Apr 232013
 

Three years ago, I wrote a short post on printing a series of Arabian Horses for Tariq Dajani.

I mentioned at the time how special that felt, not least because many of the prints I made for Tariq over the years are now with the Jordanian Royal Family, some members of the ruling families of the UAE and with various other influential people in the Middle East.

So, perhaps you can imagine my eyes lighting up when Tariq mentioned that some more images were on their way to me. Falcons would feature this time for a show in Dubai.

Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug), 2011 by Tariq Dajani

Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) 2011 © Tariq Dajani 2011

I love Tariq’s approach to photography, using very modern methods to realise photographs with a very traditional feel.

Tariq describes:

“The falcon series was shot over a period of two years from 2011 to 2012. The Peregrine, Gyr and Sakr falcons are all female birds, more aggressive and are bigger than the males.

“They are all prized and valuable hunting birds owned by some very important people, whom I’m not at liberty to mention.”

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) 2011 by Tariq Dajani

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) 2011 © Tariq Dajani 2011

“While the precise origins of falconry are lost in time, the keeping of falcons in the Middle East is as ancient as the emergence of its civilizations and goes back at least 4000 years.

“As with my series on the Arabian horse, this series pays tribute to the traditions and heritage of our region.”

Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) 2011 by Tariq Dajani

Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) 2011 © Tariq Dajani 2011

The prints I made were huge; most were around 130cm on their longest dimension.

Due to their size, each print more-or-less filled my entire print table, making them many times larger than life. On my way to the studio each morning, I had to remind myself what was waiting beyond the door so as not to get a shock each time!

The beautiful, trusty combination of HP Vivera Pigment Ink and Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm prevailed once more; I thought I’d leave you with some photographs I captured during the printmaking process…

Tariq Dajani, Falconry Print Detail 02

Print Detail: HP Vivera Pigment Ink on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm

Tariq Dajani, Falconry Print Detail

Print Detail: HP Vivera Pigment Ink on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm

Tariq Dajani, Falconry Print Detail

Print Detail: HP Vivera Pigment Ink on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm

Tariq Dajani, Falconry Print Detail

Print Detail: HP Vivera Pigment Ink on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm

Tariq Dajani, Falconry Print Detail

Print Detail: HP Vivera Pigment Ink on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm

Tariq Dajani, Falconry Print Detail

Print Detail: HP Vivera Pigment Ink on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm

UPDATE: Tariq tells me that the prints look beautiful in situ, which certainly looks to be the case from this photograph he sent me:

Tariq Dajani interviewed by the media during his show in Dubai

Tariq Dajani conducting one of many media interviews at his show in Dubai…

If you’d like me to make prints for you, please feel free to contact me.

My latest list of services and prices can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking here.

Mar 222013
 
'sky-wheel' by Alec Finlay and Jack Lowe (2007-2008)

‘sky-wheel’ by Alec Finlay and Jack Lowe (2007-2008)

Several years ago, I met Alec Finlay for a spot of lunch at The Cluny in the Ouseburn Valley.

By that stage, we had already worked on several projects together.  Through our collaborations, I was gaining insights into Alec’s mind, insights that were already enhancing my outlook on the world around me.

We sat outside on a lovely, relaxed sunny afternoon. Around us, the colours of Spring were springing and above us, the blue sky…

Ah yes, the blue sky.

That’s what Alec wanted to discuss — the colour of the blue sky.

What colour is it?  Could I use my understanding of digital colour and technical skills to somehow translate what’s up there into some glorious new colour wheel down here?

As it happened, yes I could and that idea manifested itself as sky-wheel.

Later, we would also make apple-wheel together, a piece that would form part of Alec’s shortlist exhibition for the Northern Art Prize:

'apple-wheel' by Alec Finlay and Jack Lowe (2010)

‘apple-wheel’ by Alec Finlay and Jack Lowe (2010)

On his skying blog, Alec describes the thinking behind sky-wheel in more detail:

This sky-wheel is a record of the colour of the sky, representative of a coastal location in North East England. It is…a work that appears to be scientific but is in fact entirely subjective.

While the sky-wheel does not meet any scientific criteria…his (Jack’s) role was as a mediator, between the technology of the digital camera, which produced the sky samples we used, and the technology of the digital ink-jet printer, which produced the final artwork.

