Thursday, January 27, 2011

How to make an artist sweat, just say {{Ektachrome}}

Remember slides?  Calm down, they're gone...

I've just been going through mine, packing them away in fact. I think the days of sending in laboriously labeled slides in plastic sheets may be over, thank goodness. When I think of the boxes of slides I threw away because they came out too reddish, or bluish, or yellow. And I DON'T want to think about all the money I spent.

Here's what I hated about taking slides:


• Finish your work at least a week before the deadline

If taking in natural light....
  • Buy special ektachrome daylight film ($$)
  • Plan the perfect day -  sunny with shade, not too cold. (If in the winter, wait till the weekend since it's dark when you leave for work and return home)
  • Prop the painting somewhere in shade
  • Break off blades of grass that are sticking up in front of the picture
  • Pick it up when the wind blows it over
If taking slides indoors...
  • Buy special ektachrome tungsten film ($$)
  • Find a neutral wall
  • Set up lights and stands
  • Check special color balanced bulbs ($$)
  • Go to store to replace bulb that's burned out. Buy two so they match ($$)
  • Angle lights to eliminate glare (ha!)
  • Set up 35 mm camera on tripod
  • Adjust camera so picture is perfectly square
  • Notice glare on picture
  • Put on polarizing lens
  • Adjust aperture
  • Take several exposures of each image
  • Repeat
The next day...
  • Leave early to take film to 1-day ektachrome lab ($$) before work
  • Fight rush hour traffic to pick up slides after work
  • Look at them on their light table
  • Throw away the box (too-blue, too-yellow, too-dark, too light, too-skewed, too-glarey)
  • Start over
  • Decide a slide is acceptable
  • Mask out background with special silver tape ($$)
  • Take the one perfect slide in to lab to be duped
  • Estimate how many you'll need ($$)
  • Wait 3 days then pick up dups
  • Find out exactly how venue wants you to label slides
  • Print tiny little labels good only for that venue
  • Arrange in slidesheet
  • Put them in a 9x12 envelope with a return postage 9x12 envelope inside
  • Go to the post office to get it weighed
  • Mail 3-4 days before deadline

Things I love about sending jpgs...

  • Finish work up to 1 hour before deadline
  • If it's small enough—scan it. Or...
  • Prop up painting indoors or out (too blue? too yellow? No worries, Photoshop to the rescue! Glare? Take photo on angle, de-skew in Photoshop)
  • Take photo with little digital camera
  • Check it on your computer
  • Adjust as necessary
  • Bring into Photoshop
  • De-skew it, color correct, crop
  • Save original
  • Resize version for venue
  • Name it
  • Attach to application and hit send

I had a whole filing system for my hundreds of slides, sorted by master copies, dups, titles and quality. Endless hours of organizing...but I suppose many of those packets I mailed out did return some great opportunities, so those little square calling cards had their day.

Anyone still using them? Anyone miss them?

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