"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise." ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
Yesterday -- Day 3 -- in my journey to become a professional photographer, I learned several new words, one of which describes the very thing I’ll be doing. I don’t know how I haven’t heard the word before. My photos will be giclée prints. It’s a neologism (also a new word for me) that was coined in 1991 by a print maker named Jack Duganne to describe fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers. What's In a Name: The True Story of "Giclée" tells it all.
In short, the word was used in the 1980’s when describing IRIS printers. Duganne wanted to find a word that would up the class of printing from a computer. The quality of the giclee print rivals traditional silver-halide and gelatin printing processes and is commonly found in museums, art galleries, and photographic galleries, according to Wikipedia. Artists choose giclée printing mainly because it offers on demand printing and avoids having to come up with enough money up front to print in volume. The word comes from the French based on gicleur which means “nozzle” and also means to squirt or spray. (Inconveniently, the word also is the slang word in French for male ejaculation.)
I learned just enough about large format printers to be saturated with conflicting and confusing advice. I’m supposed to find out what’s called “the duty cycle” of a printer. It’s the maximum amount of printing that can be done in a month without shortening the life of the printer, and equally critical, to make sure the printer can meet my demand. It seems to me a bit like not having a gas gauge and not knowing your mpg or not knowing how many miles to drive before changing the oil. The thing is, printer manufacturers rarely give out this information. Why would important stats like this be kept private? It peeves me to discover more ill will in Corporate America. For an instant, I think about diving into this issue and surfacing with all kinds of dirty little company secrets, but I need to stay focused. The one thing I know is I need to buy an excellent printer and the best ones are out of my price range. Plan B is finding a suitable compromise.
I looked at all kinds of printers. I found them on ebay, Amazon, B & H Photo and off beat retailers. I read printer reviews by experts and consumers. I want to be able to print canvas and various types of photo papers. Figuring out what companies to buy those supplies will be a whole other investigation. The minimum size output I’m looking at is 13 x 19. Evidently there’s an issue with using USB connections to these printers and advice points to always using a CF memory card or other memory device. I don’t know exactly what a CF memory card is. I’ll be googling that. One thorough reviewer who seemed to really know what he was talking about said, “The user interface blows. It’s just plain bad.” He went on to explain how you can get around it and he still recommends the printer over all. Some, or maybe most, printers guzzle the ink. This is another huge cost, and without knowing the duty cycle, it’s almost impossible to know how much each print is actually costing. The formula is easy if you have the specs, but otherwise, you’re left to make a best guess. Grrr …
Some printers have serious problems with ink clogging the heads. Other printers you just have to be prepared to buy new heads. Theoretically, I know what they’re talking about, but I’ll have to learn how to clean the heads (once I figure out where they are) and/or how to replace them. I need to budget for that on a budget that can barely afford the printer.
The best advice (actually more of a reminder) I got out of one review was to spray on some fixative onto my prints such as winsor and newton fixative. It seals the image to the paper so that moisture from hands or the air won’t ruin it. This allows potential buyers to handle the print without damaging it. With dye based inks this is especially important, says the reviewer. It also protects from the sun’s damage.
I downloaded a couple of free chapters from books by Barney Davey who is an art marketing author, blogger, consultant, and podcaster. I can't remember how I stumbled across him. I can be quite impulsive and will just dive in and order books on whatever I’m trying to learn. This time around, I’m going to approach things differently, a bit more methodically. The internet is a goldmine of information if I just take the time to find the nuggets of wisdom. I still may order a book here and there, but only after I’ve learned more.
I was reminded about having a mission statement. This is elementary and since I've run my own retail operations, I've not only written mission statements, but I've written entire business plans. I'm very clear on what I want out of my business.
I was inspired by a TED talk where the speaker stated that 80% of the information we receive comes through our eyes. It compelled me to research about how our eyes see. I read article after article. I learned the eye’s lens never stops growing over a person’s lifetime. The human eye possesses 130 million light-sensitive rods and cones that convert light into chemical impulses. These signals travel at a rate of a billion per second to the brain. I wish I could grasp this better. When things are in the millions and billions it’s hard to fathom. I also learned the eyes are used as proof of God by religious people. I guess Jesus called the eye “the lamp of the body” and even Darwin had trouble theorizing about the evolution of the eyes, and in the Qur’an the eyes are a definite sign that He exists and to ignore this sign is a great wrong.
All this eye stuff a slight detour from my objectives, but this is what naturally happens when I research. And it's not really that far off topic, is it? So much about art is in the eye of the beholder. It seemed natural to want to go deeper into how the eye sees.
Oh! I almost forgot. The other thing I did was get a profile started on Esty and load one photo for sale as a digital sale. I opened an account back in 2010, but never did anything with it. I don't know how much I'll put on Esty, but it's something I'll research. I know some artists who have sold through this website. I have much to learn and explore.
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