Electronic Fine Art Displays

- - The Future

This is a guest post by Olivier Laude.

I have been staring at hi-res scans of my 8×10 work on my Apple 30″ inch LCD display for a number of years now and wondering why the same displays have not yet been made to accommodate large display sizes. Thin museum quality LCDs, LEDs or better yet, OLED displays to display our work in larger sizes, 40 x50, 60×50 and bigger….

Anyone who has had the pleasure of watching a well mastered Blu-ray disc on a good quality 1080P HD screen will come off the experience a better man or woman and wonder why this technology is not being put to good use in the world of photography. I am convinced that there is a large market for high end electronic displays where photographers and other artists can show their work in a way that completely bypasses the “Print”. Personally, I have been very frustrated by the process, one fraught with difficulties, work flow hick ups, expense and many other such issues which crop up when faced with the task of producing large prints for gallery or museum display.

Often the end product is nice enough, or close enough to my creative intentions, but the greatest frustration is that the last step in the making of images is left to a printer (not to me), and to one who may or may not care about my real intentions. The limitations of their technology, skills, experience, and increasingly scarce geographical locations often prevent or limit my creative choices, not to mention the cost of a C-41 printer.

I work very hard to produce an image which pleases me, but I often find myself frustrated by that last step…a final step many photographers struggle with: The exact and brilliant reproduction and display of one’s work. Even-though, the print has served us well for well over a 150 years, I believe it is time to explore and demand that a niche market of high end large flat screen displays be developed for the photography market.

My original idea was to use 16:9 ration LCD TVs but the aspect ratio does not fit the average aspect ratio of many cameras(8×10, 4×5. 6×7 etc…). This led me to believe that there would be a market for high end LCD or OLED flat panel displays for fine art photographers, as well as other artists who might wish to display their work in a format other than regular TV panoramic formats. The ability to buy a high end barebones display, that is one without broadcast tuner or other electronic components needed to display moving images, would open a new medium for display and appreciation of photography as a whole.

Many photographers, unlike myself, did not grow up with film and digital cameras and have become very adept at manipulating and producing digital photographs and other works of art. These growing communities do not seek out the traditional print and to date, contents themselves to viewing their work on PC screens and on the internet. A new product catering to their needs, and to mine would be extremely successful and well received by a new, as well as older generation of photographers and visual artists.

The ability to frame this display with conventional frames, as well as sophisticated and functional color, contrast and multiple viewing interface (contrast, luminosity, back lighting, etc..) would render this product a versatile and more easily accepted new format. For example, the photographer might wish to approximate the look and feel of a C-print which could be achieved, as well as many other results.

A photoshop compatible display, one easily calibrated with common and sophisticated ICC profiles would go a long way to express the photographer’s vision, as well as provide him or her with a versatile, cheaper, more user friendly and better adapted product than the traditional C41 print. This display would be a sharper, more detailed version of their digital original.

I am convinced that this generation of photographers, as well as subsequent ones will demand a product better attuned to their digital abilities and aptitudes, not a product which is becoming increasingly scarce, expensive and monolithic. A product found only in major metropolitan areas, but who’s market share is shrinking and becoming more difficult to purchase and review. Most photographers who print for a gallery, home or institutional display do so long distance or through Fed-ex, a process which is rife with expensive reviews, slow and archaic.

There are many types of displays but personally I think the OLEDs are starting to look increasingly like the display to be. Their contrast aspect ratios are extraordinary, as well as their incredible thinness. Samsung’s latest 40″ OLED TV is an astounding piece of technology and produces a brilliantly sharp and amazingly detailed image, one much closer to what I am used to when I stare at my 8×10 commercial drum scans. Another interesting technology which to some degree is still in its infancy are E-readers(electronic paper). These albeit small displays have a very interesting way to mimic the book page and a visually tactile texture which I personally would like to see incorporated into larger color or black and white electronic display technology.

To conclude, here are other potential uses for Electronic Fine Art Display (EFADs, just made that up):

