Archive for January 2014

Art socks

Once upon a time, Art was overcome by a feeling of dissatisfaction and emptiness. He was longing for more - more recognition, more fame, more success. Art had been knitting socks since a couple of years and felt that he had to bring his knitting to a new level. He has perfected his craft, always upgraded to the newest knitting needles, only used archival wool, and even invested in noble argon atmosphere containers to preserve his socks in pristine condition for centuries. He stayed abreast of the newest developments in the sock knitting business and created a large following with his blog and by interacting with his many friends on me2, sockbook and SockR. Nevertheless, his sales stalled. 

To promote his knitting, Art had started offering themed knitting workshops, took on book projects, and did commissioned sock knits here and there. However, with all these efforts, he had less and less time to develop his knitting vision, let alone to actually knit, and he felt just as one anonymous knitter in the big wide ocean of knitting enthusiasts (a feeling that became particularly strong after his ever rarer visits to the SockR website). He clearly had to find new ways to found his righteous claim for knitting greatness. After all, he had many thousand me2-friends and subscribers on his blog, while some of those silent wannabe sock knitters were not even on sockbook!

Art's socks were much more than socks - he thought. He clearly had a unique sock vision, incorporated profound feelings and emotions in the yarn, and embedded deep and universal meaning and insight into his sock compositions. His socks were not merely socks, they were works of art - thus, "art socks" was born! From that moment on, Art was not just a knitter anymore, he was a knitting artist (for brevity and crispness, "knitting" was soon sacrificed - he really was an artist now). The success was beyond anything Art could have imagined. Suddenly the true value of his socks was recognized, they sold like hot cakes, became sought after collector's items, and even found their way into museums and galleries.

The success of Art's art socks did not remain unnoticed for long. The community was amazed and admired Art for his ability to elevate sock knitting to a whole new level (albeit some missed the good old times and lamented the decline of traditional sock knitting values). Soon, art socks sprouted like mushrooms, because almost every sock knitter saw transcendental value in his very own socks. Art himself was now a celebrity and nurtured his cult status. He was busily jetting the world, endorsing a new model of knitting needles here, naming a new yarn color there, launching fine art sock series, and distributing personalized designer art socks to celebrities all over the world. The knitting was now mostly done by his assistants, but he still insisted on casting off the last stitch of all his original signature fine art socks - a task quickly completed on a stop-over and while on the move.

This is how the craft of sock knitting became an art and as long as there is a public there will always be art. However, the public acclaim may not correlate with the content or quality of a piece of work, but rather with the value an artist manages to attach to whatever she creates. For, it is not the craftsmanship that is the art. Art is the creation of something artificial - in many cases an artificial value.  This is neither good nor bad, but please remember: All the fuss about art is just a distraction. After all it is only about knitting socks and it is perfectly fine to just knit socks!

Val di Comologno, Tessin, Switzerland A photograph (not a work of art) of Val di Comologno, Ticino, Switzerland.

2014/01/27 by Unknown
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A special moment

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I neither write for the whole world nor for eternity, I write a love song for you - this is the tune emanting from the headphones in my ears (freely translated from the german original); loud, powerful, touching. I am completely immersed in my world, memories, and feelings, while I sit in front of my computer screen and develop the photograph above. For whatever reseasons, the song that I like since a very long time, the memories of the moment when I made the photograph, and the many hours I have already spent working on this series of photographs are a powerful combination. It was just the right tune in the right moment to transform me, to transfer me into a new world and to render developing of this phtograph an almost spiritual experience.
I had not planned to write today and neither to share the photograph above anytime soon, but I just felt like sharing it in this particular moment and context (the moment is of course already gone by the time this text is finished and you are reading it). I will not tell you what the photograph really is, because I will post it again at a later point in time, as part of a new photography theme. Here, I just show it because of my special moment (and because it is one of my favourite photographs of 2013). I hope that some of you enjoy and can somehow empathise.

2014/01/20 by Unknown
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Carcolors exhibition & book

What an exciting two weeks have just passed! I have started an interesting new job and my first exhibition is over. I was awaiting both events with great impatience, somewhat anxiously, and hopeful. The carcolor exhibition was much more stressful for me than I had originally anticipated. After the set-up of the photographs my tension abated and I was looking forward to the opening evening. But as it happens to me so often, it was different from what I imagined and I did not like it at all. There were so many people that it was hard to even move around. I felt like a water molecule in an ocean - an environment that is not at all conducive to my character.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug Carcolors out in the public!

Photo14 is, in my opinion, better thought of as an event than a photo exhibition. The concept is interesting and quite different from other exhibitions I have seen so far. First of all, it takes place in former manufacturing halls - huge rooms! The photographs are not shown hanging on walls, but lying on styrofoam cubes (4 x 1x 0.5 m). Every photographer who was selected obtained one such cube - altogether there were 125 photographers. For five days, one of the 125 cubes was "mine" and exposed nine of my carcolor compositions to, according to the organizers, 22'000 people! To me, roaming the halls of photo14 was nothing like quietly enjoying an art gallery or a museum, but rather a real-world experience of something like Flickr or the like. But it was certainly an interesting and worthwhile experience nevertheless!

