PDN’s “The Curator”

PDN recently announced the winners of its “The Curator” contest, which sought excellence in new and undiscovered fine-art photographers across the country.

These from Student Work category winner, Clarissa Bonet. Images are from her series “City Space”

Matthew Gamber won the Installations/Still Life category.

From his statement,
“‘Any Color You Like’ is an experiment in how photography can confuse our perception of information. These photographs represent objects whose primary function is to simulate our observation of color. When these items are rendered in a traditional black-and-white format, the information that remains is merely an abstraction of its previous form.”

Tamas Dezso’s exploration of the inescapable march of time and its effect on the cultural and personal history of the Balkan Country in “Romanina.”

See the full article, and contest winners here.

Photograph by Jim Marshall

The Irreplaceable Magic of Contact Sheets

Any photographer who has worked with film can attest to what I mean by “magic”. Though the technology of digital photography has grown incredibly since its inception, one woefully missing piece of the process is the role of contact sheets.

In the time of film, the process of photographing was markedly different. After every shoot was the unavoidable wait for processed negatives and the accompanying joy of hunting through your contact sheets. I’d liken it to the ritual of your morning coffee with the paper, or any ritual you adhere to with care. Looking at a freshly developed contact sheet, with a red pen and an eye for editing, was a revered and enticing step in defining one’s vision.

For gallery-goers and museum folk, viewing artist’s finished photographs kept those initial steps a mystery. We formed our own opinions about the artist’s intent.

There are those rare moments to catch glimpses of that magic; the process and ideas of the man behind the curtain. Anyone who may have seen Robert Frank’s “The Americans” at SFMOMA in 2009 was invited to do just that.

Alongside Frank’s prints, the museum shared Frank’s contact sheets as well. Visitors could see multiples of each shot, understanding more about what Frank would include or exclude; understanding the parameters of his vision.

Check out this interesting NPR article on the 2009 show in San Francisco. Through the exhibition of Frank’s work, one of his subject’s recognized herself more than 54 years after Frank took her picture!

If contact sheets are still a mainstay in your film to digital workflow, you can always include them with your film processingin the lab.

Why Do Old Time Photos Have Jagged Edges?

At Dickerman Prints, we do a lot of scanning and repairing of old photos: many of which have edges that look like as jagged a postage stamp. Referred to as a deckled edge, there were a few theories floating around the photo lab as to why it was done. My favorite was that it was a marketing gimmick and the photos were cut that way using a special machine.

The “real” answer proved considerably harder to find, as most searches turned up tutorials on creating decked edges in Photoshop. A cool trick, but not a history lesson. So, after extensive looking, the best answers I have found are:

Commercially made “deckle edge” photographs didn’t have a true deckle edge, but a simulated deckle edge cut with a die. The paper was available from manufacturers pre-trimmed (Kodak made it until the later ’60s or early 70′s) and paper cutters were sold that produced the effect. The commercial deckle edge was a simulation of the true deckle edge often seen on fine art paper and thus on hand coated photographic prints.

~Source: The Photo Forum


When paper is produced, it naturally has a deckeled edge. Paper produced on a paper machine (in rolls) has two deckeled edges, while paper produced in sheets (ie, artist’s paper) usually has four.

I suspect that having deckeled edges on photographs was an outgrowth of pictorialism. The pictorial school of photography believed that the best photography emulated traditional painting. Having four deckeled edges on a photograph looked something like a painting on a sheet of artist’s paper.

~Source: Answers.Yahoo.com

What is YOUR theory on why folks used to use deckled edges?

And, check out a great tutorial on creating deckled edges in Photoshop!

Masks and Layers in Photoshop: A Tutorial

One of the most common questions we get here at Dickerman Prints is how to just change one part of an image without having it affect the whole shot. The answer, in Photoshop, is to use masks and layers. But just what does that mean? Take a look at these helpful videos to find out!

 Some dramatic changes using layers and masks in Photoshop Some dramatic changes using layers and masks in Photoshop  The layers and masks used to create the above image The layers and masks used to create the above image

Roosevelt Island Photograph by Greg Goodman

That iPhone Camera Look…With Film!

 You can use Instagram, Hipstamatic or any of the other popular iPhone apps to get that retro photo look. OR, you can do what 16 year old Keelan Sunglao-Valdez did: get out your Holga and go shoot with film! You can use Instagram, Hipstamatic or any of the other popular iPhone apps to get that retro photo look. OR, you can do what 16 year old Keelan Sunglao-Valdez did: get out your Holga and go shoot with film!

Keelan is a first-year student in Cameraworks’ First Exposures program and used 120mm film to take the photos featured on this page around his home in the East Bay. Some of his work was recently presented at the Open Show and he also will be speaking at the SF Camerawork First Exposures benefit on April 28 2011.

First Exposures provides free weekly photography classes for underserved youth aged 11-18.

In the First Exposures mentoring program, each student is matched one-to-one with a photographer who serves as a positive adult role model and provides individualized guidance and support. Since 1993 hundreds of students have participated in this program and over 90% of these students has gone on to pursue a college education.

Because of our demonstrated history of success, First Exposures is recognized by the State of California as a model program for underserved youth. In the face of limited education and economic opportunities for San Francisco youth, we have expanded the First Exposures experience beyond our weekly classes to encompass community outreach programs, after-school programs, and summer courses throughout the City.

First Exposures provides a creative outlet for students to express themselves in a safe and supportive environment, and encourages them to become articulate, confident, and responsible young adults. In 2008 First Exposures expanded its program by introducing a digital photography class in order to serve more youth.

Dickerman Prints is proud to provide complimentary film processing and scanning for the First Exposures program.