1-Ability to wirelessly control the content of the display. For, an artist or photographer might upload and change a show over a period of time by adding or removing work over a network.
2-The same principle could apply to a collector who might wish to “subscribe” to an artist’s work and receive a photography subscription. New images would be uploaded based on a specific delivery contract with galleries, musems and collectors.
3-Work would be sold and downloaded in any number of electronic formats and uploaded into the display. Some high end TVs allow the user to transfer their family photos to their screen for viewing but a more high end and flexible system would be easily devised to allow the artist or photographer to fine tune the image on a screen or allow for laptop and PC connectivity.
4-Imagine a show of 40x50s or 50x60s and larger EFADs in a darkened room, gallery or museum setting. Personally I cannot imagine a more impactful way to display my personal work.
5-Re-usable. Price wise these displays might cost more up front than a typical print but large, archival quality frames are extremely costly; making a EFAD competitive and attractive.
6-Matt and glossy screens…and even touch screen technology.
7-…..I am purposely leaving this list short and open sourced as I think it would be best if my fellow photographers and artists could add their own ideas and suggestions. An open source submission will make for far more ideas and suggestions, as well as other concepts than I could possibly come up with. Some of you might well be far more technologically inclined than I am and that knowledge might lead this idea to further developments, as well as serve as a way to push this concept on manufacturers and make this dream a possibility somewhere down the line. Have at it…the discourse will create its own weather and further refine this burgeoning concept.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_display_technology
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_light-emitting_diode
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/06/blackandwhite_ebooks/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_paper
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contrast_ratio

There Are 104 Comments On This Article.

  1. Like the old backlit DuraTrans displays – totally captivating.

    Also doubles as a mechanism to comment on the technology used to sidplay the work, adding another potential layer into the work itself.

  2. One sculptor friend has been selling his video installations to collectors on dvd for a few years. Presumably the collector will display the installation on their wide, large huge screen tv.

  3. Bel Dev Duggal, yes Mr. Duggal of the photo Lab fame,
    Has been working with others to develop this new type of thin panel and thin film technology.
    I first saw an 11×14 example of this back in 2003 during a meeting with him.
    As he stated this would allow for advertising displays to be affixed to the surface of any wall and appear to be part of it.
    And it would also be flexible enough to wrap around a concrete pillar or up right subway support.
    At the time he said the technology was only 5 years away. Brightmess and color rendition were the only issues holding it back.

  4. This is old news.

    We have all been talking about this for over 2 years and watching the development of PHOLED and the like. Many of us are waiting and ready to explode into digital fine art displays.

    We are all going to use digital fine art displays and have been following along in the technological developments accordingly. I certainly hope you dont think this was ‘your idea’? Because I am afraid you are very late to the intellectual party on this one…

    It is also about the expansion of the photographers domain from mere static digital fine art to short film digital fine art too.

    It is the slow beginnings of the “15 seconds or less digital fine art display” age.

    Good post though.

  5. I look at a backlit screen all day long. Whether that’s a computer, a phone, a television, or increasingly, advertisements; on buses, subways, and billboards.

    It’s a relief to look at a beautiful print. A print makes the photograph an art object. An electronic display is practically ephemeral. Once you tire of the file, you will simply replace it with another one.

    Personally, I appreciate a good print now more than ever in our digital world. If your frustration is not being able to get a good print, I’d be happy to recommend an amazing fine art printer.

  6. When I said it looks like the future to me I didn’t mean to imply that I don’t value and cherish the print or for that matter printed books. I love those things but I do think that the new technology will make a huge impact.

  7. I drool at the thought of my work being displayed in a blacked out gallery on 42″ flat panels. I absolutely drool. Looked into it once…it was a logistical and costly nightmare.

    @ Raymond Adams: It is beautiful to look at an exquisite print, but I disagree that the print alone makes the photograph an art object. Perhaps in the far distant future there will be sales of Famous photographers hard drives just as there are sales of Famous Painters sketchbooks with never seen before works of art? Will the winning bidder of Witkin’s Hard Drive print each image or just show the files in a slideshow on a flat screen in his den?

    • @the cinemascapist, There are hard drives for sale right now. The Chelsea gallery scene has been doing that for nearly five years now. For instance the work of Jennifer Steinkamp (sp?).

  8. @james I had not heard about Duggal doing this but it sounds like a very difficult thing to do if you are not Samsung or Sony but it certainly is a great effort and one I hope its succeeds. I would be the first to buy it…

    Yes, displays are everywhere but until very recently they frankly sucks and to some degree still do, especially if you want to display the kind of work I would wish to show. Regardless, I am sure this will take on at some point and if done with good taste would make for amazing stuff…the commercial market, which often adopts technology before professionals do already has, those little photo-frames are cheap and ugly but a “pro” version will happen I believe and once you see a 50×60 hi-res 1/4 inch display on a gallery wall, with great stuff in the display, I am sure you will just shake in your boots. If you have ever seen Jeff Wall’s work you might see what I mean in a way. His work is framed in giant light-boxes but I am sure that if he had had the technology, he might have had gone straight to the EFAD store and bought a few dozens…

    As for prints and I am sure have a long life ahead of them, yes they are great but I for one am tired of them, they just do not cut it anymore. The fine art display is bound to be refined and democratized over the next few years…

    @ dan this might be old news in the sense that you can already do this but do it poorly. Secondly when I called some folks at Samsung to ask talk to them about this they had never had the request or even discussed it besides one request by a very well know museum in NYC asking them to develop a 4×3 aspect ratio display to replace old ones…beyond that the manufacturers think it’s new news….The rest of us don’t matter. I have had this idea years ago to but discussing it it is irrelevant, putting it out there is the first step towards hopefully getting their attention and making it happen….