Click on the link or on the cover above for a preview of the entire book (full screen mode is also available).
To duly celebrate and mark my first exhibition, I have prepared a portfolio "blurb" book with 25 of my most preferred carcolor compositions. A finale furioso - at least temporarily - of my carcolor photography! I have made two versions of the book; a large format (30 x 30 cm) book printed on "proline" photo paper and a smaller (18 x 18 cm) book printed on premium lustre paper. The large book on the proline paper is really nice and I am highly satisfied with the result. The paper is thick, glossy and shiny, with very slightly structured surface - the nicest paper that I have seen in such kinds of books yet. However, this quality (and size) also comes at a price; the book is quite expensive. The smaller book is more economical and the lustre paper is absolutely fine too (only slightly thinner and completely smooth, since several years we print our yearly family photo books on this paper). Except for the size and paper, the two books are identical. Each of the 25 carcolor photographs is accompanied by a short text and sometimes a second, small photograph highlights alternative compositions. It even contains two photographs that were not shown here on this blog or anywhere else (the two last ones). Please have a look at the book preview (also available in full-screen mode), I think it is really nice!
If you want, you can even buy the book at cost - the prices for the large and small book are 91.86 and 24.90 Euros, respectively. This is exactly the same price that I am paying too. However, if you like the book or this website and would like to remunerate me, you are welcome to use the new "donate" button on the left side on my blog. On the other hand, if you really like the carcolor photographs (or any other photograph), you may also be interested in a print - these, I have adjusted and printed myself and are even better than the book - I think. Have a nice weekend!

2014/01/19 by Unknown
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Tree silhouette 15: Above the others

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I am rather busy at the moment, have my mind full of other things than photography (I have a new job), and therefore spend less time photographing and writing about photographs. However, I will resume the tree silhouette theme for a couple of weeks. For me, winter is tree silhouette season, even though interesting compositions featuring the outlines of trees can be found any time of the year. The particular example shown above has been captured last autumn and is probably quite exceptional for Switzerland. Usually, trees are not allowed to rise so high above the others! This pine tree is growing near the Segetenhaus in the ravine of the Werenbach, where we passed on a beautiful walk from Forch back to Zurich.
If you are interested, browse some of the tree silhouette photographs shown earlier or have a look at the tree silhouette gallery on Florian's photos.

2014/01/12 by Unknown
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Florian's prints

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Since I am printing my photographs regularly now and will soon show photographs of mine for the first time to a wider public (nine carcolor photographs will be shown at photo14), I think it may be appropriate to shortly describe my printing process. The decision to start printing my own photographs entailed many decisions that may not be apparent on first sight. What size do I print? What kind of framing shall I use? What about matting, signing and labeling? What follows here is only a summary of my printing, matting and framing choices, but if you would like to know more about my experiences, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Print size is an important issue with many implications, but I think it is also largely overrated. A good photograph is a pleasure to be looked at, irrespective of its size. A larger print is not necessarily a better print and the preference for small or large prints is, in my opinion, mainly a choice of personal preference. Since I want to print myself (in contrast to using a commercial printing service), I am limited by my printer (my "maximum" is A3+ format). In addition, I mostly print for ourselves and want to decorate the walls of our apartment with my photographs. I really prefer to have several smaller photographs on our walls than one huge print. Most importantly, and often overlooked, are the practical aspects of the exact print size. Printing in defined sizes and formats enables me to use the same frames with many different photographs!

After much deliberation, I have come up with a process I am highly satisfied with and proud of. I print and process all my photographs with high quality, mostly archival materials (ink, paper, mat), all photographs are printed at a height of 19 cm (in the formats 1:1, 4:3, or 3:2), the mat opening has a height of 18 cm and a border of 3 cm, and the frames are silver aluminum picture frames (about 9 mm wide) with acrylic glass (much lighter and less fragile than normal glass). The frames and mats are custom-ordered according to my specifications. Since all photographs and frames have the same height, different prints can be easily combined and hung next to each other, and a particular print can be exchanged with any other print of the same format. The frames and matting make it easy to exchange one photograph with another. Although this is neither the cheapest solution nor the most sophisticated one, the final result is of high quality and yet highly flexible.

A word about print series and labeling: Usually, I only print one or two copies of a particular photograph at a time. Each print is labeled with the print date, the number of prints created at that time (e.g., 1/1, 1/2, 2/2, etc.), the file name of the printed photograph, the absolute print number of that particular file, and my signature - all on the back of the photograph.

2014/01/04 by Unknown
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An interesting and happy 2014 to all!

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Another year has just ended and 2014 has begun. We, the photographer and the four light painters, wish you all a healthy, happy and interesting year 2014 and thank you for visiting! For your photography, I wish you challenging and inspirational projects and many keepers.

This year, we choose a cooler method to draw "2014", because chemical light is much less likely to burn holes into jackets :-).

2014/01/01 by Unknown
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