Vincent Goetz Brings a Painterly Feel to Abstract Photography

Now more than ever, photography careers are shaped by how quickly and clearly you can recognize emerging markets for images. Just ask Vincent Goetz, who recently resumed his photography career after taking a 30-year hiatus from the craft.

This photograph, entitled Steel Navel, actually depicts a bullet hole in rusted sheet metal. (Photo: Vincent Goetz)

Like many of his peers, Goetz developed an interest in photography in high school, bought a lot of equipment, experimented in the darkroom, and considered becoming a commercial photographer. But after doing two shoots, he realized he didn’t want to deal with people telling him what or how to shoot. Nor did he relish the more mundane parts of the business such as a collecting bills, or dealing with talent.

So, he found other ways to support his lifestyle. He worked as a fisherman, grocery clerk, janitor, burger flipper, climber, Yosemite park ranger, bartender, waiter, banker, and consultant. Although he took some photographs as part of the Light Brigade outdoor-education group in Yosemite, he eventually quit photography because he felt that that glass of the lens was getting in the way of real life. As Goetz puts it, “I found myself taking pictures of life rather than living. I was fairly active—surfing, climbing, kayaking, riding motorcycles, skiing, etc. I was always looking for the picture, rather than stopping to enjoy what I was doing.” 

By the time he decided to get back into photography 30 years later, everything had changed. It was all about experimenting with the limits of digital instead of Kodachrome. And although he quickly discovered “the learning curve in digital is immense,” he also immediately recognized that digital opened up endless new possibilities for how the images could be processed and used.

Bringing Creativity to Digital Décor. Currently, Goetz is eager to explore what can be done with images in large office and commercial spaces and on materials such as plaster, aluminum, leather, and non-conventional substrates. He is excited by the fact that digital printing is radically changing our perceptions of what photography can be.

“You can cover a fair amount of wall space and create a certain feeling in a room with an image,” says Goetz. “A painting can only get you so far.” He believes it’s only a matter of time before someone figures out a way to transfer images to wet plaster as a building is being constructed. He can envision how images might look applied both to the interior and exterior walls of buildings.

A Hybrid Style: Goetz characterizes his own style of photography as a hybrid between photography and painting.  Although he does shoot some scenics, he believes that it’s his more abstract images that distinguish him as an artist.  This year, he exhibited his work at the Yuanfen New Media Art Space in Beijing, China and the Gordon Huether’s Hay Barn Gallery in Napa, CA.
Would you ever guess this was a photograph of the surface of an old gas pump? (Photo by Vincent Goetz)

Some of Goetz’s favorite work includes a series of close-up images of the surfaces of old gas pumps that had been exposed to the elements for 70 years or so. The peeling, oxidizing paint reveals a surprisingly rich depth of color and textures. Unless you’ve been told that you’re looking at the weathered metal surface of a gas pump, you’d never guess.

“I like making images that make you think and question what you are seeing,” explains Goetz. “I look for color and texture, and the purity of the image. I also like to see how our eyes are attracted to images and absorb them.” 

Printing on Canvas
: When Goetz first started using Nikon D200 and D300 cameras, he had a friend print his work while he concentrated on learning Photoshop and the basic workflow.  But having worked in the darkroom in high school, Goetz knew he eventually wanted to learn to print his work himself.  With guidance from his printmaker friend and account specialist Darren Vena at LexJet, Goetz has reached the point where he prints nearly all of his own work on the Epson Stylus Pro 7900.

“I am also starting to print for others, which is really fun,” says Goetz. “It’s also a good way to see and understand what other people are shooting.”

He prints some images on LexJet Archival Matte paper because he likes the way that it holds the blacks. But he prints most of his images at 24 x 36 in. on LexJet Sunset Select Matte Canvas.

“I really like printing on canvas,” says Goetz. In addition to shooting and printing images that looks like paintings, Goetz has started studying painting and likes experimenting with different techniques. Similarly, he would love to experiment with printing on non-traditional surfaces, especially now that it has become much easier to make wall-size prints than wall-size paintings. 

For 20 years, Goetz worked as a banker, which might seem to be odd career choice for someone born with the spirit and vision of an artist.  But as a banker, he delighted in helping other people find ways to make their dreams come true. That experience has motivated him to focus on pursuing his own visions as a photographic artist.

“A lot of life has distilled the way I see, and I am constantly intrigued by the abstractness of nature and the environment around us. Having been a banker, I also see the business side of photography and am trying a different model.” says Goetz. 

In October, Vincent Goetz's images were exhibited at the Yuanfen New Media Art Space in Beijing, China.

