Research – Scanography Project

Having used scanners of varying makes and models in publishing and web related work over a number of years I was not even aware that scanography was a recognised process at all until recently let alone be used as a legitimate form of presentation for publishing. Such was the case when I came across the work of Harold Feinstein whilst researching assignment 4. Feinstein initially used this process to produce a book called 100 Flowers, but has since gone on to produce more books of the genre. Nonetheless he was a photographer who managed to find a perfect recipe for photographing flowers using a scanner. Below is one of the many images he has produced in this large body of work:

 

The concept is of course not a new one as I remember the days of youthful or not so youthful antics of using a photocopier to produce reproductions of animate objects as much as anyone else. It was surprising that the use of this medium goes back much further. In fact the concept goes back much further to the late 60’s with the use of photocopier machines to produce works known as xerox art. One such example included the artist Sonia Landy Sheridan who work included artist in residence at 3M and Founding the Generative System program at the art institute of Chicago which enabled students to combine art with the technologies, early scanography being one of them. Her work in the industry enabled her to give here students the most up to date exposure to the visual communications of that time.

So what is a scanner? well it is a device made up of two main components, a CCD (charge coupled device) which collects the photons of light picked up by the internal light source that passes along the bed of the scanner. The difference in quality can measured in a number of ways, the first major element has to be the devices optical resolution. Needless to say the higher the resolution the better the quality of the output or finished scan. Some lower end models use interpolation as a means of increasing image quality by producing extra pixels in an image. This can also adversely affect image quality such as banding. An example of which you can find below. Aside from resolution it is also important to remove unwanted light sources from the scanning and this can be achieved by using a deep box of the scanner bed with the object(s) encased or in other case the use of a large black blanket to blot out other light sources. It is important to note as with lenses that your glass on the scanner should be clean and free from dust and other particles as the will show up in an annoying way on your final image. Another factor to consider is the software as some bundled software and third party options do allow for manipulation of the devices core setting prior to scanning, much like a camera dedicated software can produce marked improvements on an image as opposed to post processing.

I have attached a few images taken from the integrated scanner on my printer, the quality is nothing to write home about, but I do find the end result interesting in terms of the output, namely the balance of shadow on the image giving an impression of depth. This is something I would like to experiment more with as and when a more suitable scanner becomes available.

Face off
Light Bulb Moment
Artificial Thingamabob

References

Wikipedia, Scanography. [online]. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scanography [Accessed 14/08/2020]

Scanography, Scanography. [online]. Available at: http://scanography-scannography.blogspot.com/2011/05/ [Accessed 14/08/2020]

Scannography, Materials[online]. Available at: https://www.scannography.org/material.html [Accessed 14/08/2020]

 

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Research 3 – Henri Cartier-Bresson

The Brief

Watch the Henri Cartier-Bresson documentary ‘L’amour de court’ (‘Just plain love’, 2001) available in five parts on YouTube:

www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL707C8F898605E0BF

Please note, Parts 4 and 5 of the Henri Cartier Bresson video ‘L’amour tout court’ have had the audio muted by YouTube owing to copyright. However, the subtitles are still included in the video which does allow the conversation to be followed without audio.

‘L’amour tout court’ is also available on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/106009378 (accessed 26/09/2016).

Write a personal response to the film in the contextual section of your learning log, taking care to reference properly any quotations you use (300–500 words).

• Whenever you read or watch something, get into the habit of putting anything you take directly from the source in quotation marks and note down full bibliographic details. If you do this, you won’t have to spend ages hunting for half-remembered references later – and you won’t inadvertently plagiarise someone else’s work. Always use Harvard referencing; print out the study guide on the student website and keep this to hand.

• Be very careful about what you put on your blog. Take a moment now to read what the OCA learning blog study guide says about copyright law and fair use or fair dealing.

Response

Henri Cartier -Bressons view seem to indicate that the decisive moment is a somewhat geometrically creative moment that happens as a result of luck, opportunity, but also being able to recognise the moment when to take a creative exposure. You could infer from Bressons response is that you could learn all of the technical aspects of say the camera or a pencil or paintbrush and still not be able to create an an accurate depiction of something unique and decisive, some may not even recognise when those moments occur. The end result should require no explanation and should be clear in what it represents.

Graham response in my view is quite different in that every moment is a decisive one and allows for the viewer to make there own minds up about what it is they are seeing. It is a procession of daily life, anonymous, every moment played out in a unique unassuming way. The photographers approach is indecisive as there is no cohesive message, its not opportunistic and not what you would call a creative moment being captured. Its a narrative. However if we compare it as a snapshot of the time itself then perhaps that same series by Graham would look quite different say back in the 1950’s as opposed to now and say the present would be very different again in another 60 years, so you could interpret it as a story of our time.

