Thoughts from my studio about artwork; new pieces as well as those things that have have remained hidden in my flat file...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Question for curators and jurors...

I've been getting some feedback on some recent proposals I've sent out, and one of the comments is that the image quality is not so great. With a surge in digital submissions over the last few years, I have been concerned about this due to the subtle nature of most of my work. In any kind of reproduction quite a bit of depth is lost.
I use a professional photographer, calibrate my monitor regularly and look at everything VERY carefully in photoshop. The problem is, that I don't know what program most jurors and curators are viewing the images with. I notice that a carefully sharpened, accurate image is blurred by windows picture and fax viewer, but when it is viewed in photoshop it looks great. Should I then be oversharpening my images to compensate for this?
I have several questions for jurors and curators and would appreciate some feedback on your experiences:
1. What program is most often used to view the images?
2. Are they projected or viewed on a monitor?
3. Do curators and jurors calibrate their monitors regularly as designers, photographers and most artists do?
Thanks - I appreciate any feedback.

7 comments:

J.T. said...

John,

I'll answer your questions in the hope of getting something going here.

When I view images, it is typically either via Windows Picture and Fax Viewer or via IE. I don't notice any difference in sharpness so long as the image fits within the screen (meaning, it doesnt get compressed to fit Windows Picture Viewer). When it is compressed there are some pretty big changes. I do notice some changes in colors between photoshop and the other views.

As you know, I do not calibrate my monitor. However, I look at hundreds of images every week and I've never seen an image that is obviously "off." I've curated shows from jpegs and I've purchased work from jpegs. In less than 1% of the time the work is "significantly" different than expected.

I'm fine with digital images that are within say +/- 5% of the actual piece. If that slight "off-ness" causes someone to not like the work, then I think they were on the fence about the work no matter what. Meaning, curators see a ton of art and they can extrapolate pretty well what the actual work looks like. I feel confident in my abilities to do so.

As I told you yesterday, your images are fine. I think they could be "pumped up" a bit. I didn't mention this last night but perhaps a drop shadow around the work would help. It would aid in creating the illusion of depth that might counteract the flatness of the jpeg. I've started using this and Michael Fitts also does to great results.

Those are my 3 cents...

John M. Adams said...

I haven't noticed shifts in color, just the a bit of sharpness of the image, and it is most noticeable in the paintings, not photographs...

J.T. said...

Sounds like your monitor calibration has taken care of the color shifts. Now for that pesky sharpness. :)

Anonymous said...

In addition to color calibrating your monitor, you also have to consider color space... different color spaces are translated differently by different programs, even on calibrated systems...

For any submission or online viewing, I always make sure I convert my colorspace to sRGB - sRGB has MANY limitations and is far from popular with designers, but the fact is, it is the most generic and is the one most likely to be viewed consistently across multiple platforms.

Just my .02

Cheers,
Ken

John M. Adams said...

Thanks for the info Ken.

Lenny said...

I think the easiest solution would be for you to contact the organizers of the calls, exhibition, etc. and ask them how they will present the images, as these calls often do it different ways depending on size and importance. Just call them and ask...

Lenny

John M. Adams said...

Thank you for the comments, all good suggestions. I have also taken some new considerations when lighting and shooting the pieces, and I'm trying a new guy to shoot the paintings. We'll see.