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December 2010

Side by Side Photo Comparisons: Colorful or Discordant?

Some comments during this series of "Side by Side Comparisons of Different Photos" prompted me to add comparisons of photos with colored backgrounds.

B&wID_72B&wID_blue72GreyB&W.72
The use of colored backgrounds in photography of art or craft is not simply a "black and white" issue.  There are too many considerations. 

For this post, I will only use photos of my work to illustrate solid colored backgrounds (so no one else feels like a guinea pig in this public critique).  Feel free to respond however you want about my examples.

[Note: A couple of future posts will discuss backgrounds with texture or other extra content.  Stay tuned.] 

The photos immediately below are from a pre-digital era. Yes, the left photo was actually photographed on a yellow background paper at my request by my photographer Philip Cohen. The photos were taken in 1990 -- before digital manipulation could easily replace a background with a different color.

Image 8a.                                Image 8b.
Metalsmith_YellowBkgrdnotitleSmallPieces
Patchwork Quilt, Small Pieces of Time ©1989 by Harriete Estel Berman (left and right images) Photo Credit for both images: Philip Cohen.

Cover of 1990 Summer issue of Metalsmith Magazine with a yellow photographic background.
Patchwork Quilt, Small Pieces
of Time

©1989 by Harriete Estel Berman
vintage steel doll houses
1990 Cover photo for Metalsmith
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen.

The yellow background photograph was used for the cover of a summer issue of Metalsmith Magazine in the early 1990's.  It was my idea to photograph on yellow and a very scary idea. A bright yellow background breaks completely with the established standard of gray-to-graduated backgrounds, then and now.  I used the yellow background that one time and have never used it again in 20 years.

SmallPiecesgraybk At the same time, I had the same sculpture  photographed on the more standard gray background. Thank goodness! The gray photo has been used over and over in many shows, books and magazines. 

I felt then and still feel that the yellow background really makes the work POP! But let's get really honest! -- the vast majority of the art and craft community do not view work on bright yellow backgrounds as serious work.  The general consensus seems to be that a brightly colored background is perceived as decorative, overly dramatic or superficial.  Or am I mistaken? What do you think?

A key consideration is your audience. The yellow cover of a summer issue of a magazine might work one time, but it definitely doesn't fit my audience every time.  A stimulating image to one group may be too much for another group.

Here is another example of colored backgrounds. The same necklace is in every photo. The background is not Photoshoped, each is an original photo.   

B&wID_72B&wID_blue72GreyB&W.72
Black and White Identity Bead Necklace © 2006
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen.

This comparison is striking. The necklace and the reflection are eye catching.  Every photo is lit perfectly.  If you could submit one photo of this necklace, which photo would you use? What happens when your career depends on the decision? 

Here is my appraisal of each photo.

Black and White Identity Bead Necklace by Harriete Estel Berman is photographed on a neutral light gray background.The subdued gray of this photo is well within a standard photographic background and a fabulous photo, but lacking the drama of the black and colored options. Do you think this is as good a photo as the black background or blue?

I've never used the graduated light gray background because I thought it was boring.  Indeed, one of the previous comments suggested that white, gray, or graduated black backgrounds are boring.

B&wID_blue72 The turquoise blue background is a really dramatic image. The blue is a contrasting color to the orange spacer beads. The combination of the necklace, reflection, and striking background make the entire image very attractive.

I've submitted the brilliant blue background photo to several books and shows but it has never been accepted.  The blue background seems to break too many unofficial rules.

Black and White Identity Bead Necklace by Harriete Estel Berman is a commentary about our consumer society.The only photo that has been accepted by either a publisher, Internet article, or show has been the necklace on the black background.

This photo seems to capture a high level of drama within the image yet focuses attention on the work. 

The goal of your photograph is to have the viewer focus on your art or craft work, not on the image itself.   Which background enhances the viewer's perception of the work without stealing the spotlight?  Does the background become overly dramatic? Is there a prejudice against colorful backgrounds as not serious enough?

How do you interpret the issues presented here? 

 Previous posts in the series Side by Side Comparisons of Different Photos:

Side by Side Comparisons of Different Photos: Black Hole or Super Sophisticated?

Side by side comparisons of different photos - the graduated background. Stunning or stupefying?

Side by Side Comparisons of Different Photos - the white background. Trendy or Technique?

Are You Being Judged by the Style of Your Images?

The photographers are revealed!

More posts in the series are coming....

The book images and links are from Amazon as affiliate links. 

The world of photography is changing rapidly.  Is your photography up to date? Is it an effective tool?
 
• Are you being judged by the style of your images?
• How much post production is acceptable and who should do the work?
• Current trends in background and composition.
• The model or the pedestal?
• and much more……

These issues were discussed at the Professional Development Seminar titled, Photography in Flux. There are five SlideShare presentations with the recorded audio online for free. Watch them all and listen to the podcast of the lunch discussion. 

