I mentioned earlier that I’d gone through a fairly lengthy process to choose a print shop and ended up following the recommendation of a professional photographer, Andy Skillen, who had recommended Genesis Imaging. It transpired that I’d just needed to ask my tutor since he used them and would recommend them as well, talk about making things difficult for myself!
Both Andy and David, my tutor, had mentioned Mark at Genesis, basically stating that Mark knew far more than I did and just follow his recommendations. That’s stating it simply but that’s roughly what David in particular said and after experiencing the service at Genesis, I totally agree. Mark was extremely helpful at every step of the way and, critically, was helpful in removing a magenta colour cast in some of the images before printing.
It’s something that’s really puzzling me since it was very noticeable on some of the images when shown on Mark’s monitor. On my monitor, calibrated but not of the same quality as Mark’s, there was no cast at all. Now that could just be put down to faulty calibration or to a poor quality monitor (not really the case) but when I print the images at home, just using a generic ICC profile from the manufacturers (Permajet and Hahnemühle), there’s no cast at all, certainly not t the extent seen at Genesis. By my way of thinking, if there was a cast in the images, even if it did not show up on my monitor, it would have shown up in the print if I’d used a generic ICC profile for the printer/ink combination – but it didn’t. I need to do some more research into this but I thought that I understood colour casts, ICC profiles etc – obviously not!
Collecting the images was a stressful experience! It was the first time during my OCA course that I’d used a print lab so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. This was made worse when I arrived because of the quality of some of the prints on show at Genesis. As an example, behind the counter at reception is a huge print of one of David Yarrow’s iconic images, almost literally filling the wall together with a volume exhibiting very large prints of some of his work. Inspecting my prints with Mark was a bitter-sweet experience since I was really impressed with Mark’s work but couldn’t help but compare my work with Yarrow’s – I lost!!
I had wanted to created a grid of the images with my “Artist Statement” below on A3 paper but was wary at the thought of spending £60 for a box of paper when I needed one print. Luckily Mark was happy to cut a couple of off cuts down to A3 size so I could go ahead. I’d envisage using this as the “entrance” to any exhibition of these images – if I ever get that far! In the meantime it will be a good front page for the assessment.
As we were expecting the prints which, unsurprisingly, were faultless Mark suggested that he really liked one of the images, the last one in the series looking at the pond through the trees. This was mildly encouraging but I had no intention of asking him what he thought of the other eleven. More seriously, it led onto a brief discussion on how most of his customers invariably went for the Picturesque images whether they be commercial artists or amateurs. The former went for them because they sold to the mass market whilst the amateurs just liked them better!
I don’t think that my portfolio is overly Picturesque, though my tutor thinks that it’s leaning that way, and friends and colleagues certainly don’t think so. Mark, who has seen an enormous amount of work go through his lab, also doesn’t think so but I can see what my tutor means, especially when compared to his work.
As I mentioned before I think that it’s unavoidable to have a touch of Picturesque in my portfolio given the area but, equally, I haven’t gone out of my way to be so. besides, I feel that the movement away from Picturesque to being “gritty” at all costs has gone too far and, so long as the images in this case, depict reality, what’s wrong with them being mildly attractive rather than ugly. The key point is that they tell the story that I want, they show what lies just off the established path and show the way there.