The outer ring of the sky-wheel records a colour for every day, specified from a digital photograph of the sky. The camera is in a fixed position on the roof of NaREC (Blyth), pointing directly overhead and taking photographs at four hourly intervals during daylight hours. The calendar ran from midsummer day 2007 to midsummer eve 2008.

The outer ring shows the 365 days.

The second ring records a colour for every week; an amalgam of the seven colours for the individual days during this time period.

The third ring records a colour for every month; an amalgam of the four colours for the individual weeks during this time period.

The penultimate ring records a colour for each season; an amalgam of the three colours for the individual months during this time period.

The inner circle of the sky-wheel is a composite colour representing the entire year; this was created by amalgamating every other colour specification that appears in the colour wheel.

Below are photographs of the camera I rigged to capture the sky every four hours for a year from midsummer day 2007 to midsummer eve 2008.

The Canon SLR was controlled by an Intervalometer, all neatly encapsulated within a waterproof housing. I managed to feed a mains power lead from the camera, through the housing and attach it to an external power supply on the roof.

Every couple of weeks, I travelled to Blyth to swap the memory cards over and collect the images it had captured:

sky-wheel by Alec Finlay and Jack Lowe 2007-2008

Fixed to the wall on the roof of NaREC, the camera points skyward in its waterproof housing…

sky-wheel by Alec Finlay and Jack Lowe 2007-2008

The slice of Northumbrian sky captured every four hours…

sky-wheel by Alec Finlay and Jack Lowe 2007-2008

Corrosion to the mount fittings as the year-long capture process comes to a close…

sky-wheel by Alec Finlay and Jack Lowe 2007-2008

Corroded Bolt

sky-wheel by Alec Finlay and Jack Lowe 2007-2008

Over the course of the year, I made twenty pages denoting colour values, which were then transferred to spreadsheets to calculate the final entries for the artwork that became ‘sky-wheel’.

Feb 082013
 

Next Tuesday 12th February sees the opening of Looking at the View at Tate Britain.

This thematic display looks at continuities in the way artists have framed our vision of the landscape over the last 300 years. Comprised entirely from the Tate Collection, over seventy works by more than fifty artists will be included, with familiar names such as J.M.W. Turner and Tracey Emin making an appearance.

Among such luminaries will be a long-standing client of mine, Fiona Crisp. Tate will be showing a print I made for Fiona, ‘Norwegian Series #3 2007’…

Fiona Crisp's Norwegian Series No.3 from 'Look at the View' on show at Tate Britain, London

Fiona Crisp, Norwegian Series #3 2007

As Fiona describes in an accompanying article for The Guardian:

Norwegian Series #3 2007 is from a cycle of four photographic works taken from a rural house high in the mountains of central Norway in the summer of 1999. The image holds no clue as to the time of day it was made but there is a quality to the light — or more accurately, to the differentiation of the interior and exterior light — that is hard to place. All the photographs in the series were taken at different points during the night when, in addition to a lack of darkness at this latitude, there are subtle shifts in colour cast that slightly nudge your perception off kilter.

‘Looking at the View’ also includes the work of Wolfgang Tillmans, Julian Opie, Tacita Dean, Carol Rhodes and Lisa Milroy.

The show runs until 2nd June with free entry.

Jan 312013
 

I wonder if you’ve seen the work of Kelvin Okafor?

His sensational, life-like pencil drawings are confounding art critics and gallerists the world over.

Connoisseurs have been scratching their heads and even mistakenly cataloguing his work as photographs; photorealism taken to the extreme.

As many of you know, I’ve worked with a multitude of artists over the years, crafting their artwork into beautiful editions.  Indeed, as pencil drawings are a speciality of mine, it would perhaps be the ultimate challenge to work with Kelvin on faithfully documenting such beautiful drawings…

Pencil drawing of Amy Winehouse by Kelvin Okafor

Pencil drawing of Amy Winehouse by Kelvin Okafor

Kelvin’s drawings also put me in mind of Chris LaPorte, who I wrote about here.

Dec 042012
 

Imagine it’s 1873.

