Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Farewell Nam June Paik

At his best, Mr. Paik exaggerated and subverted accepted notions about both the culture and the technology of television while immersing viewers in its visual beauty and exposing something deeply irrational at its center. He presciently coined the term "electronic superhighway" in 1974, grasping the essence of global communications and seeing the possibilities of technologies that were barely born. He usually did this while managing to be both palatable and subversive. In recent years, Mr. Paik's enormous American flags, made from dozens of sleek monitors whose synchronized patterns mixed everything from pinups to apple pie at high, almost subliminal velocity, could be found in museums and corporate lobbies.

Mr. Paik was affiliated in the 1960's with the anti-art movement Fluxus, and also deserves to be seen as an aesthetic innovator on a par with the choreographer Merce Cunningham and the composer John Cage. Yet in many ways he was simply the most Pop of the Pop artists. His work borrowed directly from the culture at large, reworked its most pervasive medium and gave back something that was both familiar and otherworldly.


Monday, January 30, 2006

Print Permanence; An Epson White Paper

How long will a photographic print last? There is no simple answer. But it is important for anyone who cares about their photos to have a base understanding of the factors that affect the longevity of prints to make informed decisions and insure those photographic prints will last an expected time.

This white paper deals with the complex subject of print permanence and how knowledge of industry-accepted comparative print permanence testing can lead to the best decisions about buying or specifying imaging products. Every bit as important, this document will help the reader detect potentially misleading marketing claims about photographic image quality, print permanence and the limitations of universal compatibility.


QPict 7 Public Beta

One of the more attractive Macintosh asset managers gets a public beta featuring improved Raw handling and DNG support.
Rune Lindman Development has released Preview 3 of its public beta of QPict 7, its Macintosh asset management software. This version features native DNG support, embedded IPTC data in JPEGs and exports and several bug fixes. Previous previews implemented improved Raw format support, covering over 200 cameras, as well as improved color reproduction of Raw images.

While not QPict 7 is still a work in progress, Lindman notes, "some of our key customers are already using QPict 7 in production and they found it to be very stable except for a small number of known problems."


Friday, January 27, 2006

No charge for Aperture Universal Binary crossgrade

Apple has abandoned their plan to charge current Aperture owners a fee to obtain the Universal Binary version of the application. Earlier this month, the company had said it would be US$49 to "crossgrade" from the PowerPC version of the program - which will not run on Macs with Intel processors - to the Universal Binary version, which is compatible with both PowerPC Mac and Intel Mac architectures.

Now, the Aperture product page on the online Apple Store web site states:

A Universal version of Aperture, which will run natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Mac computers, will be available before the end of March 2006. New and existing owners of Aperture will be able to crossgrade to the Universal version at no additional charge via Software Update.

While the page describing Rosetta, the technology built into the operating system of Intel-based Macs, says:

Universal versions will be available by March 31, 2006. New and existing owners of Final Cut Studio or Logic Pro can crossgrade for $49. Logic Express owners can crossgrade for $29. Aperture owners can crossgrade at no charge.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

iTunes U

Customized portal media delivery. The question is how to manage content in the new iPod world. This could be the biggest server supplied media content providing source in the marketplace. Start with colleges and universities with a reservoir of content, add the ubiquitous iPod, control distribution of content, add the personal portal connection and you open all kinds of possibilities....

iTunes U

Fixamac to the rescue

"Having trouble printing in Mac OS X? Whatever your particular problem, Fixamac Software, Inc. may have a solution for you. We bring you the ultimate in printing software diagnostics and repair for Mac OS X 10.1.2 through Mac OS X 10.4.x. Print Center Repair was the first product in the world, designed exclusively for Mac OS X, to combat printing issues at a software level. Need a solution for Panther or Tiger? No problem. Printer Setup Repair is the evolution of the original design and is completely up to date with the latest technology."

Pretty good stuff! If you are having issues printing after upgrading your system or computer, this is a great tool.


It May Look Authentic; Here's How to Tell It Isn't

By NICHOLAS WADE @ New York Times

Among the many temptations of the digital age, photo-manipulation has proved particularly troublesome for science, and scientific journals are beginning to respond.

