I am excited to tease today that I will have a brand new exhibition of Fine Art Prints of my Polar Photography coming to Melbourne next year. The exhibition will run for one month only from June 4th until July 4th 2020 and will include approximately three dozen of my photographs from both the Arctic and Antarctic captured over a period of ten years. The exhibition will be held in South Melbourne and previously unreleased limited edition prints will be available – More details to come soon…Save the Date!
Over the last few days I have received several emails from those interested in the art of printing, asking “where can I go to see the actual prints” of the winning photographs in this years AIPP Victorian Epson Professional Nature Photographer of the Year Awards. Well, I will have some very exciting news about just this and more in the next few days. Stand by….
Over the last few days The AIPP Australian Institute of Professional Photography Victorian State awards (VPPY) were held here in my home town of Melbourne at Melbourne Polytechnic Fairfield Campus. The AIPP Annual state and national awards are my two absolute favourite photographic competitions to participate in because all entries (in the categories I choose to enter) are judged in print and not digitally. Those of you who follow my blog regularly are already well aware that I am a huge advocate of the print as the finished medium of choice for my own photography – enough said. The AIPP National and State awards remain two of the few remaining competitions to actually judge the finished print and they do so using a panel of judges all deemed experts in their respective genres and accredited as Masters of Photography through their years of success in this arena.
About the Print Judging: In case you are unfamiliar with either of these competitions the prints are judged in a controlled lighting environment and assessed for their content, originality as well as technical craftsmanship. The judging is enthralling to watch (it was live-streamed to the internet this year) and can be quite nerve wracking if you are a first time entrant as the standard of work is incredibly high. In brief, prints are scored out of 100 with images judged less than 70 being deemed not of professional standard. Prints judged between 71 and 79 are considered strong professional practice and entrants receiving scores in this area are considered to be producing professional quality prints. Images judged 80-84 are awarded a Silver and are considered strong professional practice of an award standard that demonstrate skill beyond strong professional practice. Scores of 85-89 are given a Silver with Distinction and demonstrate superior imagination, craft and skill that elevates the print far above professional practice. Prints judged 90-94 exhibit excellence in visual communication, craft and skill and are considered stunning and exceptional in every way. This level of print far exceeds professional practice and is reserved for only the highest quality prints. And finally those rare few images that reach 96-100 are considered to have exceptional vision, creativity, innovation, master craftsmanship and skill. Very, very few prints ever score Gold awards in these competitions. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of print entries this year (over 700 prints) fewer than two dozen received Gold awards and only two Gold Distinctions were awarded.
This year I entered the Nature, Documentary and Landscape categories, entering the maximum allowable twelve prints spread across the three categories. I wanted to put what I felt were my strongest four prints into the Nature category, but also wanted to test the other eight prints and see how they performed in different categories. This turned out to be the right approach for me and I was absolutely thrilled to take overall first place in the Nature Category as well as being a finalist in both the Landscape and Documentary categories. The Nature category is very near and dear to my heart and winning it is a huge honour. On top of winning my chosen category I also took out the Highest Scoring Print award for the Nature category. As someone who is so passionate about the ‘print’ and the craft of fine art printing this was an incredible honour.
Below are the winning prints. All of the prints were printed on Moab Somerset Museum Rag. This wonderfully sublime paper has continued to remain my stock of choice for all my fine art photography prints. If you love printing and are not familiar with this paper I urge you to check it out and get a sample pack.
To help provide some insight into the judging I captured and uploaded the live-stream video of the judging of my four photographs in the Nature category. I did not bother with the Documentary and Landscape categories as these were more or less my ‘seconds’ and it was really the Nature category that I was interested in. If you are keen to check out the judging of my Landscape and Documentary prints you can find the full livestream on You Tube. It is both insightful and interesting to hear the judges thoughts, comments and perspectives. Keep in mind, you are listening to individual opinions – hence a panel of five judges.
Face-Off in a Blizzard – GOLD Award Nature Category
Lost in a Blizzard – GOLD Award Nature Category
Family Reunited – Silver with Distinction Award Nature Category
Arctic Fox Snow Storm – Silver with Distinction Award Nature Category
Sinuous – GOLD Award Landscape Category
Mars – SILVER Award Landscape Category
Hanging Glacier – SILVER Award Landscape Category
Greenland – SILVER Award Landscape Category
Top of the World – SILVER with Distinction Award Documentary Category
Wolverine – SILVER Award Documentary Category
Polar Bear – SILVER Award Documentary Category
Lone Hunter – SILVER Award Documentary Category
“If it isn’t printed; it isn’t real” I am not sure who first coined this phrase but I find it extremely apt and very true. In a world where millions and millions of digital files are consumed and discarded at light speed across all manner of social media platforms there is something very comforting about the ‘permanence’ and life of the printed image.