Platinum/Palladium printing has just been invented but the print size is limited to that of the plate or film on which the photograph was originally captured.

An inherent attribute of any contact printing process, this meant that 5×4″ and 10×8″ Platinum prints were commonplace at the time.

Fast forward to the 21st Century and we now have the ability to make much larger digital negatives, resulting in the ability to make similarly larger Platinum/Palladium prints.

This year, Richard and I have been proud to take part in several projects that make full use of this new marriage of old and new technologies — Ian Aitken’s photographs of northern white rhinos have been a prime example.

Platinum Print of the Northern White Rhino, Fatu, by Ian Aitken

30×22″ Platinum Print of the Northern White Rhino, Fatu, by Ian Aitken

This has been an extraordinary undertaking by Ian, who liaised with the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

Here, he took exclusive photographs of Najin, Fatu, Sudan and Suni — four of the world’s last seven remaining northern white rhinos — in a joint fundraising effort for the conservancy.

On 18th December 2012, Ian was invited to discuss the project on BBC Radio 4’s Saving Species.

Click on the image below, where you can hear Ian being interviewed from the 10:17 mark (I know the image below is a gorilla, it’s also a red herring!):

Ian Aitken discusses his project with the Northern White Rhinos at Ol Pejeta on BBC Radio 4's Saving Species

Listen to Ian discussing his project from the 10:17 mark…

As Ian explains further on his dedicated site:

In January 2012, I was invited to Ol Pejeta.

During this trip, I’d photographed the northern white rhino several times, but was not satisfied with my approach, so on the last morning of the trip I arranged to get some close-up portraits.

I wanted Mount Kenya in the background and the rhino in the foreground. With the guards’ help I managed to get Fatu in profile. I’d known how rare these animals are, but preparing for the photo I was struck by the loneliness and unbelievable fragility of their situation.

Then Fatu suddenly turned and started walking towards me. I was terrified — they are huge animals — but carried on taking photos, stepping backwards, faster and faster. The guards told me to stop and stand still for my own safety. Fatu came right up close to me and nuzzled her head in my stomach.

I know it’s corny, but at that moment, with the personal contact, I was hooked. I was completely blown away.

Platinum Print of the Northern White Rhino, Najin, by Ian Aitken

Framed 30×22″ Platinum Print of the Northern White Rhino, Najin, by Ian Aitken

Platinum Print of the Northern White Rhino, Fatu, by Ian Aitken

Framed 30×22″ Platinum Print of the Northern White Rhino, Fatu, by Ian Aitken

Platinum Print of the Northern White Rhino, Suni, by Ian Aitken

Framed 30×22″ Platinum Print of the Northern White Rhino, Suni, by Ian Aitken

Platinum Print of the Northern White Rhino, Sudan, by Ian Aitken

Framed 30×22″ Platinum Print of the Northern White Rhino, Sudan, by Ian Aitken

The framed prints are beautiful photographic objects…

The 24×16″ photograph sits within a sheet of 30×22″ paper and the print floats inside bespoke frames made of English brown oak inlaid with African mpingo and carved with the name of each rhino.

 

Platinum Print of the Northern White Rhino, Najin, by Ian Aitken

The set of four prints were first shown at The Royal Geographical Society on 31st October.

They carry an incredible stone-like quality, the long tones of the Platinum/Palladium combination lending themselves perfectly to the leathery skin of the rhinos and their surroundings.

For every print sold, 50% of the profits directly help to protect the northern white rhino from poachers.

Proceeds will fund the building of a modern security base at Ol Pejeta’s northern white rhino enclosure.

Platinum Prints of Northern White Rhinos at The Royal Geographical Society

The full set of Platinum Prints on show at The Royal Geographical Society

The fundraising project is fully endorsed by Fauna and Flora International and the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

For further details on how to buy these stunning prints, please visit AitkenPrints.

If you would like to learn more about how we could make Platinum/Palladium prints for you, please take a look at this page or feel free to contact me.

Notes on Print Production:

I used my HP Designjet Z3200 in conjunction with HP’s very own Large Format Digital Negative Application to make Digital Negatives from Ian’s camera files.

The final prints were made on 310gsm Arches Platine in conjunction with 139 Printroom.

 

%d bloggers like this: