May 27, 2016

Back in the 90s, after what was to become more or less the conclusion of my programming career, I picked up two books. One was on HTML, and the other on VRML. It was an exciting time. On the latter and VR, the future of that seems to always be meandering somewhere just around the corner away from the mainstream. On HTML however, that skill had proved itself to be routinely useful. I never developed it as a hardcore skill partly because, like all tech skills, it is a fast moving object and awkward to hang onto unless you work with it every single day.

Well on again, off again, on again, and I find myself excited about making "websites" again. The variation this time is to is to have a the website folder hosted on Google via GCP. I greatly appreciate this option, having previous experience with setting up LAMP stack servers from bare metal upwards, which used to be a big deal.

The other morning, over a cafeteria coffee at RNSH, I got the domain which I thought would be a fun thing to do. The alter ego thought bubble went something like notNEWMAN eXperiments dot com. So now, my first GCP site has a fun name, not just an IP.

This brings notnewmandotcom capabilities to also offer website work. I did not want to rush into this but it is what my clients and friends have been asking about it. So it begins. is a landing page for notNewmandotcom eXperiments, or a spin-off from the notnewmandotcom portfolio. In the first instance, it ticks two boxes: try Google Cloud Platform and build a supporting site for an upcoming exhibition. Details TBA.

May 13, 2016

Ceramics photography for Kerrie Lowe Gallery

The Kerrie Lowe Gallery contacted to produce some photos for an upcoming exhibition. There is a sense of adventure in discovering what brings a new client to you, and what expertly specialities you can bring to them. In this instance I was asked to photograph ceramic works by two artists who shall remain nameless at this point in the interest of preventing pre show plot spoilers.

When photographing platters or plate-like-things you generally want to show a bit of top to indicate the general shape of what to expect and a bit of side to show the extent of the depth. The exception comes when there is noteworthy detail on the inside, then you just show the top, as that is the most informing perspective. To overcome the resulting sense of 2D flatness, we add a bit of 3D with shadows and reflections. Arty photos of plates and 2D objects will show them lifted on one side or even balancing on edge. Further, if the photo is to go into a publication, background options would be nice to have. Catalogue editors want just the objects, so the viewer can compare apples to apples removed from any original background. Magazine editors and some artists favour simple light grey backgrounds so the photo is self framing, separates from the page, gives a sense of weight, and enhances colour. Then went it comes to promotion material like postcards, we expect maximum occupancy and zing to fill the page area, with interesting lighting and some sense of semi natural curvature. And then there is the editorial style that looks like a readily achievable point-and-shoot job. So what to do? Bring it all! When trying to impress new clients we like to over-deliver, showing a set of options and see which direction they choose. SA

An alternative approach to the above concerns sets of objects, or collections of pieces. When photographing sets, consistency is the key. The overarching goal is to do away with distractions, styling, and background or scale inconsistencies (a side effect of subject centric photography) but still retain grounding when possible (typically by way of soft symmetrical shadows or reflections). All pics are similar together, but each piece is a work of art individually.