The Art of the Print
This is what we like, isn't it Tony, and Tony's prints. We've had these printed on a little bit of, and people ask, we're printing on Canson paper, which is, for you guys there, it's beautiful paper. There are lots of other great, beautiful papers, as well, but Tony and I are Canson ambassadors, so we promised Canson that we would mention their wonderful paper because we genuinely are in love with it. I started printing on Canson before--
Well, we both did.
I think that's why we got sucked into the Canson ambassadorship.
(drowned out by talking) There's different reasons for printing. Some of the reasons you're printing is for an exhibition or to be bound in a book. Sometimes it's a single print and you just wanted to print a print to give to somebody or to sell to somebody. But another reason we often, or one of the reasons we often print is to just sit down and look at the prints for feedback to ourselves, to decide whether it's where we need it to be or whether we need to go f...
We've got here, great, we've got the vision. What I suppose I like about having the prints, you might have seen in the presentation a little earlier how I had that pinboard, and quite a few of these prints here have got pinholes in them, so the fact that I haven't actually, I don't necessarily throw them away. This was not a perfect print, but it was close, and it needs a little bit more contrast, et cetera, to build it up. There's another thing that I like to play with and that is pen notes, pencil notes, here we go. This is, again, another Middlehurst shutter photo, and a vertical, and you possibly see, around the edges, where I've written a few little notes. I might be having a telephone conversation with Tony, as I said, and I've got my headphones on, and I walk away from the desk or look up at the print on the wall and I might just say, "Ah, that little area over here "is just a little bit too annoying." I'll write down a little, couple little notes, and you'll see a few other notes that I've got around here, and then I will go away with this print, sit down at my computer, and I'll make those adjustments. Make another print, stick it back up on the wall. I think that's what you do.
Basically the same. I'll just sit down and look at the prints. As I said, I'll often sit them down on the floor or on the table and walk away, come back, ask other people for comments, make a note. I think you've got to understand that, on one hand, you could say, "Why would you use really high quality paper "to make those adjustments and to write on them?" The point is, if this is the medium that the images are gonna end up on, it's really important that you get the feedback exactly the same way. Or you're looking at it the way it's going to be presented in real life. You don't have to print it on a one-and-a-half meter piece of paper to go and look at it and go, "Ooh, I don't like that, I'm going to darken it next time." But certainly, by using a similar paper, you can at least get the same feeling for it.
We're using exactly the same paper, aren't we?
That's right. And I mean, it would be nice to be able to afford to make the big one-and-a-half meter prints each time, wouldn't it?
I'd love to see the room that you're gonna hang those up in.
(laughs) That's true. (laughs) Need to hire a castle or something like that.
But the other thing is, then, there's other reasons you might print it that include, so for instance, what I've got here is a set of pictures which are all A4. Now, all of these images, none of these are available at that size. But these are from my exhibitions. There's actually four exhibitions in there, and that's why it sits like that.
Put that down for the camera.
What happens is, the gallery will do the exhibition, they have the large prints, and then they'll sell a few, they'll have some on stock. What they might say is, "We have clients come in, they see them online, "but they want to know, have we got a print like that, "on that paper, so they can get a feel for the color, "they can get a feel for the texture of the paper?" But for me to go and print up every single print and have them sitting there is quite a costly exercise and they do tend to get damaged. I've found, doing portfolios, I had, I started with A3, but they're a bit big for them to have. A4 was okay, took me a while to get my head around it, but they can say to the client, "That's what it's gonna look like." And when the consultants, and I was gonna say, when we talked about salesmen or salespeople, often, in a commercial gallery, it's actually a consultant. It's an art consultant who has a background in the arts, in collectability, in the history of photography, history of photographic art, et cetera, et cetera, and what they will do is they will be able to talk to potential clients and they have their own. But they can then say, "That's what it looks like." They might go out on site, they'll take one of these, and they'll say, "Look, which of these fits the color?" They'll say, "We want a blue-green area with water. "I like that green in there, that's gonna set the decor." Things like that.
How do you respond to that? Someone buying your work of art that you have slaved over for centuries, and they're just matching the curtains? (laughs)
I think it's important that, like art is personal, so from my perspective, when I've finished that print and it was there, I've done my piece and I'm in the paint, walking around the Sydney gallery when I had a bit of time off from some trip, and I hooked onto the back end of a tour. The art consultant was walking this little group around and talking about the art. One statement stuck in my mind. This was going back maybe 15 years. She said, "One of the things as an artist who hangs "is you gotta be prepared for this, and that is, "once you hang it on the wall, "you lose all control of the interpretation of the viewer." You could stand next to it and tell them what they're supposed to see, but that doesn't matter. I've got to be happy with it, and then it's up to them to decide whether it fits into their life. Now, I know there's people who say, "I love it but it won't fit into my room," and I've also had pieces where I've got the privilege of saying that they've actually bought the piece and sold the lounge and bought a new one because they preferred the piece (laughs) and they want the rest of the room to fit.
I guess the answer, "It's just how it is in life, put up with it."
