Will You Guarantee Something Your Supplier Won’t?

Will You Guarantee Something Your Supplier Won’t?

Several of our clients have shared with us how they’ve been left hanging when their previous face-mount producers refused to stand behind their product when it failed after the warranty period. These artists were left paying out-of-pocket to re-make, re-crate, and re-ship fine art presentations to their very unhappy buyers. Despite the artist doing the right thing, the experience left their customers lacking the trust they once had to make future purchases. It was an unfortunate situation that both parties should never have experienced.

These stories are never fun to hear, but they are not uncommon. Most face-mount producers won’t guarantee their product beyond a few years — some as short as only 12 months! There is a solid reason for these unfortunate warranty periods — those producers simply cannot trust their own product not to fail! The sad irony is, they expect you to?

Trust is hard-earned. Reed has always stood behind the quality of every single product we’ve ever made. Period. We introduced Diasec face-mount technology to North America because an artist should never have to worry about anything they let out of their studio. They should have faith that their brand and their buyer’s investments are protected. Neither the artist nor the buyer should ever be surprised by an expensive fine art presentation failure.

Our Diasec face-mount simply, Does. Not. Fail. A permanent bond is formed between the print and the acrylic creating a unified piece that will not let go. It is the highest quality face-mount available, yet we price it very competitively. If other companies are pitching you a bargain, trust us, you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for.

Whether it’s a Diasec face-mount, pigment print, chromogenic, canvas, or any of our other products, the Reed Team continues to stand behind what we do because we know that the fine-art pieces we produce on your behalf are crafted with the finest materials and finished with the most exacting detail. We’ve never refused to replace a product due to defect. Our in-house artisans are confident enough to stand behind all of our products for years to come.

As a working artist, you should never have to bear the risk of guaranteeing a product that your supplier refuses to guarantee themselves.

The Big Picture 2019

Barb Pullin and Thomas Carr "hang paper" at 40 West
Getting permission to paste is HIGHLY recommended.

The Gallery of The Streets

The biennial event, Month of Photography 2019 is in full swing, and a big part of MoP is The Big Picture. As usual, Reed Art & Imaging figures heavily into the mix. To date, we’ve printed over 220 large scale wheatpastes for some 25 artists and photographers. This year’s event marks the first time MoP wheatpaste art has been printed in full color.

For the uninitiated, the most commonly known example of this once ubiquitous advertising medium is French painter and printmaker Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who raised the practice of bill posting to the level of street art in the 1890’s with his elaborate scenes of wild Parisian nightlife.

Though the popularity of the art form has ebbed and flowed, it has never gone away, and, in some respects, has even gained in popularity. Known as “flyposting” in the United Kingdom, street artists like Shepard Fairey leverage this old school marketing tactic to make provocative social and political statements, oftentimes in contradiction to the accepted or conventional wisdom of the day.

The basic wheatpaste equation? Image on paper + paste + wall + guerilla attitude = Street Art.

(Street Fine Art?)

As with all things MoP, The Big Picture has been advancing the cause of photography through the art of wheatpaste for some time now. In addition to Denver, Big Picture 2019 exhibitors can be seen in galleries and streets across France, Italy, Switzerland, The United Kingdom, New York, Jamaica and Mexico.

Closer to home, the father of MoP and The Big Picture, Mark Sink spearheads the wheatpaste cause with activities across the Denver Metro area.

Below, Mark & Friends (including some of the Reed gang) on a recent wheatpasting of the south wall of the 40West headquarters in Lakewood.

For more information on MoP 2019 events around town:

https://www.facebook.com/bigpicturedenver/

https://www.mopdenver.com/mop-2019#/thebigpicture2019/

https://www.facebook.com/events/764664260718312/

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/deconstructed-brunch-tickets-58461443752

All photos by Gary Reed

Old-School Meets New School: The Portragon 100 f:4

PortragonObliFrontAs part of an ongoing lo-fi experiment I have been acquiring a number of old-school lenses that are known for being less than perfect, and I’ve modified good lenses, all in the quest to find just the right level of ethereal beauty. Lomography’s recent release of their Petzval reminded me of another lens released decades ago; the Spiratone Portragon 100mm f:4. This sole purpose of this lens was to re-create the effect of the very early single meniscus lenses used on bellows-focus cameras of the time. I had never owned a Portragon, so I had no personal reference regarding it’s Image Quality (IQ). That said, I was off to google where I found… well, very little in the way of examples. One YouTube video and a handful of photos – none of which gave me any real sense of the strengths this lens might posses.