Unlike digital files, prints are not just consumed. They are admired, treasured, valued, respected and adored. The true beauty of the print is in its longevity of life. And I am not talking about print permanence, but in how much joy and pleasure it brings to the viewer during its life on the wall. How many of you can remember that great photograph you saw on social media last week? I’ll bet no one. Our brains are programmed to instantly consume it and start looking for the next meal.
The truth is, the digital file we so voraciously consume online is nothing but a poor facsimile of the fine art print. It is swallowed whole like a giant fish consumes a sardine and we move on looking for the next meal; often before we have even taken the time to appreciate what we just ate. By contrast, the print is enjoyed slowly over its lifetime on the wall. It is savoured as new flavours are discovered with each viewing. The print maybe a financial investment for some, but in my case (at least in my own collection) its purchased purely for its beauty and not for financial gain.
I have been collecting prints for many years now and my collection includes some quite big names in the game as well as many lesser known photographers whose work I admire and respect. Some of my collection I purchased, some I inherited and some I swapped with other photographers. I have also given prints to other photographers whose work I admire who are not printing but I believe should be. Not everything in my collection is framed and hung on the wall (I simply don’t have the space), but a great many are and in this way I can enjoy them on a daily basis.
Prints in my collection range from as small as 6” x 4” inches to as large as several meters. The size of the print is not important; what is important to me is that its printed and that what I am looking at is the photographers final vision for their photograph.
I have written before on many occasions how I never feel like I have truly finished with an image until I have made a print. The print being the final art object and the final embodiment of my vision for the image. The truth is it goes much deeper than that for me though. The print is not only the final art object, it is the physical manifestation of my vision. When I purchase or swap a print from or with someone I am obtaining their final vision and the ultimate embodiment of their work. It is the ultimate output and the final expression. The digital file is just one stage of the production process and really isn’t the final output. In fact, its nothing more than a stepping stone to the final print.
I believe the print is also the photographers legacy. Speaking for myself, when I am gone from this mortal coil (when I end up in the ink maintenance cart) its the prints I have made that will live on and not my tens of thousands of digital files that reside on ageing digital media that are more than likely going to end up either formatted and re-used, or simply otherwise discarded. If you want your work to survive (bearing in mind nothing lasts forever) then I urge you to take the step into printing. Not only will you create a legacy, but you will discover a whole new joy to the photographic process.
Over the last few years I have often been asked if I would consider selling small prints of my work, suitable for the average home or office space. To date, I have only made my Limited Edition Fine Art prints available through galleries in large sizes and this will remain the case going forward for my 20″ x 30″ inch, and 40″ x 60″ inch and larger prints.
I am excited though to now be offering Limited Edition Fine Art A2 16.5″ x 23.4″ inch prints directly for sale through my online store – Melrakki Publishing. These slightly smaller prints are printed on exactly the same paper as my large gallery prints and are printed to the same exacting standard of perfection. Like my large gallery prints these smaller prints are also Limited Edition with each print hand signed and numbered. These prints are a more intimate offering designed to showcase the highest possible craftsmanship of each photograph in a smaller footprint – more suited to the average sized home. They are perfectly suited to framing and sized for the average wall space in either the home or office.
My large gallery prints are limited to just ten in 20 x 30″ inch or only five in 40″ x 60″. These new 16.5″ x 23.4″ inch prints will likewise be limited to just twenty five of each photograph and only select photographs will be made available. You can check out the currently available selection over at Melrakki Publishing. Each photograph is supplied with a certificate of authenticity with security hologram and is carefully packed for shipment anywhere in the world.
Unlike my large gallery prints which typically escalate in price as each edition is sold the 16.5″ x 23.4″ inch prints will each be sold for the same price (without increase). Thus you can purchase No. 25 for the same price as No. 1 was sold for. Once all 25 are sold there will be NO MORE – EVER. The prints are priced to enable most people to start collecting without the price being the primary barrier to starting a fine art print collection.
The first prints are now available at Melrakki Publishing Online. As a result of pre-orders some prints are already well into their editions, so please contact me if you would like to know what the next number is in the edition. Once sold out, they are gone forever….