It is how it is. That's just another use of printing and it's a way of sort of saying, "I want you to understand what it looks like, "what the colors are gonna do, what it feels like," as versus, "Here it is on my phone." There's other reasons we do it, isn't there, Pete? We sometimes sit around and have little discussions.
We do, we do, and I think that's possibly, with the indie five group, at any rate. There are five of us with very different opinions about certain things. The thing that getting a collective group together of people who are at a similar level to you is that you listen to their opinions and take them on board because we don't want to be teaching each other. We want to be learning from each other, sort of thing. To some extent, Les is, he's--
(laughs) Do we teach him anything?
(laughing) No, I don't think so. But it's great where, he's kind enough to take on board some of the comments that we say. Every now and then, I guess we can say something. But it's this way of interacting. I'll sit down here, and I'll be brave, and I'll say, "Georgia," but this is the Georgia above Armenia, not Georgia in America, as I guess probably everybody can guess anyway, and I'm really enamored with really fine detail. This is shot with the A Series Phase One, with a 180 millimeter Rodenstock lens on it, and also an Alpa lens, and it's just, I just see all of that detail and it reminds me of a fine, etched, very sharp--
Yes, very sharp, very highly detailed.
Just an, almost an illustration. The color, I'm really happy with. I love the diagonal in there, and I'm looking--
But what do you see?
I'm just seeing that this bottom area is the difference between here and here, in terms of the crispness of this, the color cleanliness here. Down here, it's just, to me, looks a touch muddier, and I feel like this is such a strong graphic image, I don't know that your use of a vignette here is one that I actually appreciate.
What will happen is, you can get, don't want to get too precious. You lay them around, and as people are looking, they might sort of go, "Ooh, look at that." Actually, look at that. What a great piece, what a beautiful piece that is. And now these guys, you can see it? Yes, absolutely. I can look at that and say, "How did you get that up there like that?" And I can ask questions or I can be educated, number one. Number two, I kind of don't like the way that's competing, and that's where Peter might have his pencil and he might start to make some little comments on it. But we get very emotionally attached to our own photography. As artists and whether you're a full-time photographer or not, we get so attached to it that we can become blind to some of the things that other people will instantly notice. What happens is, while there's no such thing as a completely objective viewpoint, Peter's view of his image is gonna be far more subjective than mine will be. I bring a level of objectivity that can assist him. The other thing that I have to be conscious of is to be with people we trust. You sit down with somebody, if it's about egos, if it's about competitiveness and all of that, it may not be as valuable as when you sit around and we give each other a bit of curry here and there and a bit of ribbing, but there's a mutual respect, I think.
Well, I have. (laughs)
I try hard.
I know. (laughs) If we sit around, there might be four or five of us, and if you have a group of people like that--
And a glass of red wine.
Like (laughs) a group--
Make sure you have one each. (laughs)
A creative group that can sit together and talk openly and freely about your work. You'll be amazed at just how much it can improve what you do and give you confidence in your own personal style, as well.
Yeah, because just because someone else says, "Hey, this is what I see in the image," doesn't mean that you have to change it, but it's useful to know that maybe that's something to think about.
Yeah, because what'll happen is, if you hang your work in a gallery or you put it in a book that you might sell and publish 55,000 books, it goes out there. You're not gonna have the feedback of somebody who opens it in another country or another state who looks at it and says, "This is a piece of crap." Or if somebody walks into your gallery or walks into a gallery and looks at your work on the wall, and they look at it and they go, "Don't really like that." In fact, even if you're there at an exhibition, trust me, I mean it's very, being very polite. You walk around, you see somebody looking, and they go, "Very nice, very nice." And that's really polite and that's very respectful and very nice, but some of the ways you're gonna learn the most, one of the ways you'll improve your photography the quickest is to have people you trust, sitting there looking you in the eye and saying, "Pete, that vignette's too strong." And I'm not sure that I actually like that yet. I know you've been doing it for a while now, but I'm just not 100% on it.
Well, I like it, Tone, so I'll take that under advisement. But that's okay.
Well, I asked Christian and I asked Les, and they don't like it either.
Ah, good. It means you guys won't be copying me, then. (laughs)
I'm not copying you in the near future, I can tell ya. (laughs) But I do like how you've done this and I'm curious how do you do that.
How I do that? Well, I use a camera.
No, that there. How you've got that to come out a little bit.
Ah, contrast, that's all about using contrast.
There's no saturation slider at all?
No, I couldn't say that, I can't remember. But most of the color comes from contrast.
And you brought a little bit of sharpness in, I can see.
What sort of sharpening technique did you use on this?
I'm using Capture One to do a lot of that initial stuff, 'cause it's shot with a Canon, and so being a (mumbles) sensor, 50 megapixels with a very small photo sight, so I've used a little bit of structure and just a fraction of clarity, just to give it that sharpness, so that it looks a little bit more like a medium format capture.
That's how we would work, and we'd all be talking. Here's the thing that happens. People go, "Aren't you worried "about giving away your secrets?"
