Photo fair preparations

Although I’m not one that upgrades gear whenever new is marketed or one that follows latest electronic innovations and visits trade fairs, I ordered a train ticket and e-ticket for the photo fair in Cologne.

Photokina is an international fair for the photographic / imaging sector that offers an interesting programme for many photographers : all sorts of presentations (the list of exhibitors is overwhelming), demonstrations  and few exhibitions.

And although I’m not interested in the (latest) technology (that part of photography never did/does go well and easy with me…*, I am making an effort to learn the specifics of a product that I need and to compare brands. So, I’m traveling up to Germany.

Anticipating the queues (often men, bigger, taller and more eager than me), I do intend to see, feel (try) and learn  more about the things that I need -to take my photography further- and to make it to the counters and/or demos and to pose my questions.

I need to invest in :

– a monitor (priority);
– a printer (orientations at the fair and then a workshop as i need to see if own digital printmaking is doable. Honestly, there are days that I seriously contemplate the alternative photographic printing processes : cyanotype, salt print etc. btw,  is a gelatin silver printing an old method nowadays?);
– a studio flash set (probably just a quick orientation at the fair – as there is no rush for a new set);
– a zoom lens.  It would be my very first zoom lens ever **. (I have been postponing buying a digital zoom lens as I find them so huge and heavy compared to my favorite small prime 50 mm).

Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron | 1867 | Sir John Herschel, an English mathematician, astronomer, chemist, and experimental photographer/inventor cyanotype process (when the word digital did not exist and things were chemical and mechanical)

I do hope however that i will not be too distracted by for instance photo books or the supporting programmes.

On the supporting programmed list I saw “web-to-print”. Unfortunately I will miss this Thursday workshop as I am visiting on the Friday. But I could have a look at the forum “Digital storage – film-based archiving”.

* example : “10-bit Look-Up Table (LUT), to produce a monitor gamma value of 2.2. Should the user prefer a different value, the LUT can be used to calculate for values ranging from 1.8 (the standard for the printing industry) up to 2.6”.
I doubt if I will ever be able to find the need for different values. And if i am/do, i would probably get lost in trans-calculations.

** or perhaps …

TV evening with two programs about photography

Yesterday evening (8 May) I saw 2 interesting tv programs. A documentary about a French photographer who’s project is about change and awareness through photography.

Let me share this with you :

Face2Face project

Holland Doc | Faces. Documentaire. Israël viert in mei zestig jaar onafhankelijkheid, terwijl Palestijnen de vlucht en verdrijving van honderduizenden Palestijnen herdenken. Het einde van het conflict is nog niet in zicht. In deze documentaire onderneemt de Franse fotograaf en straatkunstenaar JR samen met zijn vriend Marco de grootste illegale fototentoonstelling ooit. De omstreden ‘veiligheidsmuur’ in Israël wordt door JR voorzien van enorme posters met lachwekkende portretten. De vervormde gekke bekken, alle van Israëli en Palestijnen met hetzelfde beroep, duiken ook op in acht Palestijnse en Israëlische steden, pontifikaal in de openbare ruimte. De posters hangen zij aan zij, Face2Face, met als doel de menselijkheid terug te brengen en de gelijkenis van de geportretteerden te tonen. JR probeert zo op een luchtige manier de complexiteit en absurditeit van de situatie in het Midden-Oosten ter discussie te stellen. Regie: Gmax (Gérard Maxim)”.

Also from JR is his 28 millimètres project.

The other program (adapted broadcast Canvas tv) was the first in a BBC serie : Genius of photography. Part one, fixing the shadows, was about the history of photography. Fascinating viewing for me. Camera obscura, daguerreotype, carte de visite and tintype etc.

alexander seik
carte de visite : alexander seik (1869)

See also” | post ‘photo collection / old photographic processes’.

Jacques Henri Lartigue

Managing a (historic) photo collection

Updated on 9 May 2008

Managing a photo collection.

I went on a three day course “managing photo collections (cultural heritage) “to learn how to structure, manage and share a photo collection. I will have to work with material that was collected in 21 years that currently lies in boxes, sits in albums and is stored in electronic folders on drives. All unsorted and untagged.

My first lesson was interesting and fun, also because it was an on-site lesson at | ICM, where I happen to meet one of my first photography teachers, Frido Troost. He’s an art historian and now an antiquarian and he told us about the principle of historic -chemical – photographic processes and taught us how to recognize the various old photo types. (In “my” collection non of the older types…).

  • The Daguerreotype. Source : The Getty. “The daguerreotype is a one-of-a-kind, highly detailed photographic image on a polished copper plate coated with silver. It was the first popular photographic medium and enjoyed great success when it was introduced in 1839. Although primarily a nineteenth-century medium involving a painstaking process, daguerreotypy is still practiced today by an active — and avid — group of devotees”. See the video : Early Photography : Making Daguerreotypes

FAQ daguerreotypes

  • The Albumen process and the Collodion process. Source : The Getty. “Invented in 1851, the wet collodion photographic process produced a glass negative and a beautifully detailed print. Preferred for the quality of the prints and the ease with which they could be reproduced, the new method thrived from the 1850s until about 1880”. See the video : Photography: The Wet Collodion Process

Collodion process by Sally Mann


Nader - selfportrait
Felix Nadar (1910) selfportrait


  • The Tintype

The New York Times, 20 April 2008 | You Bet Your Tintype, Buckaroo

“Making these kinds of pictures, you don’t need the mental skills that you have to have a Ph.D. for,” he said. “It’s more like learning to be a carpenter. It’s work and it’s satisfying. What you get is unique, not mass-produced. You can’t repeat the process. So it’s the antithesis of digital.”

Audio slideshow – tintype master (2006)

The Getty : Research on the conservation of photographs – Project video : the first photograph

The second lesson was about conservation (Mattie Boom, Rijksmuseum), copyright restrictions and permissions (Cecile van der Harten, Rijksmuseum). | Slideshow | Kunst op papier / art on paper.

The third lesson ( Martijn van der Kaaij) dealt with digital access, digitizing, meta data and databases, search of a collection and project management.

Obviously I am not handling a museum collection and there will be no need to spend enormous resources on the project. But it will be a project that takes time and money.

The first step for me is to make an inventory of the photos and negatives. The second step is to team up with ICT and to draft a proposal.

Recommended reading : The Getty : Introduction to Imaging

IPTC Photo Metadata White Paper 2007

Video in English, French and Dutch about digitising collections

The Getty : Image Bank

More links on my ‘resources page’.

From the BBC serie : Genius of photography. Part one, fixing the shadows : about the history of photography. Fascinating viewing camera obscura, daguerreotype, carte de visite and tintype etc.

Introduction to the Semantic Web

For inspiration : cyanotype

I’ve been reading in Silvershotz, journal of fine art photography, and admiring the works of colleagues. Then I came across a remarkable story and stunning photos of flowers. Cyanotypes! I learned about this technique/alternative photo process at my Academy and even made a print or two. But nowhere near the quality of David’s work…

david chow

I think I still have a bottle of mixed solution somewhere in my cellar/ dark room, waiting for me to take on and explore further cyanotype printing. Must have a look…