Dinosaur Bones by A.D. Coleman

We are happy to be able to share this recent essay by the American photo critic  A.D. Coleman. This is the complete text of a lecture delivered on November 8, 2011 at Hotshoe Gallery, London, co-sponsored by Hotshoe International, Viewfinder Photography gallery, and the VASA Project.

Mr. Coleman was the first photo critic for the New York Times, the Village Voice, and the New York Observer. His work has been published in countless publications within the last 45 years all over the world. Please visit and follow Mr. Coleman’s blog and support it with a small contribution if you can. He is one of a kind in his attempt to keep the professionalism of photo criticism intact in a dignified way, and that is a rare thing these days.  http://photocritic.com

-Agnostic Printmakers

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Thank you for coming out for this event tonight.

Before I begin, let me also thank Colin Finley, Melissa DeWitt, and Miranda Gavin of Hotshoe International and Rui Cepeda of Viewfinder Photography Gallery, as well as Roberto Muffoletto of the VASA Project, for bringing me here today. I especially commend them for engaging in a synergistic collaboration on this program that can serve as a model for other arts organizations in these fiscally challenging times.

And I want to dedicate this talk to the memory of the late Chris Dickie, publisher and editor of Ag: The International Quarterly Journal of Photographic Art & Practice. In his role at Ag, and before that in his editorial position at the British Journal of Photography, Chris was the first to put my work regularly before the UK audience, offering me platforms I valued enormously. I got to meet him only once, last fall, at a Royal Photographic Society event, just months before his passing, but our fruitful collaboration lasted almost twenty years, and I miss him very much.

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In Defense Of the Precious Object

Before I start in talking about subtle, often modest scale Japanese photography and the legacy of photographic prints as intimate, introspective, and highly crafted objects, I think I need to point out that there are of course infinite ways to use print technology to produce timeless, penetrating, poetic, and even monumental statements. This is a pluralistic and global world we’re apart of, with many avenues available for communicating and showing work and that is increasing, not decreasing. I see totally opposite approaches to using photography existing at the same time, at the same place, and I can appreciate all of it as valid, interesting, significant, and in a way inevitable.  I try to appreciate work on its own terms if I can.

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The State of the State of the Arts in Black & White

In 2002, Epson introduced their first improvement to black & white printing when they added a light black ink in the then new Epson 2200 desktop printer. It would take Epson nearly five more years before they would deliver two shades of light black ink in the R2400 desktop printer. Epson considered the Ultrachrome K3 inkset to represent “a turning point in the history of inkjet printing.” With three unique levels of black, Epson claimed that the new Ultrachrome K3 color inkset “dramatically improves both color and black & white prints.”

The two light shades of black did dramatically improve Epson Ultrachrome K3 prints, but only in comparison to earlier Epson Ultrachrome prints. Over the same time span and even several years earlier, specialized black & white inksets flourished. Piezography® transformed from a quad-black (four shades black) inkset in 2000 to a septone (seven shades of black) inkset in 2005.

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How to Network Lightroom

The debate has been raging since before Lightroom came out of Beta v1: when will we be able to share Lightroom catalogues? At the very least, how can we host a catalogue on a server somewhere and just open it up on different computers one at a time? Lightroom has a restriction where it blocks access if the catalogue database is from a networked location. Adobe built Lightroom this way to keep file-locking issues and database corruption to a minimum. But when you have many computers and thousands upon thousands of files, it’s nice to be able to open the same catalogue on each computer quickly without having to plug and unplug external hard-drives.

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Print on Demand

Note: This post is adapted from a paper by the same title originally published in The International Journal of the Book, vol.7, no. 1

Regardless of education or career path the question of how to find an audience eventually becomes a singular concern for many photographers. For those entering the commercial world this is a marketing issue: how to locate clients willing to pay for services rendered. The traditional solution for fine art photographers is exhibition and publication, where cost and access are predictable barriers.

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