PHOTOGRAPHER CONTACT INFORMATION LISTED BELOW.

Philip Cohen, Photographer
Oakland, CA.
email:  phil [at]lmi.net


Side by Side Comparisons of Different Photos: Black Hole or Super Sophisticated?

Andychix.3 In this extended series of side by side photo comparisons we have discussed the white and the graduated background. The black background is the polar opposite of the white background. Just to clarify here, I am referring to the digital #000000 black, or total black. It has many of the same problems as white, few benefits and is even more problematic for capturing a great image of art and craft.

There are some makers who regularly photograph their work on a solid black background holding the opinion that the black background highlights light colored or silver work.

Andychix.tender_man.adj
Chicken Ring  ©2009 Andy Cooperman
This photo is not a solid black back-
ground, but uses the reflection not
give the work a foundation.
Photo Credit: Andy Cooperman

On solid black backgrounds, the work may be lost, or fade into the background. The dark edge of the work becomes hard  to see, if not impossible. Capturing the edge with precise lighting is essential.  Another problem, especially if the work is silver, is that the reflections in the work are dark or black.  Thus the photo ends up extremely dark overall.  

This issue is more acute on the Internet
where the images are often smaller and with less information. The dark or black background all too often loses the nuance of the printed images and becomes a dark hole. The artwork ends up looking like it is being sucked into the background.

B&wID_72
Black and White Identity Necklace
© 2006 Harriete Estel Berman
Post Consumer recycled tin cans,
vintage plastic, polymer, electrical cord,
magnetic catch.
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

If you want a dark background, there are two options that may help. The graduated dark background. or black with reflections/shadows under the work (left images).  With proper lighting you can still get light on the work with shadows/reflections to give a solid footing to the work.  Assuming the work is properly lit, the image will look much better.

Side by Side Comparison (cropped for exact comparison of two photos.) NOTE: I noticed in Photoshop that the right photo with reflection is a little lighter/brighter in some areas, yet, the handle is a little too dark. This is the way I received it from the artist so I didn't change this exposure. (The post continues below...)

Andychix.2b Andychix.tender_man.2a

MAD websiteThe black to very dark background is sometimes considered neutral, arty, or sophisticated. The Museum of Art and Design has a large portion of their collection photographed on black (as in the image to the left). The images are then placed on a black web site background. The edge of the black background photo disappears into the background of the site. Unfortunately, it makes the entire site seem rather dark and dreary.

Harriete Estel Berman's bracelet on the MAD web site. Some of the work on the Museum of Art and Design web site is photographed on the solid dark gray background.  This isn't much of an improvement.  I know because of an image of my bracelet (above right). For some reason the photograph of the work is dark and muddy.

YelRUFFLEASKHBLYelRUFFLEASKHNEUTRALYelRUFFLEASKHwhi
I created all the images above in Photoshop transitioning the background from solid black #000000 to solid white #FFFFFF. While the center photo is not the traditional graduated background, it is considerably softer in appearance that either absolute white or black.

Any opinions about your preference?

What do you think? Do you have a comment or insight to add to this discussion? If you don't agree with me, please share with me your SOLID BLACK background images along with a comparable shot in a graduated or lighter background. I'd love to compare the images side by side.

Additional discussion about the black background can be heard in a lecture by three photographers during the 2011 SNAG Professional Development Seminar titled "Photography in Flux". Scroll down for the lecture Photography in Flux (Photographers Opinions).

Scroll down further on the PDS page for the Podcast of the lunch discussion. Really interesting discussion.

Next post is about colored backgrounds.

Previous posts in the series Side by Side Comparisons of Different Photos:

Side by side comparisons of different photos - the graduated background. Stunning or stupefying?

Side by Side Comparisons of Different Photos - the white background. Trendy or Technique?

Are You Being Judged by the Style of Your Images?

The photographers are revealed!

More posts in the series are coming....

 41OiZd-LhGL._SL160_As we reflect on the past, present and future of craft, I recommend the book Makers: A History of American Studio Craft. This is practically required reading if you're wondering what is the current direction and the economic picture of craft. In particular, the comments about the economy of craft over the past 150 years are insightful. This tome is not easy reading....nor something to balance on the treadmill. Carrying the book is more like a weightlifting activity, so pace yourself for months of interesting insight.

This link to the book Makers: A History of American Studio Craft is an affiliate link. Purchasing this book may provide this blog with a few pennies.


Side by Side Photos - The Graduated Background: Stunning or Stupefying?

Test5Meyers by Doug Yaple with a graduated background The graduated background has been around for quite a while as a standard professional quality photograph for three dimensional work (over the past 30 years).  At one time, the graduated background was the demarcation of the professional photographer since the appearance was only possible through careful lighting. This is no longer the case as paper printed with a graduated appearance has made the graduated background within the grasp of less experienced photographers.

