Monday, April 30, 2007

Urban surrealism

At first glance you would think Dutch artist Edwin Zwakman's work is trying to find beauty in the urban landscape. What is harder to decipher is that Edwin builds these intricate scenes himself from memory with models. Since it is done from memory, with no other point of reference, each image becomes almost like an alter reality; a city he has created out of his mind.

In this day and age where most people rely on Photoshop to do this kind of construction, it is good to see someone is still doing this sort of thing by hand. It reminds me of all the miniatures made for movie special effects pre-CGI. I can not imagine the time it must have taken to create some of these scenes. Large photographic prints were made for his show in the United Kingdom, Tales from the Grid, which ends on May 6th.

Review by CR Blog; Remodeling the World:

...The 35-year-old Zwakman was recently voted one of the 21 most important photographers of the 21st century by Contemporary Magazine.

"As I reconstruct the world, I work entirely from memory," he explains. "I never use photographs or other reference material. All the places, objects and buildings I have seen morph into new variations. Scale and perspective change as well: the images do not show what one could photograph in such situations, but how one experiences and remembers them."

Friday, April 27, 2007

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day

The worldwide celebration of pinhole photography is coming up this weekend, April 29th. Time to dust of your SPAMera and get out there and take some funky pinhole images. If you get anything you want to share you can post them to the official Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day website. They have galleries up there from the past 6 years worth of submissions. Better yet, you can get a big print of your favorite image. The eerie quality of these lensless pinhole images is amplified when you enlarge them. Happy shooting!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Kevin Dyer featured in Art-Talk

Kevin Dyer is one the artists in our For Sale Gallery. He has beautiful photography that he has collected over his many travels around the world. Some truly stunning images. We are not the only ones that think so. Art-Talk, a publication out of Scottsdale Arizona, that markets to art connoisseurs featured Kevin in their April issue.

Arizona photographer Kevin Dyer began his interest in fine art photography while living in Thailand. "I wanted to document the adventure I was living every day, not just by taking snapshots, but by making photographs that lived up to the inspiration I was feeling. Photographs that would be hanging in my house someday." he says.

He has photographed everything from Thailand to Mt. Everest to Brazil, and his travels have had a profound effect on his work. "For me, there has always been a symbiotic relationship between travel and photography, one inspires me to do the other," says Dyer.

-full story by Alexis Quintana for Art-Talk

Friday, April 20, 2007

What's in a brand?

I came across this blog today authored by C.B. Whittemore: Flooring the Consumer. Although her business is floor finishing, she has many great posts on all aspects of marketing and consumer satisfaction in the shopping experience. In her own words: As Director, In-Store Innovation for Solutia's Wear-Dated carpet fiber, I track consumer trends and am fascinated with digital and brick/mortar retailers who are passionate about meeting the needs of their consumers. I know I will be back to read more on her blog today this particular post caught my eye.
Michael Cape on the Brand Promise:

"The Brand Promise: Connecting With Your Customer Through Marketing, Store Environment and Online" was the subject of Michael Cape's keynote presentation at the December 2006 TREX show in NYC.

At the time of the presentation, Cape was VP of Brand Marketing for JC Penney. He has since accepted the position of EVP for Old Navy [see 2/26/2007 DDI Magazine article Michael Cape Names Old Navy's EVP Marketing].

Exciting changes have taken place at JC Penney during Cape's tenure: the introduction of Sephora as a store within a store, a pop-up store in Times Square, a successful turnaround and expansion. No wonder he has decided to join Old Navy. Things were probably starting to get boring!

Cape started with the following questions. Notice that each one relates to the CONSUMER, not to the store or products.

1. What does the brand stand for in the heart/mind of the consumer?
2. Is your brand relevant to your customer's life?
3. Does your brand make an emotional connection with your customer? [Get away from brand arrogance and build an emotional connection.]
4. Is your brand an inspiration to you customer?

...Cape repeatedly emphasized the criticality of delivering on the brand promise within the store environment. The store entrance should display ceremony and tie into the rest of the brand experience; all brand elements within the store [e.g., light fixtures, the red cube, and 3 different ways to shop] should tie into the campaign. And, don't forget that in-store displays absolutely influence consumers!

How better to convey these points to the customer than through large visual graphics? An image of a bride on her wedding day, a child holding a grown up's hand, or a family having a picnic on a sunny day can catch the viewer's attention and communicate the point right away. It can instantly make an emotional connection with your customer. Adding your brand to the graphics makes the retention of your company name even stronger.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Yes, but how will it look on the wall?

Many photographer's have run across this question from their clients. They love the image and want to buy it, but can not visualize how it will look in their office or living room. Google provides some very useful software that might be able to help you out. SketchUp is a free download and will allow you to build 3 dimensional models of nearly any environment. If you can imagine it, you can draw it out here. There are thousands of models (trees, window frames, sofas, TV's, tables, and so on) available for download and textures and patterns you can apply that will help you make the mock up look more realistic. You can set the parameters of the room to be exactly the same size as their space. You can zoom in and out and view the room in a 360 degree radius.