Some journal editors are considering adopting a test, in use at The Journal of Cell Biology, that could have caught the concocted images of the human embryonic stem cells made by Dr. Hwang Woo Suk.

At The Journal of Cell Biology, the test has revealed extensive manipulation of photos. Since 2002, when the test was put in place, 25 percent of all accepted manuscripts have had one or more illustrations that were manipulated in ways that violate the journal's guidelines, said Michael Rossner of Rockefeller University, the executive editor. The editor of the journal, Ira Mellman of Yale, said that most cases were resolved when the authors provided originals. "In 1 percent of the cases we find authors have engaged in fraud," he said.

The two editors recognized the likelihood that images were being improperly manipulated when the journal required all illustrations to be submitted in digital form. While reformatting illustrations submitted in the wrong format, Dr. Rossner realized that some authors had yielded to the temptation of Photoshop's image-changing tools to misrepresent the original data.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Who Owns Seydou Keïta?

By MICHAEL RIPS @ New York Times

EVEN by the elevated standard of the New York art world, the rumor was exceptional: a tin of negatives buried in Africa for three decades that, when opened, revealed the work of a photographer who was neither "outsider" nor "indigenous" but spectacularly modern. And so the bejeweled and bohemian showed up at the Gagosian Gallery the evening of Oct. 18, 1997, wearing Fulani bracelets beneath their Charvet cuffs, blouses referencing Matisse referencing North African fabrics, Xhosa men in dinner jackets.

As accustomed as they were to art-world rumors, as familiar as they had become with exaggerations in the photo market, they could not help but be impressed. They saw mural-size black-and-white portraits in which the intricate designs of tribal costumes were set against backdrops of arabesque and floral cloths, the subjects disappearing into dense patterning that suggested Vuillard. A number of the photographs sold immediately, at prices of up to $16,000, and by the end of the evening, many in the crowd stood childlike in front of their limousines, waiting to catch sight of the photographer whose images they would never forget.

He finally appeared, old and regal.

The show was uniformly well received. Margarett Loke, writing in The New York Times, described Seydou Keïta as "the man who brought renewed vitality to the art of photographic portraiture." An article in Artforum praised the show, noting that the photographs "were very successful with sophisticated New Yorkers."


Friday, January 20, 2006

Memorex Adds Gold Reflective Layer to CD-R/DVD-R Media

The Memorex new Pro Gold archival CD and DVD media are claimed to be the industry?s most durable optical media to retail, lasting up to six times longer than current discs.

Following the example of Mitsui and later of MAM-E, Memorex combines a 24-karat gold reflective layer, high performance dye and its DuraLayer scratch-resistant technology to create Memorex Pro Gold Archival CD and DVD discs. The discs raise come backed by a lifetime warranty, and will be the only gold archival media available at retail in the United States.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Optimizing Photoshop CS2 Performance

By Shangara Singh @ ExtremeTech

The hourglass in Windows and the watch and spinning beach ball in Mac OS are icons that most people would prefer not to see when working in Photoshop. Although eliminating them is not always possible, you can go some way toward doing that. You can do this by managing your resources wisely. To that end, it's worth spending a few minutes fine-tuning Photoshop to squeeze the maximum performance out of it.


Konica Minolta throws in the towel

Not to be outdone by Nikon, who recently announced a nearly complete exit of the film-based camera business, Konica Minolta has just announced that they're pulling out of the camera biz altogether. The company announced that they were scaling back consumer operations in November, especially killing off their film line and mainly concentrating their DSLR line. Now they're ceasing operation altogether, along with ending their film and photo paper production. Sony will be continue to manufacture cameras compatible with Konica Minolta lenses, which furthers a partnership the two companies formed last year, and will receive some of Konica Minolta's DSLR related assets.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Paper Permanence And You

A Discussion With Three Authorities on Digital Paper and Longevity
By Amadou Diallo
Our story begins in China, 105 AD when Ts'ai Lun, an unheralded court official of the Han Dynasty, perfects a technique for turning wood pulp into the ultimate writing surface—paper. Almost two thousand years later, in the midst of a digital imaging revolution, photographers are faced with an overwhelming variety of specialty papers optimized for digital printing.

How does one wade through this sea of choices? Some will choose based on performance issues like color saturation, image detail, and ink load. Others are more concerned with aesthetic qualities such as thickness, brightness and surface texture. These characteristics can be easily and inexpensively observed with sample packs and a few test prints. For those with longevity as a primary concern, however, there are few readily accessible sources of information. “Long lasting,” “archival”, and “museum grade” all sound impressive but these are marketing terms with no quantifiable measure of performance to give them any real meaning.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

World's first 39MP DSLR

Hasselblad introduces the H2D-39 the world's first 39MP digital SLR and three 39MP digital camera backs.
The H2D-39 is based on Hasselblad's H2 camera. This high performance, shutter-based lens DSLR is compatible with the Hasselblad H System lenses and V camera lenses. Features include Digital APO Correction (DAC) and Instant Approval Architecture.
The CFH-39, CF-39 and CF-39MS (Multi Shot) are digital backs aimed at professional photographers and feature Hasselblad's i-Adaptor interchangeable camera interface. An optional Multi-Shot Module uses a multiple-exposure technique to increase the colour resolution in a studio environment, producing moiré-free photos with a unique colour resolution.
Designed to match the design and functionality of the H2, the CHF-39 uses an H-system interface plate to mechanically attach to view cameras, while the flash sync connection triggers digital capture. Integration with the H2's power system enables the camera and CFH-39 digital back to be powered by the H2's Li-ion battery.
Found in the H2D-39 and three digital backs, Digital APO Correction (DAC) automatically corrects for colour aberrations with every photo taken, producing pictures of optimum quality and detail.
Christian Poulsen from Hasselblad comments: 'With the new 39 megapixel-based Hasselblad products we are confident that the outstanding image quality of the captured files… will substantially reduce the need for post-processing work and will be of significant benefit to our customers.'
As an alternative to previous colour management solutions, which often force professional photographers to use a specific profile, the new products include Hasselblad Natural Colour Solution. When used in conjunction with FlexColour imaging software, it is designed to produce accurate out-of-the-box colours, skin tones and gradations.
Hasselblad has developed a new raw file format, 3F RAW. Lossless image compression enables it to retain 33% less storage space and it can be converted into Adobe's Digital Negative (DNG) RAW format.


Monday, January 16, 2006

Photographer With a Knack for Finding the Moment

By STEPHEN HOLDEN @ New York Times

"Taking pictures means holding your breath with all your faculties concentrated on capturing a fleeting reality," declares the pioneering photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson near the end of Heinz Butler's austere documentary portrait, "Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye."

In the small but stately film, completed a year before Cartier-Bresson's death at 95 in August 2004, he slowly leafs through volumes of his black-and-white photographs, shows some of his later drawings and muses on his art to the severe, prickly strains of Bach piano music. Even when viewed secondhand in a movie, these photographs are something to see. Their formal elegance is balanced by an intense, pulsing humanity. In all his photographs, Cartier-Bresson says, "geometry is the foundation."

The documentary, which subscribes to the Great Man school of reverential portraiture, is not a biography but an interview (in French, simultaneously translated into English) conceived as a master class on art appreciation, with guest commentators augmenting Cartier-Bresson's own sparsely chosen words.

A recurrent presence is the French actress Isabelle Huppert, who points to a portrait he took of her and says that it reveals a side of her personality she had never seen before. His pictures, she says, capture the "deep, mysterious bond between people and the things around them." But since the pictures speak so eloquently for themselves, her words are redundant.