Test 3 Andy Cooperman ring with graduated background and clear shadown by Doug Yaple The graduated background can be light to dark, or rotated, dark to light.   With careful lighting of the artwork, it is relatively easy to create a light shadow so that the work is firmly grounded. With careful placement on a graduated background, the work stands out from the background, avoiding the problems of totally white or black backgrounds (where the work sometimes dissolves into the background). The graduated background can be manipulated effectively to give 3-dimensional work a solid foundation highlighting the work.

At this point the graduated light to dark background has become an industry standard for art/craft  photography. Looking through recently published books and magazines reveals graduated backgrounds in all its variations, page after page. This can be both good and bad.

The good side is that the graduated background is considered neutral, easily assigned to the background and ignored adding little or no commentary to the artwork. We have become accustomed to its appearance and for this reason it is perceived of as "neutral."

The opposite point of view is that the graduated gray background may be considered boring, old-school, or even out of date by some groups. This seems to be especially true for the D.I.Y. community that appears to prefer projecting a new identity outside of the mainstream. Rejecting the orthodox or standard graduated background for colored or eclectic backgrounds is an attempt to give the photographs energy and pizazz.  

Scansquares
   Scan from the book Manufractured
  (Clockwise from top left) Kathryn Spence
   Paper Towels 2003; Sonya Clark
   Twenty-One 1998; Laura Splan Prozac,
    Thorazine, Zoloft 2003; William Sistek
    Bubbleware #1 2007
  

Groups of photographs with graduated backgrounds are another issue.  Good or bad, the delineated square or rectangle of the photos create a grid of images (see image to the right). If the backgrounds are not identical, the grid appearance may looked mismatched. 

Scan3background from American Craft Magazine.
Page from recent American Craft
Magazine, Page 060 Dec/Jan 11
Images of clay and fiber work by
Hannie Goldewicht
Photo Credit: Douglas Kirkland

Scancutout
Page 99 from the book Manufractured
All images cut out from the graduated
background of their photos by the graphic
designer Gregory Hom of fishbowl design.
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

 

 

 

The graduated background also looks much better when all images have a similar background. In the image to the left, the works look like a cohesive body of work by one artist. A definite plus! You don't want the background of your photos to compete with the artwork or look like a crayola box of colors. 

 

 

A downside to the graduated background is that much more editing skill and time may be required to remove the background from the photo to isolate just the object on the page (right.)

 

 

 

 

An important factor that may dictate use of a graduated background for photos is the background color of your web site. I've noticed that graduated backgrounds look better on web sites with darker colored backgrounds. The photo backgrounds appear to complement the style of the page.

We still have more to discuss about  photographic backgrounds. What about the black background favored by many? Does it make your work "pop", or is it a black hole that sucks in light? The issues about photographic backgrounds are varied and complex.  But I hope to raise awareness of what works well and what detracts from your artwork.

Stay tuned for the next post.
Harriete

 
Previous posts in the series Side by Side Comparisons of Different Photos:

Side by Side Comparisons of Different Photos - the white background. Trendy or Technique?

Are You Being Judged by the Style of Your Images?

The photographers are revealed!

More posts in the series are coming....

Example photos in the series  Side by Side Comparisons of Different Photos are repeated below for easy reference.

Image 1 a.                         Image1 b. 
SleeperhoneyDougSleeperhoneystevieb
 The brooch in the above photos is “Sleeper Cell” © 2009  Andy Cooperman. Burl wood, sterling, gold leaf, stain. The left photo is by Doug Yaple. The right photo is by Steven Brian Samuels.
 

Image 2 a.                             Image 2 b. 
Doug.podaskharrieteStevieBaskHpod
 The brooch in the above photos is “Potter” ©2009 Andy Cooperman. Burl wood, sterling, 18k, stain. The left photo is by Doug Yaple. The right photo is by Steven  Brian Samuels.

Image 3 a.                         Image 3 b.  
Test1aJ Hall 12-09_9887
Test2aJ Hall 12-09_9867
Pendant in the above photos: Black Heart ©2009 Jennifer Hall  Sterling silver, silk ribbon. Both photos by Doug Yaple.

Image 4 a.                          Image 4 b. 
Test4aA Cooperman 6-09_3008Test3aA Cooperman 6-09_3052
Ring (above) ©2009 Andy Cooperman. Sterling, gold, copper, copal amber. Both photos by Doug Yaple.


Image 5 a.                         Image 5 b. 
Test5MeyersTest6Meyers
Necklace in above photos by Marcia Meyers.©2009 "Homage to Sliced Green Pepper",  reticulated silver, sterling and coral. Both photos by Doug Yaple.


Image 6 a.                           
Image 6 b.
AskharrieteBerman_4.7.07Back_72AskHarrieteOreoIMG_7919_web 1000x
Octangonal Bracelet
©2009 by Harriete Estel Berman (left image) Photo Credit: Philip Cohen. 
Oreo "Unlock the Magic" © 2009 by Harriete Estel Berman (right image) Photo Credit: Steven Brian Samuels.

  
Image 7 a.                         Image 7 b. 
oRBIT BLACK AND wHITE iDENITY nECKLACE BY HARRIETE ESTEL BERMAN BEADSnCOHEN

Orbit Black and White Identity Necklace #2 (left image) by Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Steven  Brian Samuels.
Orbit Black and White Identity Necklace #1 (right image)by Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen.

 Image 8a.                                Image 8b.
Metalsmith_YellowBkgrdnotitleSmallPieces
Patchwork Quilt, Small Pieces of Time ©1989 by Harriete Estel Berman (left and right images) Photo Credit for both images: Philip Cohen.

 PHOTOGRAPHER CONTACT INFORMATION LISTED BELOW. Click on their names to go to their web site.

Philip Cohen, Photographer
Oakland, CA.
email:  phil [at]lmi.net

Steven Brian Samuels, Artist/photographer
New Jersey.
Phone 845.300.9693
email: steven [at] stevenbriansamuels.com

Doug Yaple Photographer
Seattle, WA.
email: dyaple [at] comcast.net 

 


Side by Side Comparisons of Different Photos - the white background. Trendy or Technique?

Sleeperhoneystevieb The white background in the photographic image is the "new" look. When discussing a white background, we are talking about pure white...absolute white....#FFFFFF in HTML or Photoshop. You can see this in the left photo and below in photos 1b., 2b., and 6b.

We are NOT talking about a graduated white, with foamcore "white," or "almost" white as shown (to the right below and below in 3b and 4a). Test2aJ Hall 12-09_9867

White photographic backgrounds are a stylistic influence from Europe and facilitated by the availability of photo editing technology like Photoshop and FotoFuze. (If you haven't looked at a FotoFuze online demo, you should!)

The super white photographic background with the "fake" shadow starts with pure white photographic background  during the photo shoot but is facilitated with photo editing software. It is almost impossible to get a pure white any other way. The tool, i.e. the technology, has become a style.  

One advantage of the white background is that it is really easy to remove the art or craft object from the background for print. Thus the layout for postcards, books or magazines can depart from a grid format with a smaller investment of time or skill.

Another factor is that white is the default background for many social networking sites like Facebook (the largest photo sharing site on the Internet), Flickr, Etsy, and other online marketplaces.  They make the photos look attractive. There is little or no demarcation between the edge of the photo and the site.  White background images generally look good to great on these sites.

In contrast, white background shots do not look so good on web sites with dark backgrounds.  My web site is a spectrum of greenish, grey backgrounds. I consciously did not want a white background web site.  And I must admit that pure white background photos do NOT look that great on my web site.  See examples of three types of backgrounds - with a graduated, light, and white photographic backgrounds on this page. 

SleeperhoneysteviebOn the negative side,  I don't think white backgrounds show all work to the best advantage.  Some work just doesn't look that great on pure white with high contrast between the work and background.

For example, the dark wood in Andy Cooperman's jewelry (left) doesn't look as attractive on a stark white background. The grain of the wood becoming a focal point demanding more attention than desired by the maker. (See photos 1b. and 2b. below.)

A major concern with white background shots is that the shadows and reflections on the background look fake.  Some people who like the white background also like the artificial shadow. This "artificial" appearance is part of the new and trendy style.

oRBIT BLACK AND wHITE iDENITY nECKLACE BY HARRIETE ESTEL BERMAN White backgrounds can also make the work look like it is floating thus the necessity of the shadow to prevent the white or light area of the work from being lost or melting into the background (such as in the photo to the right and 7a. below). Notice that the white cord of the necklace gets lost in the background. 

What do you think about white background shots?

Photos pertinent to this discussion are shown below.

Harriete

Image 1 a.                         Image1 b. 
SleeperhoneyDougSleeperhoneystevieb
 The brooch in the above photos is “Sleeper Cell” © 2009  Andy Cooperman. Burl wood, sterling, gold leaf, stain. The left photo is by Doug Yaple. The right photo is by Steven Brian Samuels.
 

Image 2 a.                             Image 2 b. 
Doug.podaskharrieteStevieBaskHpod
The brooch in the above photos is “Potter” ©2009 Andy Cooperman. Burl wood, sterling, 18k, stain. The left photo is by Doug Yaple. The right photo is by Steven  Brian Samuels.

Image 3 a.                         Image 3 b.  
Test1aJ Hall 12-09_9887
Test2aJ Hall 12-09_9867
Pendant in the above photos: Black Heart ©2009 Jennifer Hall  Sterling silver, silk ribbon. Both photos by Doug Yaple.

Image 4 a.                          Image 4 b. 
Test4aA Cooperman 6-09_3008Test3aA Cooperman 6-09_3052
Ring (above) ©2009 Andy Cooperman. Sterling, gold, copper, copal amber. Both photos by Doug Yaple.