The secrets aren't in the techniques. This is the thing. All of those techniques are available out there.
Everybody has them.
Every single one of you can get these techniques. In fact, go to the CreativeLive catalog and you will find every technique you could ever possibly need.
Don't let 'em read, don't let 'em look at the CreativeLive catalog. We don't want 'em getting too good too quickly.
(laughs) Yeah, but it's knowing what to do with it. What do you do with those tools? You have one viewpoint. You have your own background, your own experiences. If you can sit down with like-minded people and have those open, friendly, competitive, challenging conversations, it will only sharpen you as a photographic creative tool, if you like. As a artist, I think. That's something I'm so passionate about, that we do, and it's one of the greatest values I get out of the relationships I have with my contemporary photography artists and friends.
Thank you, Tony. I think all we have to do at the moment is to perhaps give you a little bit of a way to perhaps continue staying in touch with us, obviously through CreativeLive. We've also got our websites up here. You'll see that we've got Better Photography, which is my magazine, where we've got a lot of resources. But also our, they're sort of my online courses, and also where you'll find workshops that I do with Tony--
And other photographers.
And other photographers, et cetera. PeterEastway.com, please have a look at, and TonyHewitt.com.
And also, we're on--
And we've got our portfolios, as well.
And there's a lot of social media, as well, with Facebook.
I should have put that down. Will everybody follow us on Instagram? Because I'm just shy of 20,000 people and I just need to get there. I think I only need another 47. Please, 47 people out there, go and--
Don't throw (drowned out by talking) showing.
All right, okay, all right.
There's ways that you can follow what we do. I tend to post most of my recent work on Instagram. That's the way I like to share my work, and then a little bit about what I'm doing is more on Facebook. Feel free to follow us (drowned out by talking).
And on the Better Photography website, sign up for a regular e-newsletter, and that also has details of our workshops and things like that. We've got a USA roadtrip coming up, which might be of great interest for our international viewers. Or obviously, we've had Americans come along with us and love it as well, which is great.
And we tend to, with our sort of workshops, we've chosen deliberately, whether we're working together or with others, but particularly ones we do together, they're more about a program whereby we can take people to another level. It's not about the basics. It's not just about taking you to a spot and dropping you off and saying, "There you go, that's where you stand "to get the best pictures here." A lot of our stuff is about just interacting on a continuous basis from morning to night and rubbing shoulders with us and seeing how do we approach our shooting. You come with us on a roadtrip, it's like you're on the roadtrip with us and it's not even a workshop. We're just shooting together. You come on our art photography workshop in Middlehurst, it is from ideas, sitting around the table, going out in a helicopter, jumping in a plane doing aerials, going in a four-wheel drive up into the mountains, and then coming back and sitting down on our computers around a kitchen table with a glass of wine, home-cooked dinners, and working on pictures and doing what we just did then.
And making prints.
And then we have a printer up there. We sit down and we print it, and then we'll give you feedback, and we sit down and we just keep going backwards and forwards with ideas and encouraging you. We're a kind of artist residence, if you like, and it's about you following the journey you want to follow rather than a set curriculum. We just provide the opportunity. Then, for something exotic, I do have a couple of workshops going to Bhutan, to Antarctica--
And to Arnhemland.
And to Arnhemland, as well.
There's a lot happening. In closing, we started out talking about landscape or fine art landscape and travel. In the early part or the early sessions, we looked at how we approach that in our, as some would say, our sort of loose-ish style. We don't have too much structure, at least I don't, and although Peter looks a lot more structured, he still goes out there and experiments and explores. I know, for a lot of people, we've said a few times over the last day or so that a lot of people seem to have a fear around doing it the wrong way. I think you've got to recognize that doing it the wrong way is sometimes the way to finding the best way for you, and doing it the wrong way is how you discover something creative or some different way of looking at things for you. We've also talked a bit about, Pete, around the difference between what is correct, correct color, what is the correct version, what is the correct exposure, and I think we discussed that it comes down to intent. Are you trying to say, "This is the way it is?" Or are you expressing yourself? Well, as fine art landscape photographers and travel photographers, we're about expressing the way we felt. We have a little bit of obsession around our emotion and around how we felt about our images, and about the importance of understanding what you're trying to say. What it is and why you're taking the picture, and that'll give you a starting point when it talks about creativity in terms of post-production. What am I going to do? There's a thousand tools out there. You don't need to know them all, we've shown you that. But you do need to understand what it is you want that image to be saying. At least why did you take it and what would you like people to understand how you felt when you were there taking it? We've covered a lot of ground.
Yeah, and then we finished up with creating that portfolio of work, whether that portfolio is an exhibition, a book, or a series of loose prints that you put into a presentation box. To me, that makes you a photographer. Just having the files on your iPhone, you can be a, sort of a photogr, but not a photographer. A photographer makes prints or makes book, in my view. And I know that's contentious, but I just think that everybody I know that gets involved--
Imagine you being contentious. (laughs)
Everybody I know that does it loves it, and so I figure it's all right to encourage people to do the same.