that this type of photoshop enhancement is over the top, but to me it opens up the possibility to add new dimensions to a picture, like in painting.

in this self-portrait, i feel that something of the relation `inner world - outer world' is visible. this relation is the first basis of what i teach my students at the unit art academy in nijmegen. perhaps interesting to post some of the lessons' material here too. you can also look on the lessons' blog beeld en wereld (image and world) which i maintain, but it is in dutch. however, google translate has become quite awfully good...

let me add some more photoshopped stuff while i'm busy, then i can finish this thread sooner.

cows, own work
cows (digital, 2007-08, click on the image for a small enlargement)

and more subtly photoshopped, and also more philosophical, and therefore more my favourite:

cows, own work
water trough (digital, 2007-08, click on the image for an enlargement)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

new year's wish to all

new year's wish

(click on the image for an enlargement)

`zin' is an essentially untranslatable dutch word, it means as many things as:

1. sense
2. meaning
3. mind
4. point
5. spirit
6. feeling
7. signification
8. inclination
9. gusto

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

more photoshopped pictures 2

tyres, own work
tyres (own work 2008, click on the image for an enlargement)

the thing is: imnsho an artist needs to receive inspiration from anywhere, everywhere. our encounter with our world (`reality') is a complex puzzle, ever changing, and somehow it is the artist's job to create meaningful interpretation, commentary, beauty, transcendentality even. pretty ambitious, really, so perhaps no wonder this often fails...

[don't let yourself be fooled by all the cheering and back-clapping and genius-proclaiming of galleries and museums...transcendental art is very rare, lastingly meaningful art is rare, good art is less rare but still already a relief...all imnsho of course. this doesn't mean that the work done by artists is mostly in vain, on the contrary. often very consistently hard work is necessary to reach occasional rare levels of art. it's just that we shouldn't try to put everything created by artists on a pedestal.]

House centipede (scutigera coleoptrata)
house centipede trapped in glass (duly released after the photoshoot, own work 2007-2008, click on the image for an enlargement)

[the above image comes from wikimedia commons, where i uploaded it on a free-use license...and lucky i did, because i seem to have deleted this particular edit of the original picture on my own computer...good to find this back-up! like i said i'm still pondering the avenue of uploading much more of my (art and photographic) works on wikimedia commons]

3 days of the condor, own work
3 days of the condor (own work 2008, click on the image for an enlargement)

of course photographing condors is not without hazard...but the picture below was a truly breathtaking affair. with danger to his own life, your photographer was able to capture this contract killer as he left his cab! ;-)

3 days of the condor, own work
contract killer (own work 2008-2010, click on the image for an enlargement)

Monday, December 6, 2010

record sleeves for ralfk (ralf kwaaknijd) - more digital stuff 2

my fellow artist and friend ralf kwaaknijd has a site on saatchi online (i didn't hear him complaining about their terms of use, but anyway these terms have been changed for the better now), and three weeks ago he was picked out by well-known conservator and lecturer ben street as one of 10 artists of the week on saatchi online. good for ralf, but then again he has quite an impressive bio, having had shows in many major museums etc.

like some other reclusive artists, ralf still shuns publicity. little it is known therefore that he is also a musician, mainly guitar/songwriter, and he even brings out records in very limited editions, just for friends. his musician's name is ralfk, and yes, they are just vinyl records, no cds. expensive, but his work sells well, giving him a little leeway to pursue his music in the way he prefers.

anyway, he asked me to design sleeves for these records, (the front side of) 3 of which i will put up here below, in this thread of posts showing what nowadays is within reach with photoshop for anyone, as compared to the pre-digital era. they are perhaps not my finest graphical designs, but i also like to promote ralf kwaaknijd a little bit,!

ralfk plays blues, own work
ralfk plays blues (own work 2008, click on the image for an enlargement)

ralfk plays blues, own work
ralfk plays aachen (own work 2009, click on the image for an enlargement)

ralfk plays blues, own work
ralfk plays the street (own work 2010, click on the image for an enlargement)

[oh, i should talk a little about these designs of course...the first being a portrait of ralf as a blues musician, which he refused initially to put on the sleeve, but i managed to convince him that these blues needed a portrait, more specifically a portrait like this one.

the second design came out of ralf's wish to relate to the cover of `abbey road' by the beatles, but he refused to be recognizably in the picture (but he is there...cameo-wise you might say).

the third design is the latest, reflecting on the fact that ralfk started out as a street musician. then as well as now, he often performs at night when most people are asleep...yet the picture is not taken at night, it is a simple black&white reversal...but it works well i believe.]

Sunday, December 5, 2010

more digital stuff, mostly mildly photoshopped pictures (don't expect elaborate digital art)

cinema, own work
cinema (own work 2008-2010, click on the image for an enlargement)

dark sky, polder, own work
dark sky, polder (own work 2010, click on the image for an enlargement)

liège 1985, own work
liège 1985 (own work 2008, click on the image for an enlargement)

still life with kiwi, own work
still life with kiwi (own work 2008-2010, click on the image for an enlargement)


anyway, one point is: without photoshop i would never have been able to make these pictures. the analog technology necessary for producing anything remotely resembling these pictures is way above my head. i'm not saying they are so great or anything, but photoshop at least has opened a world of photography for me, that was quite closed to me before.

and taking pictures, especially of landscape and nature, is also an inspiring way to prepare visually for painting and drawing.

[to be continued]

Sunday, November 28, 2010

digital self portrait 2 (& photoshop)

digital self portrait, own work
digital self portrait (own work 2008, click on the image for an enlargement)

[this is actually the picture i use for my profile on blogger...ok, i know it's a little over the top's got something which is really me, too]

digital self portrait as a photographer, own work
digital self portrait as a photographer (own work 2007, click on the image for a slight enlargement)

you can see the heavy use of photoshop...but it opens new possibilities. i devote quite some energy towards photography...and it used to be impossible to get things right. but now in the digital age, i really achieve pictures that i wish to achieve. which is to me a true gift from our technical and ict-community, thank you all! i think i will put up some more of these digital pictures, to show what i'm talking about.