Image 5 a.                         Image 5 b. 
Test5MeyersTest6Meyers
Necklace in above photos by Marcia Meyers.©2009 "Homage to Sliced Green Pepper",  reticulated silver, sterling and coral. Both photos by Doug Yaple.


Image 6 a.                            Image 6 b.
AskharrieteBerman_4.7.07Back_72AskHarrieteOreoIMG_7919_web 1000x
Octangonal Bracelet
©2009 by Harriete Estel Berman (left image) Photo Credit: Philip Cohen. 
Oreo "Unlock the Magic" © 2009 by Harriete Estel Berman (right image) Photo Credit: Steven Brian Samuels.

Image 7 a.                         Image 7 b.
oRBIT BLACK AND wHITE iDENITY nECKLACE BY HARRIETE ESTEL BERMAN BEADSnCOHEN

Orbit Black and White Identity Necklace #2 (left image) by Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Steven  Brian Samuels.
Orbit Black and White Identity Necklace #1 (right image)by Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen.

This is another post, is the series titled:
Photographic Comparisons Side by Side

Previous posts include:

Are You Being Judged by the Style of Your Images?

The photographers are revealed!

More posts in the series are coming....

PHOTOGRAPHER CONTACT INFORMATION LISTED BELOW. Click on their names to go to their web site.

Philip Cohen, Photographer
Oakland, CA.
email:  phil [at]lmi.net

Steven Brian Samuels, Artist/photographer
New Jersey.
Phone 845.300.9693
email: steven [at] stevenbriansamuels.com

Doug Yaple Photographer
Seattle, WA.
email: dyaple [at] comcast.net 

 


Are You Being Judged by the Style of Your Images? Side by Side Comparisons of Different Photos

Patc hwork Quilt, Small Pieces of Time by Harriete Estel Berman
Patchwork Quilt, Small Pieces
of Time

©1989 by Harriete Estel Berman
vintage steel doll houses
Dark background example
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen.

The previous post, The Photographers Revealed! Photograph Comparisons Side by Side showcased a series of images as a comparison of different back- grounds.  ASK Harriete will evaluate these comparisons from several directions.  Two consensus opinions have already stood out: first, one type of background is not effective in every situation, and second, YES, you are being judged by the style of the photographic images!

Cover of 1990 Summer issue of Metalsmith Magazine with a yellow photographic background.
Patchwork Quilt, Small Pieces
of Time

©1989 by Harriete Estel Berman

vintage steel doll houses
1990 Cover photo for Metalsmith Mag.
Photo Credit:
Philip Cohen.

Image backgrounds are becoming a stylistic issue (or "trend", if you want to call it that).  In fact, the choice of backgrounds for a photographic image may even be placing your work into a "category" of the art or craft world.  This may be an unpopular opinion, but I think there is ample evidence.

Octagonal Bracelet by Harriete Estel Berman is constructed from recycled tin cans.
Octagonal Bracelet
Harriete Estel Berman © 2001
Recycled tin cans
Graduated background with reflection
Photo Credit:
Philip Cohen. 



 


Multiple observations were formed
while I was studying  the previous post , comments by readers, and in discussion with Brigitte Martin and Andy Cooperman (as we prepare the
Professional Development Seminar).   Now there are too many remarks for one post.

Oreo Cookie Unlock the Magic bracelet by Harriete Estel Berman is constructed from recycled tin cans.
Oreo "Unlock the Magic
 ©1989 Harriete Estel Berman
Recycled tin cans, 10k gold,brass
Photo Credit: Steven Brian Samuels

 

 

My plan is to discuss the pros and cons for each type of background:

- White
- Graduated
- Black
- Colored

Each photographic background will be discussed, one per post, over the next four posts.  If you have a comment, write your comments below or email  me directly as the posts continue.  

Harriete

This is the third post, is the series titled:
Photographic Comparisons Side by Side

Previous posts include: The Photographers Revealed.

  


The photographers are revealed! Photograph comparisons side by side

Today's post reveals the photographers in side by side comparisons of photos of identical content with different backgrounds.

Here are some issues to consider:

Does one background really fit all work?

Does the color of the background contribute to the emotion or vocabulary of the work?

Does one background work for all situations such as online marketplaces, social networking, jury review for shows, books and magazines? What about your web site?

In a side by side comparison of two images by two different photographers, how much original content does the photographer add? Are we seeing creativity from the photographer or skill? Who do you think owns the copyright of the image?

What about the reflection of the work? The shadow? Do these add a foundation for the work? Or are they a distraction?

Are we becoming influenced by what can be done in PhotoShop?  Has PhotoShop as a tool, become a style?

What other issues come to your mind when you look at these images? You're welcome to comment about the photos so that your opinion can be included in the future posts.

On Thursday's post, comments and discussion will begin on the topic.