    @portcullis stripper are coming…mid July…
    @alex..there lots of lisdexia in me….

  9. @stephen yes video artists have been doing this for a long time but LCD displays are perfect for them, what I am talking about here is a very different display. One that works for us..! 16:9 does not cut it for most of the image formats we use, not do I wish to have a glossy black frame around my work, nor do I want letter boxing cropping my work….

  10. I look at “prints” on my high end digital displays all day, every day. When I go to a gallery, I want to see a physical print–not another digital representation of an image.

    Although I can appreciate why a digital display is attractive to photographers who want to show their work, I don’t think that the viewer will appreciate the work in the same way.

  11. I hate it.

    Im not putting my work on a digital screen in a gallery…

    What does it for me in photography is having a print.
    Holding it in your hand.
    Having a tangible product.
    Being able to step back and appreciate your work.

    What, am I expected to sell a disc of images to someone to load in their blu-ray player and display like a cheap screen saver?

    Will print makers and painters be forced to have high res dupes of their work so people can “subscribe” to a feed of their work.

    Jeff Wall’s work is as close to this as I wanna see. There is something nice about the back lit duratrans. That gives another dimension to an image.
    Not all work will benefit from such.

  12. SB Digital Gallery in NYC has totally embraced this concept- its exhibitions feature work from photographers that rotates through, slide-show style on giant HD Flat screen TVs. And it works. If anyone cares to see how, stop by this Saturday the 27th from 5-8PM. There’ll be an opening cocktail reception for my solo show, “Subversions.” 125 E. 4th Street (between 1st and 2nd avenues).

    I LOVE printed media, the tangible object and Rob Greer I agree, the viewer will appreciate the work differently, albeit not necessarily less…

  13. @rob I knew this would crop up but if this is done right and done well I think you would be impressed and hopefully would change your mind. Photographers need more ways to display their work, not the same old way to make an impact and besides the fact that I am surrounded with large, framed prints of my work and that I love the end product, I still yearn to have a way to move forwrd and show my work the way a drum scan of an 8×10 neg have made me look at my work anew…and that’s digital…

  14. “the greatest frustration is that the last step in the making of images is left to a printer (not to me)”

    Surely if you have a properly calibrated 30″ Apple display, and the correct profiles, you can control the final step yourself ?

    >
    I am a bit puzzled as to where the actual costs of these screens will be defrayed. I am guessing you want to sell your pictures, and buying an EFAD is not going to compare favorably to the price of even the best print in the world. If you sell a print, then it is up to the buyer to get it framed. Do you expect the collectors to have EFADs and then pay some kind of licensing for the files to run on them ? Would these files be editioned ? Would they have anti-copying software on them ? Would you be able to make the same margins that you would make on an edition of 5 prints ?

    For a show, if you want to show 20 pieces, would you 20 screens ? Or would you just have one screen, with effectively a slideshow of the work ? This might look a little sparse in a gallery that could hold 20 prints, or be prohibitively expensive if you wanted 20 screens. Another problem with anything digital is that the technology gets outdated so fast. A huge investment in an EFAD is going to be passe fast.

    Perhaps for a Jeff Wall or an Andreas Gursky, selling in White Cube for $500,000 a pop it could work, but for anyone selling much under these prices I can’t see it yet. Following the commercial ad display world is what they did with lightboxes and diasec (and Eggleston before them with dye transfer) so I guess it’s not impossible to see this happening if the advertisers invent the technology and make it widespread. But this seems like a very expensive display technology, in the way that producing a dye-transfer or a lightbox or a diasec photograph isn’t.

    I tend to agree that many images look really great on a great screen, but then they can also look great as projected slides, or great prints, or lightboxes.

    I’ll leave it there for the moment.

    RDP

  15. Here is an example: this is a “screen shot, command, shift, 3 of a file of mine at 66.7% on my 30″ display. The original image was shot with an 8×10 field camera on Kodak 160VC, scanned on a high end flat bed scanner. The original full size image is 12706X15821 at 300 dpi…..40×50 image…I used it to print a 40×50 print and I can tell you the print looses life, on my display it’s just astounding…
    ….go to this URL and click on the image to enlarge it, at least Safari does this, and look at it on you screen, if it is well calibrated and reseanably large, you might get the a general idea of what I would like to go…This all works on my set up and hopefully it will on yours…

    http://www.olivierlaude.com/Picture%201.png

  16. this is a genius idea! any galleries already stepped in? i will defiantly try to get galleries in london to go there!!!
    it’s the future.
    perfect perfect genius idea

    and i love your photos as well… so funny!! :)))))))

    ben

  17. FWIW, Julian Opie (who’s an artist, not a photographer) uses lcd displays for some of his work.

  18. It reminds me a bit of the sixties when people thought in the future everybody will only eat pills and not real food.

    • Sergey Molotov

      @Werner,

      fully agree.

      and let’s not forget the hi-tech gurus in the ’80 claiming in the future we would speak and write in BASIC.

  19. Guest Commenter

    Olivier:

    I know I’m sounding like an old man on a park bench with his drool cup, but to me, this is just adding to the commoditization of photography. (If that’s a word). Totally interchangeable art. Reminds me of that story about Bill Gates building his house, with hi-def screens on the walls, for art, and when he got tired of one, he’d just changed it out.

    Can we make a deal that any images shot on film, or prior to say 1998, would be banned from being shown on these electronic Kindles? Can we just have some respect for older images? I just don’t wanna see Moonrise Hernandez at 30×40 at 72dpi. I just don’t.

    I know the whole world is headed toward what you’re talking about. Witness those cheesey LCD frames that you buy, to sit beside your bed. When you break up with Boyfriend #3, then just hit “Next”, and he goes away forever.

    And if someone walks in and buys one of these from Yossi Milo, does he take home the actual physical 30″ monitor, or just the written contract, and a DVD, to legally display the image inside his home for X number of years?

    Trying to get excited about this. Sorry, just can’t. Photography is not a Commodity.

    • Say It Ain't So

      @Guest Commenter,

      “Photography is not a Commodity.”

      In the editorial world, I beg to differ.

      • Guest Commenter

        @Say It Ain’t So,

        I know, I know. You are correct. I just want to lie to myself and say it ain’t so.

        A man can dream.

        But you’re right — just go to Getty or Corbis, or for that matter, most any fine art gallery, and you see that, in the end, photography certainly IS a commodity.

    • @Guest Commenter,
      You buy one and it comes with one photograph hand calibrated by the photographer. Why not. And just for photographers who make pictures specifically for this medium and sell them in editions so they gain value. It only becomes a commodity when you put it on coffee cups, calendars and turn it into a screen saver for mass consumption. Instead of selling 5000 screen savers for a buck sell one electronic display for 5000 bucks.

      • @A Photo Editor,
        This might work for a few photographers who make pictures specifically for this medium and somehow implement the medium into the whole concept. But there are other problems to take into concideration. Collectors are highly suspicious of the longevity of the art works they buy. No one wants to spend 20’000 for an lcd display and a computer (let’s not forget the computer) if he doesn’t have a guarantee that he’s still the owner of the piece if he leaves it in a storage space for 10 years and the electric parts corrode.

      • @A Photo Editor,
        “hand calibrated by the photographer”
        This doesn’t really mean anything. Either the screen is calibrated, or it isn’t. It would need to be recalibrated from time to time as well.

        • @robert p,
          Photographer sets the profile based on what they want the image to look like. Obviously the screen would calibrate itself monthly.

          • Debra Weiss

            @A Photo Editor,

            Rob – the profile simply defines the parameters of the image. Accurate profiles are needed in order to have a color managed workflow. They are not based on what you want the image to look like.

            Re – the self calibrating monitor – maybe in an alternate universe, but here on earth it doesn’t work that way, At least not yet.

            • @Debra Weiss,
              whatever. my point is that the photographer is involved in how the image looks on the actual screen you are buying. This can be done a number of ways.

                • @Steven Rood,
                  Damien Hurst had to saw a new shark in pieces after the other one turned to rot. Just because you don’t have all the answers doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

                    • @Steven Rood,
                      sure, yes most people don’t have the balls to take a chance on something unproven. that’s how the magazine business is run. protect your investment/retirement account. let someone else fail.

                    • @A Photo Editor,

                      1) You’re comparing apples to kiwis.

                      2) An image in a magazine will last longer than one on a 50″ OLED monitor.

                    • @Steven Rood,
                      I will happily show you the people who said it couldn’t be done in any business you can name, including apples and kiwis.

                    • @A Photo Editor,

                      Uh huh. And you still can’t make me buy a $20,000 image that can only be displayed on a custom configured wall mounted display that will be obsolete in 3 years.

                      Spin again.

                    • @Steven Rood,
                      I don’t think obsolesence of technology means much with art works. And the problems that arise with such an electronic display technology don’t necessarily mean that it can’t/shouldn’t be done or that no one is going to buy it. As APE pointed out, Damien Hirsts Sharks are all rotting internally. Not only that but he also doesn’t have many spare sharks left in his fridge and that specific kind of shark is now protected so it can’t be killed anymore. (Or so I hear)

                      Anyways, I don’t doubt that it can and will be done but unless there are some serious advantages or conceptual reasons for using an lcd people are still going to ask “Why not just print”? Or why not just use a light box? Not only easier but also much higher resolution.

                      The one thing I absolutely don’t buy in to is that this way of presenting ones work is any easier than printing. That’s just not true.

                  • @A Photo Editor, but the guy had spent $8,000,000 on the shark…..

                    I get where you are coming from with the idea that the photographer decides how the image looks, but the reality is that this is exactly what happens anyway with a print. If Olivier wants to do this so that it looks like it does on his screen, he just has to hit “save” and then make sure that the EFAD it is going to be displayed on is also calibrated.

                    The Espon 7900/9900 printers can be bought with spectrophotometers installed and can calibrate themselves automatically, but you need the spectrophotometer, which It would not be not impossible to do, but you would need a dongle to plug in and run on the artwork every now and then unless someone comes up with a way of doing it without a dongle.

                    That would be cool, as you could have your artwork flash up a message saying “The time since the last artwork calibration has exceeded the reminder period, please recalibrate your artwork as soon as possible”.

  20. Photography “is” a commodity no matter how you cut it and thankfully so…but that’s another story. I am of the “nothing is sacred school” but I appreciate your point but personally believe and have experienced that life opens up to you, and so does your work, once and only once we take it lightly and stop “pedestalizing” what we do…

    I am not saying this is the future but another part of it. There is no such thing as “the future” anymore. There are far too many of us working and creating to point in only one direction…All I am saying is that this is just one more exciting way to show work…not, the new “futuristic” and only way… I have no doubt and certainly hope and know that something else will come along and add to the equation in ways we never thought nor expected.

    I also am aware that many photographers and artists might very well be thinking about EFADs as a potential way to display their work. This is a forum to see what information and news can be collected about this idea and so far there has been some very interesting comments pointing us towards what others hare doing or have already done with this idea.
    I could not possibly imagine that I am the first wanker to come up with this, it just does not happen like that anymore.

    Those cheesy LCDs are the cheap commercial version of this idea and like digital cameras those were accepted and used by the masses way before commercial photographers ever really and often reluctantly accepted digital imaging. Personally I still use film for my personal work and digital for all commercial and editorial work. Both are great and have their draw backs and benefits..
    There was a time when photography itself was considered cheesy and snapshots vulgar and crude, we now realize that vernacular photography is some of the greatest photography ever produced…

    I just don’t buy the separation of popular and hight art….it’s just not productive.

    • Guest Commenter

      @olivier laude,

      I just hope that “the framing” comes out of the gallery’s 50% cut, just like the traditional business practices!

  21. Giving the whole thing some more thought I feel that the whole idea is highly flawed and completely disregards how the art market works. There is no real (monetary) value without rarity which is exactly why the fine art photography market has something called print editions.

    Of course you, Olivier, surely know this which is why you propose a sort of subscription model. Granted, there surely is a market for that but I doubt that it’s the fine art gallery* world. It sounds more akin to a regular art-poster shops where you can buy a print of your favourite (cheesy and decorative) photo or painting.

    As I mentioned, Julian Opie (and I’m sure there are others) uses lcd displays for his artwork but there the technology is not just a medium, it’s implemented into the whole concept of the work.

    *when I say gallery I’m talking about Gagosian, White Cube, etc. not your average neighborhood gallery/coffee shop

    • @j., It is a misconception to say that there is no real monetary value (as relates to art) without rarity. Rare in what way? Limited ed. is generally considered in the 25 range–about 12 being even better. Well if 12 of something is printed and you have no market it is no rare. If 12 is printed and you have a 100 people that want it I suppose it would be rare. Warhol’s output was huge, as was Van Gogh’s and Picasso’s. Richard Serra’s work is anything but rare, yet the waiting list is a mile long. Then of course there is the re-sale market–a complete different world. I’m not saying that rarity means nothing–I’m just saying it is not the main point. In my studio right now I’m looking at an automobile tire pulled out of the floods of the Lower 9th. Ward in New Orleans. I would say it is very rare. How much is it worth?