by Donald Kuspit

Twentieth Century Art: An Overview of Critical Opinion

"The real problem of modernity is the problem of belief," writes Daniel Bell, the sociologist and political theorist. "To use an unfashionable term, it is a spiritual crisis, since the new anchorages have proved illusory and the old ones have become submerged. It is a situation which brings us back to nihilism; lacking a past or a future, there is only a void."(1) Modern art, in all its seemingless limitless variety, presents itself as one solution to the problem, indeed, as some think, the only important solution. As Bell says, it has become a "substitute for religion,"(2) a spiritual antidote to social poisons, the esthetic alternative to moral nihilism. This view is seconded by the historian Jacques Barzun, who, discussing "the rise of art as religion" in the 19th century -- initially the equation of art and religion, and finally the substitution of art for religion(3) -- remarks that "Art. . . became the gateway to the realm of spirit for all those over whom the old religions have lost their hold. Most romantic artists needed nothing higher. Art was sufficient and supreme."(4) The poet Wallace Stevens adds: "The paramount relation between poetry and painting today, between modern man and modern art, is simply this: that in an age in which disbelief is so profoundly prevalent or, if not disbelief, indifference to questions of belief, poetry and painting, and the arts in general, are, in their measure, a compensation for what has been lost."(5)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Who Needs a White Cube These Days?

By ROBERTA SMITH @ New York Times

WHAT is art?" may be the art world's most relentlessly asked question. But a more pertinent one right now is, "What is an art gallery?"

It is heard often these days, and within it lies another question: do galleries have to run or look the way they do? How inevitable is the repeating cycle of solo and group exhibitions and the steady movement of artworks from galleries to museums, auction houses and collectors' homes? How can you slow, expose or disrupt the delivery mechanism - maybe even avoid it altogether occasionally - to reassert art as a process and a mind-set rather than a product?

With their changing exhibitions and precarious finances, galleries are by definition fluid forms, under constant revision. But lately the gallery model has seemed even more in flux than usual. More young dealers, artists and people who are both (or neither) are thinking outside the white cube. Other galleries are trying to brake their ascent to establishment status by interrupting the flow of monthly shows and finished objects, substituting a monthlong presentation of short exhibitions and even shorter performances.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

California Dreaming on Such a Winter's Day

By RANDY KENNEDY @ New York Times
Winter, to put it politely, is not kind to Rochester. How many other cities, after all, are regularly in the running for the Golden Snowball, an annual award presented to the upstate city with the most snowfall? (Rochester, at 113 inches, was bested last winter only by Syracuse at 137.)

"It can be pretty bleak, let's be honest," said Anthony Bannon, director of George Eastman House, the renowned photography museum founded in the city in 1947. "There are times when it feels like you don't see the sun for months."

This was one of the reasons that a light bulb - actually more like a tanning lamp - went off over Mr. Bannon's head more than a year ago when he became familiar with an odd, obsessive experiment being conducted by a photographer named Robert Weingarten.

Mr. Weingarten, a former executive who took up a camera professionally at 54, travels around the world in search of images, and his work is now in the collections of several major museums. But in 2002, at the urging of Weston Naef, the photography curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Mr. Weingarten decided to train his lens on his own backyard in Malibu, Calif., following Alfred Stieglitz's advice that photographers should first look for pictures at home before traveling to find them.


Pantone monitor calibration

Pantone, which makes color accuracy systems, has a new device called Huey that will set your monitor to Pantone standards, which are often used by photo printers as well.

The device is a light sensor the size of a fountain pen. After it is attached to the monitor with suction cups, the included software displays bars of color. Huey reads the bars for accuracy, then adjusts the monitor. Once this is done, Huey goes into a stand on your desk to continuously check room lighting and adjust the screen settings.

Although it will be a boon to photo buffs, Huey, available next week for $89 at www.pantone.com, could also be helpful to online shoppers. Pantone says 85 percent of online retailers use its system to set image colors, so Huey makes it more likely that the sweater you are considering will actually be the color you see

Nikon Plans to Stop Making Most Cameras That Use Film

By MARTIN FACKLER @ New York Times

TOKYO, Thursday, Jan. 12 - The Nikon Corporation, the Japanese camera maker, said Thursday that it would stop making most of its film cameras and lenses in order to focus on digital cameras.

The company, based in Tokyo, is the latest to join an industrywide shift toward digital photography, which has exploded in popularity. Rivals like Kodak and Canon have already shifted most of their camera production into digital products.

