Some years ago I did extensive work with pinholes, Zone plates and Holga camera systems, specifically for my Through A Glass Darkly artworks and book. Recently I decided to give a Zone Plate a try on my Leica M7 (it is a 28mm f/32 Zone Plate I purchased from Pinhole Resources) and TX processed as I have already outlined here on the Figital Revolution using Diafine Developer. It seems to me that this combo of TX/ Diafine/ Zone Plate and Leica M are a perfect combo. The TX and Diafine Developer really help control the Zone Plate with regards to contrast and it also gives me a high enough EI to make hand held shots very possible (my usable range for TX in Diafine is 400-1600). The M7, or really any rangefinder camera system is nice as the image view is not reduced (illumination) by looking through the Zone Plate as would be the case with an SLR (of course this means that you will have to visualize your final image as none of the Zone Plate qualities will be visible until you process your film assuming you’re using a film rangefinder). Of course digital capture would give you instant feed back (did this a few years ago in the American Southwest) but I just love the look of this combo. Scans were done in house at Indian Hill Imageworks on our Imacon Scanner, wet mount at 3200 optical dpi- a few resulting images are below from my first roll…
For more information on using a Zone Plate or for that matter what is a Zone Plate check out the links below.
Viva la Revolution!
I find this post very disturbing to write and a sad reflection on our current economic situation here in the US, as well as an unfortunate look at the trend in book publishing to find the cheapest and “good enough” printing press for the production of Fine Art Books. Where are most “fine art” books printed now?…China! That is not to say that good books can not and have not been printed in China, but we all know there is a huge difference between a book printed on a cookie cutter press and one printed at a true fine art printing press.
I personally have been very fortunate in my career thus far, having my first book printed at the Stinehour Press in Lunenburg, Vermont and my second book at the Salto Press in Belgium. Both of these presses represent the pinnacle of printing quality (which translates into options for the artist) yet now it seems that the Stinehour Press will be no more in just a few months.
Founded in 1952 and employing over 21 employees the Stinehour Press had won numerous awards for printing excellence and it’s collection of printed books and materials reads like a list of luminaries in the field of Art with a very large capitol A. Stephen Stinehour, who I consider a personal friend, left the press several years ago to pursue other printing projects, yet I know he finds the closing of the Stinehour Press- which was founded by his father- a sad statement on the currect position of the printing industry in the US.
In our quest to get to get the most for our dollar (or Euro or whatever) many people seem to lose sight that in that process of “how low can you go” a lot is lost… and once it is gone it is gone forever. In the “new” industry of Giclee Fine Art Printing I can remember only a few years back where how cheap and how fast you could print was the driving force for marketing products and services. Fade-out/fade-in 5 years and most of the get-rich-quick printing operations are gone, dying, or consolidated because you can only cut costs so far and most of these technologies at the end of the day are still quite expensive to run and upgrade. It seems correct to me that a great print deserves a fair price/competitive price…but you have to compare apples with apples. Also remember that cuts in cost almost always come at the expense of quality and workers pay or health benefits…you know the complaint and I’m sure you hear it everyday on the news or in your own community. Continue reading “End of an Era…The Stinehour Press is Closing!”