      • @Louis Bickett II,
        Yes, I agree. I wasn’t trying to say that rarity is the sole reason for monetary value in art. Also, rarity might be the wrong word. Like you rightly point out, Warhol’s and Serra’s work was/is extensive but at least in the latter case we’re not talking of a huge number of identical pieces.
        Anyways, I don’t want to start talking about supply and demand because I don’t think that the art market is governed solely by economic principles.
        Still the balance between the number of pieces in an edition and the price is quite a difficult one to maintain and surely an important question for anyone who deals with selling fine art photography.

        What I was trying to say is that if you are only selling the photograph as an object of aesthetic appreciation (as in the subscription model) then you will most likely not be able to demand much more money than a Roy Lichtenstein poster costs. Actually, even less because you are not paying for high quality printing so we’re ultimately in the neighborhood of something like $5. Is that’s the future of fine art photography?

        PS: I will disregard that non sequitur in your last sentence. Just because something is not worth anything unless it’s rare it does not follow that everything rare is worth something.

  22. So,

    - How does a gallery ship a 50″ OLED display to a customer and guarantee optimal performance and longevity that rivals an archival print? Does one have to shell out an additional $7,000 every 3 years per display per image?

    - How does a gallery and/or consumer go about protecting such displays from power spikes and lightning?

    - How does a gallery and/or consumer go about hiding dangling cords from such wall mounted displays?

    - How does a gallery and/or consumer protect such a wall mounted display from falling during an earthquake?

    - Will there be “frame options”?

    - LCD displays should be recalibrated every 3-6 months. Who’s going to recalibrate a high-end OLED wall mounted display? The consumer? The gallery? The photographer?

    - How does one deal with the limitations of available electrical outlets? Is the gallery going to come to my house and rewire my livingroom for all the images I’d like to display?

    - Unless these displays are matte finished, what’s to prevent them from reflecting everything else in a gallery or room?

  23. I’ve just finished installing my first three dimensional show. I can’t believe you guys are still concerned with two dimensional reproduction and presentation. Oh, and in a few months I’ll have the ability to reproduce scent at my installations. It’s going to give my nude series an interesting edge.

  24. @ steve

    -You ship it the same way you ship a T, carefully..and well packaged.

    -the prices are worked out by the gallery, that’s another story all together.

    -these display are already protected, you don’t worry about your TV dispaly blowing up!

    -If someone is going to spend that kind of dough on art work I believe a plug
    and ethernet connection behind the print is not a problem. Regular large prints already need substantial wall modifications.

    - I am not quite sure how to answer the earthquake question given that any natural disasters are good for insurance companies…..

    - an OLED frame is a 1/2 inch thick, already the thickness of a mounted print so any traditional framing is possible….the whole thing could look like a framed print of any kind but “different’.

    -Re-calibration could be done in house easily enough by the owner or remotely by any and all mentioned…

    - Yes, you might need to re-wire but if you are going to spend beaucoup bucks, another outlet is not an issue…

    -Glass frames reflect plenty, same issues apply here but a darkened gallery would lood good. Matt is good but so is glossy…same problems as glass and those anti-reflect glass looks horrible, personal opinion…

    • @olivier laude,
      So, what your saying is because printing is too hard to do, photographers should forget printing and go with technology that can only be afforded by the most wealthy of artists, consumers, and galleries.
      What if I want a 8X10? What about the fact that imaging and electronic media technology changes so often that by the time a gallery, artist, consumer invests in this new display transmission broadcast device it is out dated, obsolete.
      Hell, why even have galleries at all anymore, consumers can just buy images online and upload them to the display of their choice.
      And for that matter, why even have photographers at all. Lets just hire a CGI dude to create what we want to see.

      • @Blue, I am not saying that printing is too hard, it just does not personally turn me on anymore. I want something else. I used to have a great relationship with a great lab here and then they shut down. The best part about having a relationship with a lab is the fact they get you and your needs but that takes a lot of time, money and efforts…
        AS for the obslete question, it is a good one and a concern but at this point this kind of technology is starting to level off and become good enough to please for some time…I am also less concerned about this as I am realizing that I want to not worry about these things too much. I have noticed that the more I expand my “display” horizons, the more I learn and that informs my work and my continued enthusiasm. Look towards the later post and you’ll I am already modulating and willing to change the way I work just to go in a different direction. It seems that these days we cannot just commit to one way of doing things.

        • @olivier laude, How about we all put our heads together and try to come up with a 21st century way to produce something similar to a Woodburytype, but in colour, and involving computers ?

          Now that *would* be interesting.

  25. @rmc displays will I am sure allow 3D representation soon enough…as for scent, everything smells…scratch that, including the lower right hand butt cheek..