Nikon said it would halt production of all but two of its seven film cameras and would also stop making most lenses for those cameras. The company will halt production of the film camera models "one by one," though it refused to specify when.

A company spokesman said Nikon made the decision because sales of film cameras have plunged. In the most recent fiscal year ended March 2005, Nikon said that film camera bodies accounted for 3 percent of the 180 billion yen ($1.5 billion) in sales at the company's camera and imaging division. That is down from 16 percent the previous year.

By contrast, sales of digital cameras have soared, the company said, jumping to 75 percent of total sales in the year ended March 2005, from 47 percent three years earlier. Scanners and other products account for the remainder of the division's sales.

"The market for film cameras has been shrinking dramatically," the company spokesman, Akira Abe, said. "Digital cameras have become the norm."

Mr. Abe said the announcement might trigger a brief revival in sales of film cameras, as film photography buffs rush to buy the cameras before production stops. The decision may also help make film cameras a popular nostalgia item in second-hand markets like eBay.

Nikon made its first film camera in 1948, as Japan rose from the ashes of defeat in World War II.

The quality and durability of Nikon's film cameras made them popular for decades among amateurs and professionals alike, turning Nikon into one of the industry's best-known brands. The first Nikon cameras arrived in the United States in the 1950's when American servicemen started bringing them home from tours of duty at American bases in Japan.

But in recent years, all brands of film cameras have virtually disappeared from store shelves.

Digital photography has won out because its images are visible immediately and are easily stored on tiny computer chips, eliminating the need to carry and develop clunky rolls of film.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Do Burned CDs Have a Short Life Span?

Opinions vary on how to preserve data on digital storage media, such as optical CDs and DVDs. Kurt Gerecke, a physicist and storage expert at IBM Deutschland, has his own view: If you want to avoid having to burn new CDs every few years, use magnetic tapes to store all your pictures, videos and songs for a lifetime.

"Unlike pressed original CDs, burned CDs have a relatively short life span of between two to five years, depending on the quality of the CD," Gerecke says. "There are a few things you can do to extend the life of a burned CD, like keeping the disc in a cool, dark space, but not a whole lot more."


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

When a Museum Building Competes With Art

By RANDY KENNEDY @ New York Times

When Marcel Breuer was planning his brooding Whitney Museum building on Madison Avenue in the early 1960's, he was adamant about creating a space where art could hold its own. His first priority for the interior, he wrote, was the "simplicity and background-character of the gallery spaces, with the visitors' attention reserved to the exhibits."

But curators and artists have nonetheless sometimes found themselves wrestling with the relentless Brutalist grid of Breuer's ceiling and the grid echoed below by the split-slate floors. One day several months ago, the artist Richard Tuttle and David Kiehl, a Whitney curator, paced around the museum's third floor planning the artist's retrospective, which opened last November. Mr. Tuttle - whose art can seem delicate enough to evaporate under a viewer's gaze - was worried about his work being overpowered by the ceiling and the floor.


Monday, January 09, 2006

New logo for Kodak

CES 2006: As part of a wide ranging speech at CES by Kodak Chariman and CEO Antonio Perez it was revealed that Kodak will be saying goodbye to their famous yellow-box logo in favour of a simpiler more contemporary design. The new logo also features a new typeface with more rounded letters. According to Perez,"This introduction is the latest step in the company’s broad brand transformation effort, which reflects the multi-industry, digital imaging leader Kodak has become."

First Look: Adobe Lightroom beta

By Derrick Story @ MacWorld
The first impulse most photographers will have is to compare Adobe’s just announced Lightroom to Aperture, Apple’s pro level photo app. And well they should. We may have a real clash of the titans on our hands here.

Adobe promotes Lightroom as “the efficient new way for professional photographers to import, select, develop, and showcase large volumes of digital images.” Unlike Photoshop—Adobe’s image-editing application that must serve many masters, including graphic artists and Web designs—Lightroom is aimed squarely at photographers. That said, Photoshop complements Lightroom when there’s a heavy image-editing task to handle. And Lightroom makes it easy to open a picture in Photoshop. Generally speaking, though, the tools in Photoshop that photographers need most of the time exist right within Lightroom.

