size as esthetic (was photogravure)
On Thu, 3 Apr 2008, Diana Bloomfield wrote:
I agree completely about these huge color prints I often see that are really
no more than rather uninteresting snapshots (badly composed to boot); their
size is what gives them notice (the only thing that makes them noticeable).
It does get old after a while.
But for 50 years the rule in America has been "bigger is better." (When
my kitchen appliances broke down after the first 30 years, I discovered
they were no longer made in the "normal" sizes of refrigerators, ovens,
etc. when they were installed, but so huge I would have had to tear down
the kitchen to replace them. And tended to have all sorts of "features"
that took up more space (like computers!) I finally found some that could
be squeezed in (with only a day's worth of carpentry) but they're not as
well planned or functional as the originals.
"Bigger is better" got to be the rule in art, too, starting with "action
painting." We used to sneer: "If you can't make it good, make it big, if
you can't make it big make it red."
Meanwhile, the rule of thumb which almost always fits (except when you
just need to cover space in a McMansion, or for effect in a corporate
lobby) the best viewing distance for art is generally considered the
diagonal. For instance, if a picture is 8-1/2 by 11 inches (standard
letter size) the diagonal is about 14 inches, and that's found to be the
best general viewing distance.
Of course if we're really loving/interested in a work, we view it from at
least 3 distances -- stepping back for the "long view", the diagonal for
regular taking it in, and really close up (don't you love just getting
your face right in there -- unless the museum guard spoils your joy). So
in effect no matter how big the work is, we're getting our view of it at
the same scale.... but dealers want them big because they sell much more
readily & of course for much more. In other words these things are often
determined by marketing AND the current style,... common sense has nothing
to do with it.
I myself am going through a phase of wanting to work really small.. And in
a museum I just love finding a work of art the size of my face-- and we
see so much of it only in books, where it's probably no more than 8-1/2 by
On the 3rd hand, I give Sookang the benefit of any doubt. If she's working
so large, odds are they're wonderful (Keith too -- tho he seems possibly
And PS. there's plenty of junk art at 8-1/2 by ll... The names are
forgotten now, but wasn't the most popular painter in America in the 1950s
the guy who did the big-eyed girls ... What was his name? ("John Keane"
comes to mind.)
I know someone who makes the most beautiful
mezzotints-- none larger than about 4x5 and some not much larger than a
postage stamp. These are so hauntingly beautiful-- I can't tell you-- and
perfect for his particular images. Every time I think about printing big, I
think about those mezzotints.
On Apr 3, 2008, at 5:27 PM, Mark Nelson wrote:
I don't think photography should be limited by size and you point out good
reasons to make larger prints for different display spaces. What tires me
are the huge, over-saturated color prints with no content. You see them in
galleries all the time. Bigger doesn't make these prints better.
PDNPrint Forum @ Yahoo Groups
From my iPhone
On Apr 3, 2008, at 2:28 PM, Dan Haygood <email@example.com> wrote:
Yes, I agree. Large prints have made their way into many homes as a
showcase piece of artwork. It has put photography in a place were it is
being noticed. Look in interior design magazines and they all have large
scale photographs hanging on the walls of the homes they are featuring.
Small images create a more intimate feel and are displayed in settings
that the viewer can get close to. In other fine arts, one will always
find a diversity of sizes of images that reflect what the artist is trying
to impress upon the viewer. Why should photography be confined to a small
From: Jon Lybrook [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, April 03, 2008 12:15 PM
Subject: Re: Photogravure was: Re: SPE and alt update
Wee little prints are just fine for the right image, as are huge ones. I
hope and trust no one ever curses you and things you've devoted yourself
to doing in an ugly and boorish manner.
Sandy King wrote:
Yes, is it not a fact about big. I am so tired at this fad with huge
prints I want to vomit. I hope the people making those huge prints never
sell a one of them and have to build new storage rooms to hold them until
their descendants destroy the atrocities.
Now, a nice 5X7 contact print, there is something to hold close to your
eyes and treasure.
At 2:05 PM -0400 4/3/08, Ender100@aol.com wrote:
Content-type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
It's an American French Tool Press by Conrad Machine Co. I got a table
top model that will handle 18" wide paper. It may also be a great pasta
machine. Josephine Sacabo had just gotten the big brother to this
machine when I worked with her last fall on polymer plate photogravure-it
was great fun. Unfortunately it takes 3-4 months to build and deliver.
I think I got "big" out of my system with inkjet printing hehehehe.
It's AlIVE! IT'S ALIVE! THE ALT PHOTO LIST IS ALIVE!!!! Chris must have
given it an enema.
Precision Digital Negatives
PDNPrint Forum @ Yahoo Groups
Mark I. Nelson Photography
In a message dated 4/3/08 12:56:50 PM, email@example.com writes:
Congrats on the press Mark! What kind did you get?
But 'little'? I'm doing 20x30" now and they are available at
30x40"...and even larger, so I've been told.
Larger plates present a new set of problems, but they are still alot of
fun to work with (more so when the pesky contact issues have been
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