Disclaimer: The images in this post may have been cropped or re-sized in an attempt to make the objects in the photos a similar size for side by side comparison.  The merit or demerit for leaving more or less background space around the object will be discussed in another post as a separate issue.

Image 1 a.                         Image1 b. 
SleeperhoneyDougSleeperhoneystevieb
The brooch in the above photos is “Sleeper Cell” © 200 Andy Cooperman. Burl wood, sterling, gold leaf, stain. The left photo is by Doug Yaple. The right photo is by Steven Brian Samuels.
 

Image 2 a.                             Image 2 b. 
Doug.podaskharrieteStevieBaskHpod
The brooch in the above photos is “Potter” ©2009 Andy Cooperman. Burl wood, sterling, 18k, stain. The left photo is by Doug Yaple. The right photo is by Steven  Brian Samuels.

Image 3 a.                         Image 3 b.  
Test1aJ Hall 12-09_9887
Test2aJ Hall 12-09_9867
Pendant in the above photos: Black Heart ©2009 Jennifer Hall  Sterling silver, silk ribbon. Both photos by Doug Yaple.

Image 4 a.                          Image 4 b. 
Test4aA Cooperman 6-09_3008Test3aA Cooperman 6-09_3052
Ring (above) ©2009 Andy Cooperman. Sterling, gold, copper, copal amber. Both photos by Doug Yaple.


Image 5 a.                         Image 5 b. 
Test5MeyersTest6Meyers
Necklace in above photos by Marcia Meyers.©2009 "Homage to Sliced Green Pepper",  reticulated silver, sterling and coral. Both photos by Doug Yaple.


The next photos compare similar items on different backgrounds.
Image 6 a.                           
Image 6 b.
AskharrieteBerman_4.7.07Back_72AskHarrieteOreoIMG_7919_web 1000x
Octangonal Bracelet
©2009 by Harriete Estel Berman (left image)
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen. 
Oreo "Unlock the Magic" © 2009 by Harriete Estel Berman (right image) Photo Credit: Steven Brian Samuels.

In the images below, the two necklaces are not the same but very similar.  "Orbit Black and White Identity Necklace 1 and 2" © by Harriete Estel Berman .  I did my best to make the images the same size, but obviously, the photographers chose different angles for capturing this necklace. Which approach do you like better? Does the shadow or reflection work more effectively?
Image 7 a.                         Image 7 b.
oRBIT BLACK AND wHITE iDENITY nECKLACE BY HARRIETE ESTEL BERMAN BEADSnCOHEN

Orbit Black and White Identity Necklace #2 (left image) by Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Steven  Brian Samuels.
Orbit Black and White Identity Necklace #1 (right image)by Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen.

As a result of a comment following the previous post about the use of "colored backgrounds" in photographic images, I have added the images below. The photos below are predigital.Yes, the left photo was actually photographed on a yellow background.

Image 8a.                                Image 8b.
Metalsmith_YellowBkgrdnotitleSmallPieces
Patchwork Quilt, Small Pieces of Time ©1989 by Harriete Estel Berman (left and right images) Photo Credit for both images: Philip Cohen.

In the third post in this series on Thursday,  I will discuss the difference in backgrounds, angles, lighting. Does the color of the background contribute to the emotion or vocabulary of the work?

The world of photography is changing rapidly.  Is your photography up to date? Is it an effective tool?
 
• Are you being judged by the style of your images?
• How much post production is acceptable and who should do the work?
• Current trends in background and composition.
• The model or the pedestal?
• and much more……

These issues and more will be discussed at the Professional Development Seminar titled, Photography in Flux: Technical Issues, Media and Style.

DATE:           May 28, 2011
TIME:         9:00 AM to 12:00 noon
                 (followed by brown bag lunch discussion)
LOCATION: The Westin Hotel,
                 1900 5th Ave,
                 Seattle, WA.

Free with SNAG Conference registration or $40 at the door (for the PDS only).

More information can be found on the SNAG web site.

PHOTOGRAPHER CONTACT INFORMATION LISTED BELOW. Click on their names to go to their web site.

Philip Cohen, Photographer
Oakland, CA.
email:  phil [at]lmi.net

Steven  Brian Samuels, Artist/photographer
New Jersey.
Phone 845.300.9693
email: steven [at] stevenbriansamuels.com

Doug Yaple Photographer
Seattle, WA.
email: dyaple [at] comcast.net 

 


Compare and contrast photography styles. Be the judge and jury.

The issues surrounding professional photographic images has become increasingly more complex and diverse in recent years. From the accelerating evolution of digital images to the ethics of image manipulation, the world of photography is changing rapidly. 

In the last few months, I have been discussing these issues extensively with Andy Cooperman and Brigitte Martin as we plan the Professional Development Seminar.

In the spirit of exploration and experimentation, this post will compare examples of jewelry on white and graduated grey-to-dark backgrounds. The photographs are side by side. Some pairs of images are by the same photographer. Other pairs are by two different photographers.