He would like to create photography that gets people to see differently—to open their eyes and realize that some of the most common things around us are startingly beautiful.  Someday, Goetz would also like to see his work printed very large or on unique substrates, and has started seeking partnerships in the US and abroad that might make that happen.

“I would like to think that some of my images are interesting enough that people look twice at the world around them,” says Goetz. “Sight is such a gift, and to share what we see is even more magical.”

To see more of Goetz’s photography, including images shot during his recent trip to China, visit his website:

HP Demonstrates New Ideas for Photo Exhibitions

By Eileen Fritsch
Editor, LexJet’s In Focus Newsletter

When I attend photo-industry trade shows for LexJet, I look for new ideas, trends, products, and services that can help professional photographers do more with their wide-format inkjet printers. So I always like to see how the “big-three” printer manufacturers are promoting their products. Last week, I talked about some of Epson’s educational activities related to PDN PhotoPlus Expo (PPE) in New York in October.

Some of the images in Joel Meyerowitz's exhibition were converted into immersive wall graphics that capture the essence of New York City's parks. These images at the entrance to the gallery were printed on an HP Designjet L65500 latex-ink printer.

Today, I want to talk about an exceptional panel discussion that HP organized at PPE to show how photojournalists are redefining themselves now that fewer publications are hiring them for assignments. Entitled New Ideas, New Beginnings, the panel discussion was moderated by Harald Johnson, who wrote the groundbreaking book Mastering Digital Printing.

The panelists included Magnum photographers Thomas Hoepker and Joel Meyerowitz (who are using HP Designjet Z3200 wide-format printers to make their own exhibition prints) and Eileen Gittins, the enterprising photography enthusiast who founded Blurb (which uses HP Indigo digital presses to print hundreds of thousands photo books a year, in quantities as small as one book at a time).

Thomas Hoepker started out by talking about how difficult it has become to make money in stock photography—particularly now that Corbis has a collection of 100 million images, Getty has 60 million images, and iStock Photo has roughly 1.8 million contributors. The good news, he said, is that digital imaging allows photographers to do more things for themselves, such as printing their own exhibitions and collector prints. He said he never really planned to get into fine-art photography or making his own prints. But after he developed a retrospective exhibition of his 40+ year career in photojournalism, he started getting calls from collectors.

Until then, Hoepker had only been using dye-based printers for proofs and comps. But now he uses the HP Designjet Z3200 wide-format inkjet printer to produce the pigment-ink prints he sells to collectors for thousands of dollars each. Like others at the PPE show, Hoepker said inkjet printing has become straightforward enough that you don’t have to become a printing geek to get exhibition-worthy results. He believes that because of the explosion of images online, there is a newfound appreciation for printed images, especially big prints.

Joel Meyerowitz used an HP Designjet Z3200 to make his own prints for an exhibition that runs through March 7 at the Museum of the City of New York.

Next up was Joel Meyerowitz, who talked about how he used an HP Designjet Z3200 to print all 75 of the 40 x 50-in. and 30 x 40 in. images displayed in his new exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. Entitled Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks, the exhibition displays the best of the 3,000 images Meyerowitz shot during three-year project to document the remaining pockets of “wilderness” in the 29,000 acres of parks in New York’s five boroughs.

To give exhibition visitors the sense they are entering the natural world in New York, some of Meyerowitz’s images of trees and rivers were printed as big as 9 x 12 ft. using HP’s new Designjet L65500 latex-ink printer. These oversized prints were installed as “immersive graphics” on the walls and floors of the exhibition’s entryway. Meyerowitz said he was skeptical at first at how well his images would look when output on a printer used for commercial graphics, but said he was pleasantly surprised by the quality.

Along with the exhibition prints, Meyerowitz worked with the Aperture Foundation to produce a limited-edition boxed set that includes a coffeetable book about the Legacy project, a limited-edition book about the Hallett Nature Sanctuary in Central Park printed on an HP Indigo 5500 digital press, and a pigment-ink print output on an HP Designjet Z3200. Each print and limited-edition book is numbered and signed by Meyerowitz. The collector’s “boxed set” represents a new concept for selling art prints in conjunction with photo books.

Meyerowitz’s boxed set used a concept similar to the one introduced by the three artists of the Digital Atelier in HP’s booth at the Print 09 show. The Digital Atelier boxed set combined a book about their pioneering work in digital printmaking, along with limited-edition prints that had been produced with a variety of HP’s aqueous, solvent, and UV-curable ink printing technologies.

