Saturday, October 01, 2011

Continuing the photographic journey

I guess that I have been on a break from blog posts. Most of my blog posts in my hectic days was about the journey of photography. I shared what I was going through and what I was thinking. I took a year off to travel last year and that I blogged on my Singapore to Europe blog. And then things went quite because my time was taken up by an illness in my family. I did a few posts about the frailty of life, but I did not do so much.

I am working on some personal photographic projects now. It is a bit hard to blog about it in the midst of the projects because it is all new to me and the process is hazy. It took me a while before I got some insight into photography and started blogging about it. So it will take a while before I figure out what I am doing with my new direction in photography.

But I am now exploring the Black Art of printing. Up until now, I have been able to make simple calibrations of my screen and make ball park prints of my images. A lot of my images ended up in digital format anyway and the printing was done by someone else if at all. For more high end prints for my exhibitions, I would get Chris Yap from Light Editions to make my prints for me. But I always had this feeling that my eye for output is still untrained. And I was always at the mercy of the people printing the images for me. Some like Chris were good, some from some commercial labs were bad. And I do not even know what it is that I do not know to make the printing better. I hope that in time when I start competing my projects, I will be able to exhibit my work. And in that sense, I realize that I need to take responsibility of the final prints. Even if I do end up sending my photos out to be printed by someone else, I had better know what it is that I need from the printer and how to express my needs. A new journey begins.

The best photographic printers, the machines, are made by Epson. Unfortunately, the documentation is sparse. And the interface between the computer and the printers are not always obvious. I mean, is my intent 'Colormetric' or 'Perceptual', I do not rightly know. And if all photographers vaguely know that we need to color manage our work flow, it is possible to 'manage' color twice and make a balls of the final results. Even the simple act of calibrating the monitor, is not simple. What color temperature should we aim for? What is the maximum lumen?

I have decided to blog about my journey into the Black art of printing. And because we all have different computers, screens, printers and paper preferences, my experience is unlikely to be template for all people printing. But hopefully the concepts will be useful and at least some of the specifics will be useful to some people.