The now defunct Spiratone company was largely a reseller of inexpensive knock-off type accessories. They would buy in bulk, rebadge the items and sell them for as cheaply as they could afford to. While a good amount of their products were a disaster waiting to happen under professional use,  a portion of their product line was quite usable in their day. The less complicated an item was, the less likely it would fail, so items such as extension tubes were pretty safe. Very little of their items would be considered heavy-duty or pro-grade, and granted the pro was not their audience. Their full-page ads in the back of Popular Photography and Modern Photography were aimed straight at the budget minded amateur. I knew that if Spiratone sold it, chances are it was sold in the hundreds of thousands of units so I should easily find a few on ebay. And that I did! Fourteen dollars plus shipping, and two weeks later it was sitting on my doorstep.

The lens sports a T-Mount thread and arrived with a Canon FD adapter installed. Two minutes later it was dressed with an adapter for Nikon-F.
I was pleasantly surprised at just how well made the Portragon is. The body is all aluminum with buttery-smooth helical focusing from 3.2ft to Infinity with approx 170° throw. That’s a lot of fine-tune accuracy for a lens that has very little inherent sharpness.

This lens is amazingly small. Here is it compared to an 80’s era Nikkor 50mm:

Nikkor50mmOnBody
Nikkor 50mm

Spiratone 100mm f:4 Portragon
Spiratone 100mm f:4 Portragon

 

The Portragon 100 is very susceptible to flare, but the shooter can use that to their advantage.
The Portragon 100 is very susceptible to flare, but the shooter can use that to their advantage.
The ethereal properties of this lens look best to me under diffused light.
The ethereal properties of this lens look best to me under  bright diffused light.

Taking the lens for a test-drive had its challenges; primarily that the IQ in the viewfinder was nothing like the rendered file. Oddly, the viewfinder showed an image of much tighter focus than was yielded in the file.  Being fixed at f:4, there is no stop-down aperture to blame for the discrepancy. It’s just one lens on the end of a threaded barrel – that’s it.  Nikon’s focus assist helped me to find focus as did live-view at full zoom. The sweet spot for the Portragon lens is a small zone that’s dead – center of the image circle. Bokeh is a tiny bit smeary at the edges and it’s as soft as a baby’s back-side throughout. And forget about apo-correction – there is none. But that’s part of the Portragon’s lo-fi charm!

 

 

If you shoot strictly jpegs, or if you use them for proofing, you might find a custom shooting mode helpful with this lens. I tend to shoot hybrid (jpeg and raw together), for the post capture flexibility.

This lens shoots flat - really flat.
This lens shoots flat – really flat.

A tweak to contrast brings the image around easily. A custom shooting mode could also be used compensate for the lens' lack of contrast.
A tweak to contrast in LightRoom brought the image around easily. A custom shooting mode could also be used compensate for the Portragon’s lack of contrast when shooting jpegs.

For the cinematographer, this lens just might be a secret weapon for certain sequences. The lens is soft, yet sharp and the color-smearing, well you really need to see it for yourself. Lo-fi and other artsy shots like lens-whacking are presently gaining popularity on commercial TV for edgy transitions and B-roll, so having a readily available tool in your kit just might make that producer a bit friendlier. The lens is so small, it fits in a vest pocket with ease.

 

All of the images and the video have been shot using a Nikon with APS size sensor. A larger sensor would certainly yield a slightly sharper looking result. If I get the opportunity to test that one day, I’ll be sure to add some samples to this post.

The portragon 100mm F4 is pure bokeh
The lens is corner to corner bokeh – even in the “in-focus” areas.

It’s certainly not a lens for every occasion and for that matter, it’s usefulness may be quite narrow in scope; but for an “art” lens, I am quite pleased with the results of the Portragon 100mm f:4. and its amazing potential make it a very powerful tool in the photographer’s kit.

The Portragon 100mm can be had on ebay for under $50, though you can find a better deal if you’re willing to be patient — as I mentioned, I got mine for $14 plus shipping. Some sellers are asking near $100 or more.  KEH occasionally has them in the $40 – $50 range. I’ve seen this lens badged under both the Spiratone and the Kama brand-names — Same lens, just different resellers.

If you’ve shot with this lens and would like to share some of your images with us, post a link to your flickr album in the comments below.

Here’s a few more of mine: 

 

Happy Shooting!