The final panelist was Eileen Gittins who said when she founded Blurb in 2001 she envisioned it primarily as a way for consumers to print small quantities of professional-looking photo books. Since then, Blurb has become extremely popular with professional photographers. She said many pro photographers are using books not only as portfolio books, but also to promote their work with fan clubs and social causes. For example, if you use social networking to build a community of fans for your photography, you can publish a Blurb book and sell it through your own blog and website. Blurb lets you set your own price for a book and keep all of the profits.

Photographers who serve  as the official photographer for special events often publish books and sell them on Blurb. Gittins says this can be a great way for young photographers to gain national exposure and attract their “natural audience”—people who are enthusiastic and passionate about the same subjects and causes they are. Some photographers are gaining nationwide recognition by creating photo books to promote a cause, then donating the proceeds to charity.

After the presentation was over, it was clear that the panelists had succeeded in encouraging the audience to thnk differently. The panelists had conveyed two important messages:

  • Just because today’s markets for professional photography aren’t the same as they once were doesn’t mean that there aren’t real opportunities to build a career for yourself as a photographer.
  • Now that digital printing technologies have replicated (or exceeded) the printing methods used in the past, the time has come to start exploring how digital-printing technologies can be used to do create photo products and presentations that were never practical before.

Note that if the idea of creating immersive graphics for your next photo exhibition intrigues you, call one of the account specialists at LexJet at 800-453-9538.

In addition to teaching pro photographers how to print their own work, the tech-support team at LexJet has taught literally thousands of photo labs and printing businesses how to use their wide-format inkjet printers to create all types of graphics, including wall murals, floor graphics and window graphics. If you’d rather not make big graphics yourself, we can refer you to printing companies in your area that can.

What’s the Future of Imaging?

6SightFutureofImagingUndertstanding what’s next for imaging is important for anyone who earns a living from visual communications, because rapid advances in imaging technologies can either profoundly disrupt existing business models or create exciting new opportunities. Helping imaging businesses remain aware of emerging technologies is a key goal of the 6Sight Future of Imaging Conference Nov. 10-12 at the Monterey Conference Center in Monterey, CA.

6Sight Conference Chair Alexis Gerard
6Sight Conference Chair Alexis Gerard

In a video on the 6Sight website, conference chair Alexis Girard notes that over the past 20 years, four linked building blocks—computers, image capture devices, the Internet, and wireless telecommunications—have profoundly changed how we all capture and use images.

Together, these linked building blocks have enabled everyone to use visuals in all of our personal and business communications, and in every aspect of our lives. But, Gerard notes, “This infrastructure isn’t static. The more it grows and develops, the more opportunity it creates.”

Here are some of the topics that will be discussed at the 6Sight event:

Computational Photography: Whereas digital photography is essentially an electronic version of film photography, computational photography exploits plentiful low-cost computing and memory with new kinds of digitally enabled sensors, optics, probes, smart lighting and communication to capture information far beyond a simple set of pixels. It promises a richer, multi-layered visual experience that may include depth, fused photo-video representations, or multispectral imagery.

The latest developments in computational photography will be presented by Ramesh Raskar, head of the Camera Culture research group at the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Raskar says, “I believe we are on the cusp of significant technical and conceptual changes in how we view and practice imaging.”

3D Imaging: Now that Hollywood is moving aggressively into 3D movies, TV manufacturers are rushing to offer 3D-capable screens to bring that content home. At the same time, major technology advances are revolutionizing 3D image capture and lenticular printing. Speakers from Fujifilm, THX, Adobe and HumanEyes and other industry experts will discuss the challenges and opportunities related to bringing 3D into the consumer mainstream.

For example, now that 3D imaging capabilities are available in Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and being taught at conferences such as Photoshop World, will more professional photographers and artists start exploring its creative possibilities? Lenticular artist Bonny Lhotka will discuss some of the thought processes that go into creating 3D artwork, citing examples from a collection of her lenticular art prints that will be displayed at the Monterey Conference Center’s Alvarado Gallery.

Artist Bonny Lhotka has already produced 3D and motion prints for office and spa décor projects. Shown here is an image that will be displayed in the Alvarado Gallery.
Artist Bonny Lhotka has already produced 3D and motion prints for office and spa décor projects. This is one of the prints that will be featured in the Conference Center gallery.

The Rise of the Amateur: Thanks to better cameras and continuing improvements in the ability to share and sell images online, what was once a niche amateur photography market is exploding into a mass-market for personal expression. A panel of industry executives will discuss challenges and opportunities for monetizing amateur content.

