West Lake – The Photographers Exchange

West Lake, China 2008 copyright Douglas Stockdale

The annual print exchange will be occurring at The Photographers Exchange  on Thursday this week, with more about this group, including the time and place of the event, here.

To prepare a print for the exchange (you bring one, you take home one), first I realized that I did not have a print ready to exchange and I have not printed for a while.

First, the selection of the print that I wanted to exchange and I decided to go with one of my images from China, which is the West Lake photograph above. I think that it would be best described as a “classic” vision of my experience and now my memory of this time. Which artistically would be classified as a Modernistic image, that the aesthetics of the formal characteristics are emphasised. 

My emphasis is on the shapes & formes within the framing, balance of the image, the weighting of the boats on the bottom, warmer tonality of the print as it relates to my lasting memory, contrast control allowing the far horizon to almost fade away and yet the boasts in the foreground to be dark and heavy, anchoring the image and the overall impression. It borders on cliché. Not visible in the image above are the two red ink stamps (chops) that I have added to the print on the right side of the image, with the chinese characters for Liu Guan Lue Yin (Flow of Light Brush the Shadow), a beautiful Chinese term for a memory, and the chinese characters for my last name, as a signature for the print. I think it looks pretty good within the 4 ply archival white matte.

As I prepared to print this on my Epson, I realized that due to my crazy travel schedule, I probably have not printed for about six months. Sigh. So I anticipated that I would need to go through a series of print head cleanings, which did not last that long, about 4 cleaning cycles. As I was very short of time, I had purchased a pre-cut archival matte from Aaron Brothers with a “11 x 14″ opening in  a 16 x 20″ matte, but checking with my steel rule, the opening was even smaller. So after confirming the true opening size and deciding against dragging out my matte cutter, I then calculated the final print image size with a 3/8” margin of white between the image and matte. I might as well go all the way with the Modernistic look of this image.

Then after accepting the final image size, I cropped my image accordingly to drop into this into the matte opening, choosing to take a little off the left edge of the image to emphasize the balance and weight of the graphic elements within the frame. Then the final output sharpening action for the inkjet printer and Hahnemuhle FineArt Photo Rag (Smooth/Matte surface, Bright White, 310 grams) and a wonderful print the very first time. I placed the archival corners on the foamcore to hold the print and the archival tape to affix the top matte and finally slide the works into the poly envelop. Done!

And I think that it looks pretty good.

Meanwhile, I find myself thinking again about how to finish my China project. Pretty sure that what ever way I choose, chances are that this will be my next photobook project.

Best regards, Douglas

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