The Last First Friday of MoP

1stFriday_April_2013First Friday Art Walks in Denver are always a blast. The galleries open their doors to the public for later the normal viewing and a little “wine and cheese” type atmosphere. Whether you are in the Santa Fe Art District, known as the hub of the Denver art scene, or any of the seven others around town, you are bound to see amazing art and some fascinating characters.

The creative community in Denver is

Sticking Your Art Where It Doesn’t Belong; The Big Picture Project

The Month of Photography is upon us! One of the events in Denver, Colorado for 2013 is The Big Picture street art project. Led by local photo impresario Mark Sink and co-hosted by Art-Plant and Artwork Network, The Big Picture plans to paper the outside walls of buildings around Denver with large format prints of images from local, national and international photographers. The first Big Picture in 2011, exchanged images not only with cities around the United States, but cities in South America, Switzerland, England, China, Mexico, Canada, France and Germany. The 2013 Big Picture will be sending and receiving photos from across the U.S.A. and around the world!

 

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Toulouse-Lautrec with on of his posters for the Moulin Rouge

“Street Art” is generally defined as: ‘art, often political or dealing with social themes, displayed on streets, sidewalks or walls of public spaces and often without permission of the property owner.’ There are quite a few types of media used in the creation of street art. The medium we normally associate with street art – paint, is actually fairly new on the scene. Bansky, building on the earlier paint-and-stencil work of John Fekner and Blek Le Rat has, over the past 15 years, become the most well known artist in that genre.

The medium of wheat-pasting paper on walls dates back to the nineteenth century and was used mostly for commercial purposes: advertising of products and events, especially circuses. Art and commerce began to merge in the 1890s when Toulouse-Lautrec’s posters for the Moulin Rouge, theaters and other events, papered the walls of buildings around Paris. Ernest Pignon-Ernest took wheat-pasting to a higher level and has been pasting amazing art projects on the walls of Naples,

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Shepard Fairey’s 2008 “Hope” political campaign poster

Soweto, Brest, Ramallah and more since the 1960s. In the United States, Shepard Fairey gained notoriety as a sticker and wheat-paste artist with his “Obey Giant” series and achieved national recognition with the 2008 Obama “Hope” poster.

 

Computers and wheat paste have joined forces to bring photography to the streets. Photo files submitted to the Big Picture are being emailed around the world to sister cities in the project. The files are then printed and pasted locally. The Colossal Reed Art & Imaging Galactic Headquarters (CRAIGHQ) building at the corner of North Ninth Avenue and Federal Blvd., was the first Denver location to be pasted to kick off The Big Picture Project for 2013. Mark Sink, Peter Davies and others in the Big Picture pasting crew were joined by Gary Reed, Barb Pullin, Jody Akers, Bob Jewett, and Merhia Madsen (and her daughters Annabelle and Maggie) from Reed Art & Imaging to put the first batch of images up on the walls. The work at Reed isn’t complete! In addition to more Big Picture images to arrive, Reeds’ employees will be pasting the building with their own fine art images in the weeks to come. Also to be included will be several images from the winners of Reeds’ recent facebook contest held in honor of The Big Picture Project and the Month of Photography. Make sure you stop by to see what’s new!

 

The Big Picture website will be posting a map of the locations where images have been pasted locally and around the world. Look for it so you can take your own tour and see the amazing art prints posted on the walls about town! If you’d like to get in on the project, Big Picture is taking submissions through March 15. So hurry on over to the Big Picture website for all the details and get your photographs on the street!

 

Click to see the e-book of Big Picture Project images from 2011, and watch for the 2013 book due out later this year!

 

Additional Links:

The Big Picture Facebook page has plenty of pictures of the pasting at Reed Art & Imaging.

Fresh Art Photography will be taking part in the Big Picture project.

YouTube: Ernest PIGNON-ERNEST – Les peintures urbaines (4:42) A retrospective of Pignon-Ernests’ wheat paste installations in HD!

Month of Photography at Bardo Coffee House

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Bardo Coffee House at 238 South Broadway in Denver has an exciting show featuring 3 fantastic artists for the Month of Photography. The show titled Sensual Fiction at the Bardow highlights 3 female artists at their best.

Curated by Richard Peterson for Month of Photography, the show features photographs by Terri Bell, Valerie Photogoddess and Wendi Schneider.
A recent outing with several members of the ReedArt & Imaging TrueArt team gave the show (and the lunch with coffee) a unanimous two thumbs up. Drop by Bardos for a cup of coffee, the friendly service, and the fantastic fine art photography.
The show hangs through April 1, 2013.