  26. @ j there are numerous ways to make this work, a digital edition is no different than a print edition. 10 displays loaded with one image is a physical product…video artist sell their work just fine….with this model..it’s a non issue as far as I am concerned..I am also mainly talking about high end markets. As for the market, it is broad and changing and as future generation live a complete digital life the idea of displaying and buying digital only art work seems perfectly feasible…

  27. Technology may indeed enable this sort of thing, but the humble print has one irrevocable advantage the screen display image cannot match: it does not need electricity to exist.

    • @Tyler, Chicago, you are correct on that one but who knows what they’ll come up with…! regardless, we could not live without it, at least most of us could not imagine a life without, so unless the world crumbles, I think we’ll be enjoying electricity..

  28. Olivier,

    I’ve enjoyed your work all the way back to the 90′s @ Atlas.
    Your latest website images resulted in hot oolong (Kings 919) burns on the inside of my nostrils upon first view, lol :)
    I appreciate the technology of translucent transmitted light imagery (chromes/LCDs). Given your sophistication and perception on culture, I’d like to hear more consideration about how this new technology may be perceived, embraced, or discarded. Exclusivity, commonness, mundane, homogenization, fashionability, context, etc.. These are all essential aspects of communication.

    This technology WILL be embraced from here to Katmandu on a commercial plane. How will this affect the perception, interest, desirability of the content, commodity, and aesthetic? What will set it apart? I posted this here yesterday on another thread. I think it has some bearing here as well:
    http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/mt/archives/2009/06/a_saturday_post.php

    LCD displays will most definitely provide greater perceived (market) value in fine art prints and photography. (I no longer consider digital imaging to be photography. Like cinema it has become it’s own distinct genre). This could open up another niche area for commercial work. Though given the glut of available imagery and stock image components, it may not float all that many more “photographers” boats.

    • @Bob, have to get back on to you on this thoughtfully. I have a renewed appreciation of APE’s daily activities..mucho work keeping up with one entry and juggling everything else in my life…Bob, thanks for the kind compliments…

    • @Bob, interesting comment and the point of this entry is to start that dialogue and see what kind of issues arise beyond the print versus LCD format inevitabilities…I think that ultimately the value of this technology will be embraced when well known or exceptionally gifted artists take it and show us the way. I personally have a vision of how this would advance my work but at this point only when the right aspect ratio is available to be. Not that I cannot shoot for the 16:9 reatio, I certainly can but at this point I am wedded to the old 3:4 aspect ratio. I have thought about this and have not put it into practice yet but will as soon as I am able….

      As for the perception of this technology, I think that one great show by a photographer or artist who understands how to master and control it will do enormous good. Personally I would envision a 25 50×60 OLED works shown is a completely darkened gallery, using the light from the displays to fill the room. Knowing what my work looks like on LCD display, at full resolution, this would be very impactful. Getting there is 99% of the battle, I have to admit….

  29. This is just so cool. Of course this is not a story about the demise of the print. I wait in line at the bank and see LCD’s over the tellers keeping me entertained with their messages along with a snippet of news.

    But you know in a way a transmitted image is much more dazzling than a reflected one. This may be the way to really see that wonder we saw through a lupe. A 21st century Kodachome for display!!!

    • @Paul O’Mara, I have to agree with that as i think that this is the way we see the world biologically speaking, even though eye sight is reflective it is also incredibly rich and varied and better approximates the way transmitted light feels. I for one like transmitted light because it feel so much more natural than reflected light…The problem with reflected light, without the our incredibly processing neuronal system, is such that, reflected…a middle man, so to speak…

  30. Just came back from Best buy where they had a 46′ LED display. Very impressive…one inch thick and retailing for $2099.00. 16:9 aspect ration but hopefully they will start making 3:4 aspect ratios. Go to your local best buy and check it out. Remove the glossy plastic frame in your mind’s eye and emlarge the display by two to three time, bump up the resolution and stick a nice white museum quality frame and voila, you get the picture…

    • @olivier laude,
      I don’t think that’s likely to happen (large 3:4 aspect ratio displays). The trend both in led displays and digital sensors is rather to go wider with 21:9 displays or Phase One’s 65+ back and RED’s hybrid movie/still cameras.
      I guess you have no choice but to stick a 6×12 back on that view camera.

      • @j., you are probably right and as you can see in my comments further down I also believe that the inevitable use of Red cameras et al is the most probable outcome…they even make a 3D camera…

  31. Olivier, you’re on to something. I am not a gallery photographer, but if I had a room full of images glowing like transparencies I might reconsider.