The software is pretty easy to navigate. If you can use Photoshop, you will be able to use SketchUp. I made this mock up pretty easily never using the software until today.

Wow your clients and use SketchUp on your next print project. It could make the difference between them ordering a 20x24 or a 30x50.

Thanks to Greg Hunter for the tip and Diego Ceja for the image!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Art about people viewing art

Photographer Thomas Struth has for the last 20 years been collecting images of museum goers viewing art. He captures most of his images so that the piece of artwork that is being displayed is obscured from the camera's view. All you are left with is the reactions of the viewer to the art that you (as a viewer of Struth's art) can not see. His image Hermitage 1, St. Petersburg with patrons viewing a work by Leonardo can be seen above. Struth printed these large photographs for his latest exhibition "Making Time" at the Marian Goodman Gallery in New York. Full write up by Michael Kimmelman for the New York Times.

Art's Audiences Become Artworks Themselves:

Thomas Struth’s show at Marian Goodman — rapturous, magisterial photographs of museum visitors standing before Velázquez in Madrid and looking at Leonardo at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg — culminates one of the memorable art projects of the last 20 years or so. For nearly that long, Mr. Struth has been making these pictures of people in museums. They’re looking at art, although you might say the real question is what they, and we, are seeing.

The beauty of these pictures is almost a given by now. This current show forms a coda to one lately at the Prado, where Mr. Struth insinuated a dozen or more, some nearly life-size, photographs among the paintings and sculptures. It took some gall and guile. Come upon irregularly and unexpectedly, his pictures punctuated galleries of nearly unrelenting greatness.

Sometimes they intruded. Occasionally, they seemed irrelevant. Mostly they were jarring. I found myself later recalling photographs I had thought forgettable at the time, in the way you may recall somebody you just glimpsed at a museum more vividly than the art.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Hairy situation

If you have ever needed to remove a person from a background with wild locks like this guy, then you know how hard it can be. Here are some great tips posted on Although this tutorial is for Photoshop Elements, the lesson can be applied to the full version just as easily. Check out the rest of their site. It is full of other useful Photoshop tricks and tutorials.

Selecting & Extracting Hair - Masking Tutorial - Extraction Tips
Adapted from "Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0 Maximum Performance" by Mark Galer

One of the most challenging montage or masking jobs in the profession of post-production editing is the hair lift. When the model has long flowing hair and the subject needs to change location many post-production artists call in sick. Get it wrong and, just like a bad wig, it shows. Extract filters, Magic Erasers and Tragic Extractors don’t even get us close.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Light in the tunnel

What an amazing use for large graphics! These advertisements are starting to pop up in subway tunnels around the world. Two companies Submedia and SideTrack are leading the way in this new utilization of, what used to be, dark empty stretches of tunnel thousands of people pass each day. They are created by placing either illuminated prints or LED monitors in succession in the tunnel that when viewed at the right speed from the train look like a movie.

Subway tunnels the latest ad billboards; by Daniel Terdiman, Staff Writer, CNET

If you've been in a subway car in San Francisco, London, Boston, Rio or one of several other cities recently and thought you saw a short film playing along the dark walls of the tunnels, you're not going crazy.

In face, what you saw was one of the latest forms of advertising technology, which is slowly taking over one of transit riders' last refuges from commercial messages....

...And to those in charge of some of the rail systems using the ads, they're working.

"It's everything and more that I wanted it to be," said Graeme Hay, the commercial manager for London's Heathrow Express, which connects the British capital to its main airport. "I've had customers who said to me, 'Wow, that's fantastic. What is it?'"

To see it in action on London's Heathrow Express check out this video.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Queen Creek murals leave a Mighty big impression

What was once the quiet, rural, country Town of Queen Creek Arizona is growing so fast that the staff at the City Hall are having a devil of a time just keeping up. The Town wished to purchase three new wall murals that depict the current Town limits, the Town's planning area, and outlying areas. Accuracy was critical since everybody from the Mayor on down would use these murals on a daily basis in assisting with the future build out of their little town.

Brian Sovik, GISP of AMEC Earth and Environmental, Inc. (a worldwide leader in design and project management infrastructure) headed the project with aerial imagery provided by Air Photo USA. Working closely with Ms. Shawny Ekadis, GIS manager of the Town of Queen Creek, Mighty Imaging produced and installed all three 72"x91" murals. These murals, printed on our LightJet were accurate within one millimeter per eight foot of paper and were mounted on 1/8" masonite. After applying a luster laminate we built a bolt together museum back for easy installation.

The vibrancy of the images were incredible and the graphics identifying the Town's limits and future planning areas seemed to jump off the wall. If you want your town to grow start with some Mighty Big Images. Put them out front and center, then watch as one person after another marvels at the future opportunities that become apparent with a large wall mural.