Artwork by: Wendi Schneider
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Are Your Photos Ready to Survive Wildfires and Severe Weather?

I read a newspaper article in the Denver Post about the wildfire in BoulderHouse fully engulfed in flames Canyon, Colorado and the tragic losses the families there are suffering. The primary focus of this article concerns a couple, Barry and Kate, who lost their home once before to wildfires and may have just lost it for a second time to this fire. Kate is quoted as saying that as they fled this time they packed their ski gear, bikes and photographs. “The main thing is we got our photographs, because those can never be replaced” says Kate.

On their way out of the burning canyon, they stopped to help an elderly neighbor; Erna Means. What do you think Erna grabbed as she abandoned her house to possible total destruction? You got it, a box of photographs! Isn’t that what you hear all the time when someone asks what you would rescue as you’re running out of a house that is burning, flooding or being blown away? Photographs are always on the top of the list right after pets. That’s wonderful that people are so protective of their memories, that they feel photographs are irreplaceable, while everything else can be replaced.

If only people would be that concerned when a tragedy isn’t about to strike. You don’t hear about all the important images and memories that are lost forever, every day throughout the world when hard drives fail or CDs and thumb-drives become unreadable or cell phones and computers are lost or stolen. Anguished screams happen all the time. But it’s just not news worthy or important enough, until it happens to you or me. Backing up or archiving your memories is so easy to do but also so easy to forget and maybe a little time consuming, but oh so important. Check out my previous blogs titled “Digital Image Archiving – The Lost Generation parts 1 and 2” for ways you can protect yourself from the most probable cause of image loss, computer failure and advancements in technology.

Beautify Your Photographs While Making a Great First Impression

We were recently introduced to a new type of laminate for photographs, ink jet and poster prints we call “Crystal” for its faceted like surface. This is very different than a normal gloss or lustre coating. Being 5 ML thick with full UV protection, this laminate is extremely durable. We put it to the test for over 2 months and found it to be one of the toughest cold mount poly laminates we have seen. Our test clients loved it immediately and all but demanded we add it to our lineup of products. No doubt about it, the blacks are much richer, colors have more pop and the image has more depth and clarity. We first started offering this product strictly on our Gallery Mounts because it is tough enough to go through our edging machine and not show any scuffs or damage.

Now, we have make it available for any print mounted to any type of substrate. Fine art prints from wildlife and scenic’s to abstracts and commercial prints never looked richer or have had better protection. Check out our samples at the lab or if you are out of town just call us to have one sent out to you. My personal recommendation for an incredible eye catching, heart stopping, WOW kind of print is to put this laminate on Kodak Metallic paper. Although it also looks great on Fuji Crystal Archive C print paper and Fuji Flex, the Metallic is killer.

How to Get Great Color, Save Profits, and Never Have to Work Color or Density in Photoshop or Lightroom. Part 1

I’m going to fill you in on the secrets of how to get great color, save your
profits, and never have to work color or density in Photoshop. All without
the use of ICC profiles, confusing work-flows or batch conversions.
If you understood the above and it applies to you, chances are you are a
professional photographer. Professional print quality is much easier to achieve
than most photographers are aware.

Getting there requires Five crucial elements. With these five in place, you can go
directly from camera to print and get excellent results.

Yes, that’s right, higher profits and more free time with:
No Photoshop work.
No profiling magic.
No bag of tricks or fairy dust.

Rule #1 – If you have to adjust the density of your files, your metering is inaccurate.
You may find this hard to believe, but truly consistent spot-on exposures rarely come
from TTL metering. I know that’s tough to swallow, but reflective metering is just too fallible.

Don’t believe me? Here is a simple test to see if this rule applies to you.
1. Take a look at the average corrections you are making on your files in
Photoshop or Lightroom.
2. Jot down the number of exposure corrections you make in a work week.
3. If the answer is any higher than zero, guess what, I’m right – your TTL has failed you. So how do we correct this?
Get a GOOD new or used hand held incident flash meter, and calibrate it to your
camera using Will Crockett’s “Face mask Histogram Technique” copy and paste
the following web address into your browser: Go to
http://www.shootsmarter.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=116&acat=16
Keep in mind that digital cameras have only 1/8th stop of exposure latitude. If you
have an incident meter, compare it against Will’s meter reviews and see how it rates. Some
well known meters are unprofessionally inconsistent . Up to a horrible deviation of +- 1/3 stop from reading to reading. This is definitely outside of the acceptable range for a professional photographer and enough to put you back in an editing app to tweak density.