I will show you the images without commentary or photo credit to avoid any bias in your evaluation of the images.  Please add your comments below.

In the next post (on Tuesday) the photographers will be revealed along with questions for further consideration.  

On Thursday's post one week from today, commentary on the images  will be discussed. You're welcome to comment about the photos for a whole week so that your opinion can be included in the final post.

Disclaimer: The images in this post may have been cropped or re-sized in an attempt to make the objects in the photos a similar size for side by side comparison.  The merit or demerit of leaving more background space around the object will be discussed in another post as a separate issue.

Here is the first pair:

Image 1a.                        Image 1b.
SleeperhoneyDougSleeperhoneystevieb
 The brooch in the above photos is “Sleeper Cell” © 200 Andy Cooperman. Burl wood, sterling, gold leaf, stain.
 

Image 2a.                        Image 2b.
Doug.podaskharrieteStevieBaskHpod
 Brooch in the above photos is  “Potter” ©2009 Andy Cooperman. Burl wood, sterling, 18k, stain.

Image 3a.                        Image 3b.
Test1aJ Hall 12-09_9887Test2aJ Hall 12-09_9867
Pendant in the above photos: Black Heart ©2009 Jennifer Hall Sterling silver, silk ribbon

Image 4a.                        Image 4b.
Test4aA Cooperman 6-09_3008Test3aA Cooperman 6-09_3052
Ring (above) ©2009 Andy Cooperman. Sterling, gold, copper, copal amber


Image 5a.                        Image 5b.
Test5MyersTest6Myers
Necklace in above photos by Marcia Meyers ©2009 "Homage to Sliced Green Pepper",  reticulated silver, sterling and coral.


The next photos compare similar but not identical jewelry on different backgrounds.

Image 6a.                                Image 6b.
AskharrieteBerman_4.7.07Back_72AskHarrieteOreoIMG_7919_web 1000x
Octagonal Bracelet
©2009 by Harriete Estel Berman (left image)
Oreo "Unlock the Magic
© 2009 by Harriete Estel Berman (right image)

In the images below, this is not the same but very similar necklace "Orbit Black and White Identity Necklace" © by Harriete Estel Berman .  I did my best to make the images the same size, but obviously, each of the photographers chose different angles for capturing this necklace. Which approach do you like better?

Image 7a.                        Image 7b.
oRBIT BLACK AND wHITE iDENITY nECKLACE BY HARRIETE ESTEL BERMAN BEADSnCOHEN

As a result of a comment about the use of "colored backgrounds" in photographic images I have added the images below. 

Image 8a.                                Image 8b.
Metalsmith_YellowBkgrdnotitleSmallPieces
Patchwork Quilt, Small Pieces of Time ©1989 by Harriete Estel Berman (left and right images)

In the next post, Tuesday (next week), I will reveal the photographers' names for the images (along with links to their web sites).

In the third post in this series on Thursday, I will discuss comments from the readers including the differences in backgrounds, angles, and lighting. There are many issues potentially to consider in these comparisons.

These issues and more will be discussed at the Professional Development Seminar titled: Photography in Flux: Technical Issues, Media and Style.

DATE:           May 28, 2011
TIME:         9:00 to 12:00
                 (followed by brown bag lunch discussion)
LOCATION: The Westin Hotel,
                 1900 5th Ave,
                 Seattle, WA.

Free with Conference registration or $40 at the door (for the PDS only).

More information can be found on the SNAG web site.

Harriete

 


Who Owns the Photographic Image? Comments and opinions with no clear answer.

The previous post titled Who Owns the Photographic Image sparked many comments, including well researched and logical arguments, but so far there is no definitive answer. Check out the comments on the previous post. There were so many comments from Facebook, Crafthaus, Orchid/Ganoskin, I saved them all. If you want a copy, send me an email request.

Harriete.blurry If you would like to express another opinion, please leave it in the comments below this post.  In the mean time, I'm going to summarize some of the comments and my impressions. 

What bothered me most about this issue is the confusion.  Apparently it would be helpful to have a simple contract or letter of agreement for artists and makers needing to hire photographers to photograph the artwork.  The contract is NOT intended to involve monetary compensation for the use of the images, but instead (as stated in a previous post) to support sharing images of our work for critical writing and lectures.

Gryoscope The purpose of the contract (or letter of agreement) is to clearly establish that the photos of the work may be published without requiring subsequent permission from the photographer.

Andy Cooperman digests the diversity of opinions in his comment on ASK Harriete, "Yes, there is logic on both sides of the conversation. But what we are after, I think (speaking for the Professional Development Seminar Committee) is a definitive answer. Barring any negotiated contractual agreement between the artist or original maker of the work and the photographer who has been retained (hired) to document that work as closely as they can to its appearance in the real world, who owns the rights to the image? Who is the default owner of the rights? There must be an answer...."