Adobe Labs and the information they provide. LABS SITE

A Luminous Landscape review by Michael Reichmann

Comments by Martin Orpen on his blog
A review by Wayne j. Crosshall at Dimagemaker as well
And an article on the developmental history at Photoshop News.com

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Conceptual Artist as Vandal: Walk Tall and Carry a Little Hammer (or Ax)

By ALAN RIDING @ New York Times
PARIS, Jan. 6 - The Dada movement made its name in the early 20th century by trying to destroy the conventional notion of art. Taking literal inspiration from their exploits this week, a latter-day neo-Dadaist took a small hammer to Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain," the factory-made urinal that is considered the cornerstone of Conceptual Art.

The assailant, a French performance artist named Pierre Pinoncelli, was immediately arrested after his act of vandalism, which took place on Wednesday, during the final days of the "Dada" exhibition at the Pompidou Center. The porcelain urinal was slightly chipped in the attack and was withdrawn to be restored. (The exhibition runs through Monday.)

Mr. Pinoncelli, 77, who urinated into the same urinal and struck it with a hammer in a show in Nîmes in 1993, has a long record of organizing bizarre happenings. Police officials said he again called his action a work of art, a tribute to Duchamp and other Dada artists.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Apple's Aperture Tricks

Aperture Tricks is the blog for people who use Apple's Aperture Photo software. AT provides a place for people to share Aperture news, tips and tricks. Anyone who's interested in Aperture is welcome to participate. Due to problems with comment spam, we require all comments, tips and tricks to be sent via email to aperturetricks at aol.com. Search this site using Google Search, located at the very bottom of the page.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Rocks of ages

Jonathan Jones @ The Guardian
The path is a wet green line across the frosted field. Someone else walked this way this morning, looked at the same view of mountains suspended in the distant mist, and perhaps, as I do, mistook the telephone wires in the frozen sky for a vapour trail. Here in the Welsh hills, the art gallery I visited in London just before Christmas seems a long way off.
But then, it must seem a long way off to Richard Long, too, when he is walking across some far-flung desert. When I saw his exhibition he was around, somewhere, finishing a mud drawing, but all I saw of the artist was a pair of shoes removed and neatly placed on the ground while he splashed wet mud on the walls and moved about chunks of mossy tree bark. I feel closer to him here, in the cold white field that bows upward like a tarpaulin filled by a gust of wind, than I did in the gallery. Maybe the best way to review a walking artist is to take a walk.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Final Cut 6 to usher in new video editing era for Apple

January 4, 2006 - Apple is preparing to make a huge splash at the National Association of Broadcasters trade show this year, Think Secret has learned. Preliminary information from sources suggests that Apple will take advantage of the April show to demonstrate Final Cut Pro 6 to the public for the first time. Even more significant, Apple will use the stage to unveil Final Cut Extreme, an extremely high-end version of its video editing software designed to grab marketshare away from rival Avid.

Sources note that Apple's Final Cut Extreme announcement will coincide with Red's upcoming 4K digital cinema camera, a revolutionary piece of equipment that is said will be priced upwards of $200,000. Pricing for Final Cut Extreme is said to be similarly up-market, approaching $10,000 a seed, and will require the latest hardware from Apple.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

What 8,500 Pictures Are Worth

By PHILIP GEFTER @ New York Times
LAST year, when the Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired the more than 8,500 photographs in the Gilman Paper Company Collection - then arguably the most impressive private photography collection in existence - Malcolm Daniel, the museum's curator of photography, declared it "the most important thing" that had happened to his department in the history of the museum. "For at least the last 15 years, the acquisition of the Gilman collection has been our No. 1 priority and goal," he said.

And when the Museum of Modern Art acquired the Thomas Walther collection of high-modernist photography, in 2001, Peter Galassi, the Modern's chief curator of photography, said, "His collection splendidly demonstrates the importance of photographic modernism and simultaneously encourages us to rewrite its history."