    A digital gallery. Why not!

    I think what’s most exciting is the technology cost. Remember, large LCD’s were in the $thousands a few years ago. I can get a jam up 37 in. HD for $600 bucks at Sam’s. Take the guts out and leave the screen. Humm. All you would need is some sort of profile. Maybe order prints through touchscreen. Paypal gets their cut and … sorry I may be getting ahead of myself.

    I suspect the only downside would be selling a print to match the display. George Jetson walks his dog on a 20th century stairclimber so why not.

    • @Paul O’Mara, Thanks Paul and at this point I think I am going to have to shoot two 8×10 and splice them together to match the 16:9 format..Looks like I have a lot on my plate. Ypu are right about the profile too..

  32. il cinemasista

    I can see this as a new realm altogether. A sort of hi-def decorative fine art photography.

    The niche market is the rich & famous more than the art collector. The type of boutique where John Travolta might purchase a $10,000 dollar chair, I could also see the interest in a $6,000(?) hi-def photo. I’m not sure you even need an edition size. I don’t think the $10,000 chair does?

    This type of clientele might be more receptive to the imagery and it’s uniqueness rather than it’s potential resale or archival quality (and it will make them feel more artsy?). Most of my collectors buy my prints, put them in a vault or archive them away. They (most, not all) have no interest in displaying them or even framing them.

    In my case it also adds to the statement of the work, which is the cultural influence and deception arising from TV, Film, Video Games, et al… so having it displayed on one of those devices is quite complimentary. I can think of several works by others that it would compliment as well.

    This wouldn’t fall into the realm of decorative art because just like the gallery world, artist will be competing to get represented by an interior design agent or say a hi-end boutique.

    Best case scenario is you sell the hi-def decorative fine art to the Travolta types and also continue to sell the prints to the collectors.

    That’s my crazy crystal ball hypothesis.

    The technology isn’t there yet. I would eventually like to see a monitor with the guts stripped and a simple hard drive inside that houses one image and is calibrated specifically for it. The screen would have to be advanced as well, as to not allow the image to burn into the screen after continuous use.

    (afterthought: I photographed Steve Buscemi once and he told me about a video photographer of sorts that does portraits of celebrities with HD video. They sit stationary for about five minutes and it is then played on continuous loop on a screen that is then hung on it’s side, portrait style. He loved it and had one of himself. I may be off on the exact details of this project and I can’t remember his name, but it is a similar concept. Anyone know this project or artist?)

  33. Great. We’ve found a way to be use digital technology to be equally, if not more, environmentally damaging than film.

    Nitrogen Trifluoride!

    • @Jimmy, if properly recycled this kind of technology is perfectly fine. We have to be responsible for our actions and demand the same of manufacturers. We cannot stay idle just because something might be potentially damaging. This kind of way of living is mind numbing, the new American puritanism…I am aware of these issues and there are many ways to counteract our effects on the planet. you know what they are.

    • @Jimmy,

      Have you considered the footprint of “digital technology”? The ease of use and widespread acceptance of digital media requires a huge amount of electricity to view, store, and transfer. How many Mbs of images are uploaded viewed, and transfered on flickr and facebook alone in a day? How much energy does that draw? The speed of obsolescence, along with the current trend of product production (consumables) designed to be used and thrown away is also a big hit to resources both in manufacture and disposal. Back in the day an F1, Hassy, or F-Line would last forever and still be very useful. They are all still useful for photography decades later.

      Certainly it is important to consider the footprint of 40×50 inch high end LCDs produced for limited edition collections – or even advertising. I’d make a guess this footprint will pale next to the widespread adoption of consumer digital technology.

  34. I wanted to thank you all for all the great input and for a greatly informative conversation. I’ll try to synthesize most of this information and draw conclusions on my blog in a few days…
    This was a wonderful way to focus and crystalize a burgeoning idea and getting my colleagues to participate as well as inspire both ways, I hope… Thanks again..!

    • the cinemascapist

      @olivier laude, I’d love to be in the loop on any further developments with this on your end…and vice versa, this post has renewed my interest in the screen presentation. So Thanks to you (and rob) for the post.

  35. A note from the main man at http://www.displayblog.com/ a leading blog on LCD and display technologies:

    ” I think you bring up a good point. For the last couple of years, LCD manufacturers have been focusing mainly on reducing the cost of manufacturing. A side effect of that is that most of the LCDs manufactured are lower-quality TN panels. I think what you are looking for are already being manufactured: medical LCDs. These LCDs are high-performance and the level of quality must be extremely high to meet medical standards. You might want to look at some NEC models that make use of my favorite LCD technology, IPS.”