After you have calibrated your meter to your camera using the Face Mask Histogram, you have completed the first of a few simple steps towards a more efficient and predictable workflow. Take some test shots this week and fine tune your exposure calibrations to ensure you are keeping your highlight detail while maintaining good shadow detail.
Next time:
Part 2.

How to get Great Color, Save Your Profits, and Never Have to Work Color or Density in Photoshop. Part 2

My last blog post discussed the weakness of TTL metering and the need for spot on exposure to avoid working your files in photoshop. Thus saving money and time which should result in a more profitable business.

Rule #2 – If you don’t have proper white balance, you don’t have correct color.
This seems like a real “DUH!” statement, but it is astonishing how many pro’s still don’t grasp the importance of this.
Using auto white balance in a high-end professional workflow is a bad idea? Auto WB works if you have absolute
neutrals in your image, and even then it can be fooled by bright or near neutral tones in your subjects. If you are not getting consistent skin tones from sitting to sitting, or indoor to outdoor it’s time to adopt custom WB in your capture work-flow. And you wouldn’t dream of passing these auto white balance inconsistencies on to your final client prints – right?
The brief amount of time it takes to get an accurate custom white balance by using an accurate target can, and likely will, save your studio hours of Photoshop time.
And I am sure you know that in a pro studio:
Hours = (Profit – Dollars + extra time you could be getting more business).
And if you are paying staff to deal with exposure and white balance issues, don’t forget to add in payroll taxes and benefits to that equation. With accurate white balance control, you will NOT need to adjust the color of your files. Assuming of course that your camera is in a good state of repair. It is rare that the preset white balances on your camera will be accurate enough for professional standards.

To get an accurate WB, you need an accurate target.
If you are using a Kodak Grey card or one of those black/white/gray targets or a plastic over-the-lens diffuser, I would invite you to upgrade to something more accurate. If quality and/or profit margin are your #1 concerns; above all else get the most accurate WB target available. The Balance Smarter from the smart folks at BalanceSmarter.com.
Your color is only as good as the WB target you use. If you skimp here, you’ll pay the price later in additional work or reprints. Is it worth the risk?. After spending thousands on education, good gear and marketing to get business, seems a shame to put the investment and your reputation all on the line using a cheapo calibration target or tool.

If you are still tempted to take shortcuts during the shoot, every time you have the thought ” I’ll just fix it in Photoshop later”, say to yourself instead:
” I’ll just spend the time and money to fix it in Photoshop later”
Be Honest, isn’t the latter REALLY what you would be doing?

Next week:
Rule #3 – Using the right colorspace = great prints!

6 Easy Tips to Avoid Trouble With Your E-Letter

When Reed Art & Imaging decided to publish an electronic newsletter. I went on an expedition to investigate what was the best software to use and how to comply with the anti-spam laws. Initially I tried two programs; Constant Contact and Autoresponder. Constant Contact has templates that were fairly easy to edit and use. I initiated a trial with Constant Contact for 60 days. During that time, I worked with their templates and basically had a test drive. I found Constant Contact, fairly easy to use. Autoresponder allowed me to cut and paste the code in from Adobe Dreamweaver. I used Adobe’s Dreamweaver to design and create the HTML e-letter. We used Autoresponder to send out the e-letter. We currently use A Better Email which has some great features. All of these programs helped you to comply with the CAN_SPAM act. These federal laws, must be followed or you can be heavily fined. Here’s the website address to download a pdf file of these requirements from the Federal Trade Commission.:

http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus61-can-spam-act-Compliance-Guide-for-Business

Below is a rundown of CAN-SPAM’s main requirements:

Don’t use false or misleading header information.
Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.

1) Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.

2) Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.
Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.

3) Honor opt-out requests promptly.
Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.

4) Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.

5) Do not ‘buy’ a list.
The best results always come from people who opt in and that know or know of you. Also, Constant Contact does not allow you to use purchased lists. We work within our own customer base or use an opt-in to receive the e-letter. We include an unsubscribe feature and honor any request we receive to opt-out from receiving the e-letter.

5) Make Your E-Letter Unique!
Our e-letter has monthly contests that I find. We hold frequent contests for our Facebook fans too! Every week the theme changes and around once a month we hold a contest and the winner is chosen by the amount of likes that their image receives. Whenever we find something that promotes a community group, we try and let our readers know about it. Additionally we promote through a short video, selected customers. Each video has an interview and a slide show of the customers work. One of our core beliefs, is that when our customers win, we win.