Cheryl Medow creates wildlife composites. She’s attending the Fine Art of Digital Printing workshop (Caponigro and Holbert at Brooks sponsored by Epson). Yesterday, some of them looked like photocomposites (surreal) and some looked like paintings (graphic). Today, after a long discussion about the most successful components in separate images and the intent she wants to communicate, they all look like they’re made by the same person who has a cohesive message. Some of the keys to unlocking her style included keeping shadow and highlight detail extremely full (none of them pure black or white, sometimes with significant color). In addition to keeping luminosity contrast low, she did the same with hue contrast, glazing the different colors in her images with a single color. Both create a more softly modulated color palette. Cheryl had to reconsider what she had learned about traditional photographs to find her own personal style. Her first step was to find the words to describe the new qualities she found through exploration (trial and error) and now wanted to repeat. The next step is to ask why. She’s got a lot of ideas, but she’s still working on it. That’s great. That’s when work starts to get really interesting.

Check out Cheryl Medow’s work here.
Check out the Fine Art of Digital Printing workshops here.
Check out my Fine Digital Print workshop series here.

Cemal was fairly confident that he wanted an alternative process look so he printed a key image for a series of black and white images on Epson matte papers – UltraSmooth, Velvet, and Watercolor paper.  He like the rich black of the Velvet surface. Then Cemal made two unexpected moves that gave what at first seemed like an antique treatment a very contemporary edge. He “crunched” his shadows running the contrast high, heavily darkened regional areas, and he used heavy sharpening (both Unsharp Mask and High Pass), making them look like photographs drifting towards etchings. He confirmed that this was indeed the most compelling treatment for his images by printing renditions with more shadow detail and less sharpening. Some experiments succeed, some fail. You need to risk failure. In fact, failures aren’t failures if you learn from them – they bring confirmation and direction. This kind of experimentation is necessary to create more distinctive and expressive prints. The key is to do focused experiments that are most likely to give useful or relevant information.

What kinds of focused experiments would help you most? List a few now!

Cemal brought with him a beautiful portfolio of small prints (printed on Moab Entrada and collected in a companion folio). Comparing them to prints of larger scale revealed yet one more facet of his work.

These are the kinds of dialogs Mac Holbert and I have every day with participants in our the Fine Art of Digital Printing workshop during our extensive One on One and Review sessions. This week we’re at the Hallmark Institute of Photography.

Find out about Cemal Ekins here.

Find out about the Hallmark Institute of Photography here.
Find out more about The Fine Art of Digital Printing workshop here.
Find out about my The Fine Digital Printing workshop series here.


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