Two Roses astutely points out on Crafthaus that the image of the artwork "is potentially as valuable, and perhaps more valuable than the work of art being photographed." "The emergence of on-line exhibitions will continue to place greater emphasis (and value) on the image of a piece rather than the piece itself.""

PCohenWith bounce Cards There is no doubt that superior photography of art or craft involves great skill from the photographer.  However, the goal of the engagement between artist and photographer is to capture a faithful rendering of the artist's or maker's work. Most photographers do not consider that this type of photography reflects the artistic photographer inside them. It is their "day job."

In the past, when an artist hired a photographer there seemed to be an implicit understanding that the artist could use the photo in anyway they needed to promote their work. The original payment for the photos included permission for all future publication either in print or online. Photo Credit is a professional courtesy and obligation by all parties in both print and on line, but this isn't part of the question.

Marthe Le Van, editor at Lark Books and future speaker for the Professional Development Seminar says,"new platforms for content and its distribution are being developed at such a rapid pace (ie: rights for an electronic edition, a digital download). 'Real' answers are short lived. Laws are changed, language is changed, and everyone involved has to live with a continually evolving legal landscape. It is most frustrating that there is no definitive, set-in-stone agreement that one can 'know' beyond a shadow of a doubt. I don’t think frequent changes stem from paranoia, but rather a rapidly changing field."

I agree that drafting an agreement between artist and photographer could be a way to clear up a lot of the misunderstanding about who owns the image or who has permission to do what. Of course, as stated above, it would have to be frequently revised.

What we are looking for here is a very simple, non-confrontational contract for artists and photographers to use. Steven Brian Samuels states in a comment on the previous post: "To me, this discussion just highlights the need for an open dialog between artists and photographers. It also stresses the importance of the relationship artists and photographers must have with one another. Artists and photographers can even work hand in hand promoting each others talents."

Michael Eastman on Orchid/Ganoskin said in a comment,"It really depends on what kind of agreement you have with the photographer . Some photographers will negotiate the rights and demand that they retain the copyright of the photograph they made. Some don't care....  so it is a gray area when it's not discussed."

Stephen Walker comment on Orchid/Ganskin seems most relevant to our discussion. 
   “...a US Federal Court ruling that museums do not own the copyright to images simply  because they own the originals. If the image is public domain because of antiquity or any other reason photographs, copies or reproductions of the art is not protected by copyright because the museum is not the author of the creative content, which is where  copyright originates.”
 
In my experience when museums own my work,  they still write to ask me to allow them permission to distribute the image of my work in print, online etc. This is even after I have either given them images of my artwork or they hire a photographer to photograph the work. I am looking for more information about this.

In the meantime...Does anyone have an example contract or letter of agreement with their clients or photographers?

Harriete


Who Owns the Photographic Image?

The most recent posts have discussed some really serious issues surrounding the use of photographic images. The answers are not easily found.

To foster greater understanding, the theme of the upcoming Professional Development Seminar will be, Photography in Flux: Technical Issues, Media and Style.  Organized by Andy Cooperman, Brigitte Martin and myself,  We have spent hours discussing a range of current issues surrounding photographic images.

Here is another one of the serious questions we've been discussing:

ChocolateQuestion200 Who Owns the Photographic Image?

Let's assume that the artist made the artwork and owns the copyright to the artwork. Then a photographer is hired by the artist to photograph the artwork.

Who owns the copyright to the photographic images?

The answer isn't as simple as it first appears.  Is it the artist who hired the photographer?  Or is it always the photographer?

When an image is to be printed in a book, whose permission is required? The artist, the photographer, or both? Can a permanent agreement between the artist and photographer allow unrestricted use by either party? What if the image is altered?

What if your artwork is photographed by a photographer hired by a museum or exhibition? Who owns the copyright to that photo then? The artist, the photographer, or the musuem/exhibition sponsor?

These are just two examples. I am really confused.  I want an answer, a real answer, not just my opinion. Does anyone really know? 

BermanObverse_front
Obverse Obsession © 2005
Post Consumer recycled tin cans,
aluminum, sterling silver, 10k gold
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

In the spirit of cooperation, we all benefit from the publication of images. The artist benefits by sharing their work with a larger audience. The photographer recieves visibility and recognition for the quality of the photogrpahic image (and possibly potential business photographing more work). The art/craft world benefits from the exhange of images and ideas. But who owns the photographic image?

If you have a clear answer please leave a comment.

Do you have a source for your information?

Hopefully, there are practical solutions, but what is the correct answer? We hope to have a solution at the Professional Development Seminar on May 28th, 2011.

Photography in Flux: Technical Issues, Media and Style.

DATE:           May 28, 2010
TIME:         9:00 to 12:00
                 (followed by brown bag lunch discussion)
LOCATION: The Westin Hotel,
                 1900 5th Ave,
                 Seattle, WA.

Free with Conference registration or $40. at the door.

More information can be found on the SNAG web site.

 Harriete