Critique Artichoke

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Sep 13, 2007
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Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
I made this photo four years ago but never displayed it here because I wasn't hanging out here at the time. I'm displaying it now mostly because I've just received 18" x 24" prints of this image and two other B&W fine art prints I've already displayed here. I've never made a B&W print so large and I'm blown away by the enjoyment of seeing the images printed at such large sizes. Indeed, I'll be making more fine art prints about that size over time for temporary display on an easel in my living room. I'll alternate the display on the easel of my own prints with prints made by famous photographers. That's better than permanently confining them to the box underneath my bed as has been the case about the last 30 years. I got the idea of using the easel from Gary, who mentions from time to time that he displays his prints, which are much larger than mine, on an easel.

Setup
The tabletop and background are a single piece of gold art board with metallic-like flecks that make it somewhat shiny. The main light was a small continuous-light lamp fitted with a custom snoot on the bottom right corner of the scene shining upward to light the leaf and mostly the tip of the artichoke. A medium continuous-light lamp on the left added light to that side of the artichoke and the background. Another medium lamp on the right balanced that side of the background with the other side. Both medium lamps were fitted with diffusion material to reduce the brightness.

Mike 2016-10-25--005-S.jpg
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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6
Thank you to Terri and Mitch!

Tell us more about the prints. Who made them? What type of paper? Mounting??
I sent the electronic files to Mpix.com when they had a 30%-off sale and free shipping. I've been happy with Mpix over the years when making other smaller prints. I used their E-surface paper (a matte finish) for a toned monochrome of my wife's photo not mentioned above, their True B&W paper (a matte finish) for two monochromes that aren't toned, and their Metallic Paper for another monochrome not toned that is ideal for the photo of a transparent cut-glass vase because of the paper's shiny surface.

Mpix has a new Glicee series of printing options providing "ultra-detailed image resolution" on three different papers. The prints cost about twice as much, so I didn't try that option mostly because my prints aren't viewed up close and aren't very large.

All of the prints, whether of photos of mine or others, are attached to off-white, 1/16" thick backing board by 3" clear, triangular mounting corners made by Light Impressions. (If I remember correctly, I wasn't able to find pure white backing board when I bought all of those materials about 30 years ago.) The backing board is acid-free and the mounting corners are made of "archival polypropolene." I'm surprised that after so long the mounting corners haven't turned the least bit yellow. The backing board is larger than the prints, which makes for a nice presentation, and is rigid enough that it doesn't bend when placed on the easel. EDIT: Even so, to provide even more stability and to prevent the easel from showing through the backing board, I place a black piece of foam core behind the backing board.

The prints remain on the backing board and are stored in a heavy duty portfolio designed for storing important photos, documents and the like. A sheet of acid-free tissue paper is placed on top of each print to separate it from the backing board stored immediately above it. As I continue to make more of my own prints (I stopped buying photos made by others long ago), I may remove the prints from the backing boards when storing them in the portfolio. Doing so will allow me to store lots more prints in the same space and with considerably less weight.
 
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Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8
Mike, can you please take of photo if this photo displayed on your easel?
Ignore the horrible quality of the digital image shown below. I took only a quick snapshot with no attempt to deal during post-processing with the three light sources all at different Kelvin temperatures.

Notice that the top of the print is at about the height of the bottom of the window frame behind it; the photo is not displayed nearly as high as it would be when hanging on a wall. That position actually works fine for the small area of the room it is in because it's not obtrusive yet it's clearly noticeable. When sitting in the room, that low height is ideal for viewing.

Notice also that the four triangular mounting corners are immediately noticeable. That's because I tried my best to get the handheld focal plane parallel with the printed photo and doing so resulted in glare on the corners. When standing or sitting in the room, those corners are so far less noticeable that sometimes you have to make a point of looking for them to realize they are there.

Also notice that the borders around the print are not the proper dimensions. That's because I don't have the tools needed to properly cut the backing board to the ideal size and don't want to have to deal with making all of that happen; it's just a temporary, informal presentation of the print.

I forgot to mention in my previous post that I place a piece of black foam core behind the backing board to provide more stability and to prevent the easel from showing through the backing board. That information has now been added to that post.


Mike 2020-10-27--0001-S.jpg
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Winter Haven, florida
Artichoke #30. Beautifully done.
I find it amazing we can all enjoy a picture of an artichoke. Or a pepper, or anything else the artist makes interesting.

I am so glad you are discovering the wonders of the print. It is a different medium than our digital screens.
I grew up in the wet darkroom, so the print was all we had. I still think it is the most important thing. I love to look at a print- especially if I can touch it. If they get damaged, I can always print another. No one enjoys the prints I have in drawers or boxes where they are safe.

Now if you REALLY want to have fun, start printing your own. It does have a learning curve- about as steep as the curve in learning to take the pictures. But you have complete control. You can have a new print on your easels every week.
It is a great time to be a photographer.
Gary
 

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