Ghazzals approach to this subject is rather different in that he cites the Decisive moment as a cliché rather than a reality and whilst it has had an profound affect on photojournalism, not every creative photographer relies on the decisive moment. Ghazzal cites Walker Evans as a very prominent and influential photographer who introduced series photography through some of his works, yet had very few decisive moments. Which raises the question around the ability to recognise a decisive moment is not always necessary in becoming a creative photographer. Ghazzal also cites that architecture in America leaves very little room for decisive moments and this I would have to disagree with to a certain degree as this infers that there is no change, where in fact there is and by that notion the world as we see it today, will be very different tomorrow and with that each piece of worka photographer does could be considered decisive in its own right albeit not very creative.

My own view is a simple one and one I am often reminded of when I travel and I do not have my camera with me, you have to be ready for it, its almost like the words are ringing in my ears yelling “Those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail” and it is so true. Some days I drive home and I see beautifully silhouetted trees against a pale pink sky and think damn why didn’t I bring my camera. So I go back to what I was saying, you have to be ready for the moment, recognise it and act on it. The other thing I recognise from this process is that it is also personal from the viewpoint of the photographer.

References

(1) Colin Pantall. The Present. [online]. Available at:   [Accessed 19th January 2020]

(2) Colin Pantall. The Present. [online]. Available at: https://www.photoeye.com/magazine/reviews/2012/05_17_The_Present.cfm  [Accessed 23rd January 2020]

(3) Zouhair Ghazzal. the indecisiveness of the decisive moment. [online]. Available at: http://zouhairghazzal.com/photos/aleppo/cartier-bresson.htm  [Accessed 23rd January 2020]

 

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Research 1 – Campany & Colberg

Research Brief

Read the reviews by Campany and Colberg and, if you haven’t already done so, use them to begin the Research section of your learning log. Try to pick out the key points made by each writer. Write about 300 words.

If you wish, you could add a screengrab of an image from Ruff’s jpeg series, and one or two of your own compressed jpegs (taken on auto mode of course). You can achieve the effect quite easily by re-sizing a photograph to say, 180 x 270 pixels, and saving at ‘zero quality’ compression. If you use Photoshop’s ‘save for web’ you can see the effect immediately without having to save, close and reopen the file.

Response

  • Colberg that Ruffs journey culminating in the body of work JPEGS started out from the attack on the world trade center. where all of his resulting exposures were blank
  • Ruff took to downloading images from the web, which is where Ruff started to experiment with JPEGS modifying the images to make them fit for the purpose of reproduction.
  • The idea of aesthetically beautiful images being used in a body of work, despite being borne from iconic but terrible occurrences
  • Collection expanded into a larger set
  • Works well in book form, the author gives Aperture a lot of credit for the final result of the images in the book.
  • The content of the book relies a little to heavily on technique and thus belies the thinness of the concept. Well aware of the achievements that can be made in image manipulation.
  • Campany review of Thomas Ruffs work seemed a little more comprehensive.
  • Both authors acknowledge that Ruffs work creates discussion and pushes the boundaries of photography.
  • Images do not work as well blown up for gallery display
  • Campany cites that found images have long been used by artists with the rise of Cubism, Dada and Cubism and often found in mainstream media for reporting, documentary work and cinema.
  • Campany goes further by saying that all photographic images come from archives which in a sense is true in that my own work and that of my fellow students and family have are all archives.
  • Ruffs preference for working in series
  • Each image unique but given greater meaning or substance as part of a larger set
  • Ruff used a number of archives in creating this body of work
  • Ruff has done a great deal to produce what we might infer as the art of the pixel reminiscent of the way photographers used grain as an expressionistic device.

My own thoughts on this having worked in a production department of a local newspaper for ten years during a time of change between traditional photography and the cusp of the digital age working with the first 72dpi camera and a scanning department where I started working with the early flat bed scanners that would take up the whole of an average sized desk. I learned very quickly what could be achieved from a low dpi setting jpg image, especially given the number of images that you would manipulate to fit a given size profile within an advertising space.

In those early years there were very clear limits to the technology we were using, which I find now are becoming increasingly blurred as camera technology progresses and there is yet a subtle beauty of working with image manipulation, which we can all appreciate in post processing.

Below I have placed a couple of examples of images I have taken from the original to the heavily compressed versions.

You can visibly see the differences in the photos, firstly the lack of detail, which appear more prevalent in the shot of the rocks. The lack of definition gives the effect of making the surrounding pebbles look bigger. The effect is less noticeable in the flower yet you can make our a slight change in the colouring and the sharpness of the image when compared with the original.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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