Ulrik Gliese - Visual Arts - Work Methods
Working with the images from the contents oriented and expressive side is what excites me. The work methods, the craft and the tools, are all secondary. They have to be mastered to produce good art but should not become an obsession overtaking the image itself.
Speaking of work methods, I do not attribute any value to collective dogma and find that the outcome of work done, following specified rules and conventions set by others, is most often impersonal and uninspired. Granted, it is often healthy to set up limitations in the way the work is carried out to produce focus or a distinct style for a series of images. However, such limitations should be set by the individual artist to suit his or her work. From this it should be clear that I will use any methods, processes, techniques and tools available to me that I feel are best suited to create my work.
Most of my photography is currently done with a 4x5" large format camera as it produces high image quality and provides significant perspective and depth of field control. I have also briefly used the even larger 8x10" camera.
Sometimes, the photographed subject is too small for the 4x5" format and sometimes the physical surroundings do not allow for such a big camera. In those cases, I use either a 35 mm film camera or a digital camera. I also use a digital camera for images where instant feedback is crucial for the work.
I addition, I have experimented with photogram techniques and the use of direct scanning of objects. Such methods may find their way into my work in the future.
So far, most of my work has been done in color. It happened so that I, by chance, started out with color and it sort of stuck. I now have a deep passion for color and how it can be used to make expressive images. That said, I really like black and white for its tonal qualities and in-build level of abstraction.
For my color work, I have mostly used Kodak Ektachrome EPY 6118 transparency film and, occasionally, digital recording. The Kodak EPY 6118 is a slow film (50 ASA) balanced for artificial tungsten lighting. Therefore, I have to compensate with a color temperature conversion filter when I photograph under natural daylight. I have found that this film is the best suited for my present work that often requires very long exposures. It is very well compensated for long exposures in the seconds to minutes range. In addition, it has an excellent tonal range and neutral color balance.
Recently, I have done some work in black and white. For this, I have used both color transparency film and black and white negative film. Now that I process my images digitally, I do not find a big difference between using these two kinds of film. However, the color film may provide more creative freedom and control as the conversion to black and white can then be done in many different ways.
Previously, I did all my printing in a conventional darkroom on Ilfochrome Classic paper. This paper is made for prints from transparencies. It is very high gloss, has excellent color rendition and has excellent longevity. At the same time, the required processing is not too complicated and is well suited for a small darkroom operation. The only drawback is that it requires adequate display lighting to make full use of its long dynamic range. This can be compensated for, with extremely excellent results, by the use of silver masking processes that also enables a refined tonal, color and sharpness control that is not normally believed to be available with color processes.
With the latest advances in digital image processing and printing, I have made a decision to switch over from making prints in the darkroom to making prints using a digital workflow. I now scan my transparencies with a flatbed scanner and process my images on the computer using Adobe Photoshop. What I really like about digital image processing is the flexibility, the ultimate control and the high quality that it provides. It also gives me more creative time with my images than I had working in the darkroom removing the time consumed by setting up for printing and cleaning afterwards.
After image processing, my prints are made with an inkjet printer using Epson Ultrachrome pigmented inks. For my current work, I mostly use Epson Premium Glossy paper for color prints and Epson Premium Luster paper for black and white prints. Some of my future work may end up on matte paper or other types of print media. It all depends on the body of work and on the image at hand. As stated before - no dogma. I will use any methods, processes, techniques and tools available to me that will enable me to achieve the strongest and finest possible print!
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