On-Demand Printing Opportunities: Rick Smolan, who created the Day in the Life and America 24/7 books will report on “The Obama Time Capsule,” his experiment in which every photo book is different for every book buyer.  And imaging technology expert Scott Brownstein will talk about “Bridging the Gap to the New Output Opportunity,” focusing on some of the technology challenges that must be solved in order to enable mass-market, image-rich document creation and production

The Future of Photography: Large-format landscape photographer and digital imaging pioneer Stephen Johnson will help conference attendees envision the future of photography. He will talk about the digital cameras of tomorrow, the future of digital imaging, and the broad possibilities of photography itself. 

The complete program is posted on the 6Sight website.

If some of the topics discussed at 6Sight seem a bit esoteric, Alexis Gerard raises one other point in his online video: It’s only been 7 or 8 years since the first commercial camera phone hit the market. All you have to do is look at your iPhone to realize how quickly new imaging technologies can develop and reshape business opportunities.

The 6Sight Imaging Conference is organized by Future Image, PMA, and AIE, the Association of Imaging Executives.  Most of the content is geared toward executives of companies that develop imaging hardware and software. The more practical business opportunities and marketing implications of some of the emerging technologies discussed at the 6Sight conference are usually examined in more detail at sessions at the PMA and DIMA (Digital Imaging Marketing Association) Conferences held in the spring.  The 2010 DIMA Conference will be held Feb. 20-21 in Anaheim, CA, followed by the 2010 PMA Conference and Trade Show Feb. 21-23.

New Recycled Inkjet Paper Weaving Joins Other Green Art at Josh Mitchell Gallery

River of Water of Life by Josh Mitchell and Macklin Rice
River of Water of Life by Josh Mitchell and Macklin Rice

By Bill Weiser

The newest addition to the exhibit of art made from recycled inkjet materials at The Art Station in Springfield, MO is entitled River of Water of Life.  Created by artists Josh Mitchell and Macklin Rice, the 16-ft. piece is made from hundreds of inkjet-printed test strips saved from more than 60 different fine-art photography projects.

The strips were chromatically grouped and hand woven through a wire framework in a way that suggests flowing river currents. To further evoke a sense of motion and nature, the mounted artwork is viewed with a time-lapse video projection of clouds moving across the horizon.

River of Water of Life made its public debut at an event at The Art Station on Friday, Aug. 7.  The new piece joins Rhythm & Hues and Hanging Cartridges, which were described in a previous Studio LexJet post: Art Exhibit Uses Recycled Photo Printing Materials. According to Mitchell, the exhibit at The Art Station is being expanded to help encourage the community to “Get away from the throw away!”

He adds that “This manner of creating art is a trend that some photographers and designers are employing to promote the use of low-tech processes that have a minimal impact on the natural environment.” The art reinforces a fundamental principle of recycling: We all must look at all the stuff we might ordinarily discard and figure out new ways to re-use it.

MitchellRiverProjCrowdJosh Mitchell was thrilled by the size of the crowd that showed up at the event at which the piece was unveiled. He says he has received several phone calls from other organizations that want to display the “green art.” 

Personally, I think Josh’s art is some of the most creative that I have seen.  It is not only good to look at, but great for the environment as well. Hopefully, work such as Josh’s will remind us to think more about the future of the environment. His work also makes us realize that “Art is all around us. It is just a matter of piecing it together.”

For the latest information about what LexJet is doing to promote more sustainable solutions, visit The Environment section of our website.





Ansen Seale’s Slit-Scan Photography Reveals Hidden Realities

By Bill Weiser

River of Light by Ansen Seale
River of Light by Ansen Seale

Just as a microscope or telescope allows us to see things that aren’t visible to the naked eye, the slit-can camera created by photographer Ansen Seale allows us to view everyday objects in a whole new way. Instead of recording a single moment in time, Seale’s slit-scan camera records objects over a period of time.

The slit-scan camera that Seale has been using for the past 10 years is a modified version of a camera originally designed to shoot high-resolution panoramas. For panorama shooting, the camera rotates on a platform and methodically captures one pixel column at a time.  For slit-scan photography, the motor controlling the rotation is disabled. The camera continues shooting a single sliver of space in rapid succession. Counter to classical photography, unmoving objects look blurry, and moving objects are rendered clearly.

In March of this year, Seale produced River of Light, a 100-ft. long backlit print that he displayed at Luminaria 2009: Arts Night in San Antonio. The image depicted water flowing over the unmoving rocks at the bottom of the San Antonio River. With slit-scan photography, the stones at the bottom of the river appear as stripes. Seale says, “The water flowing over them perturbs their static image, creating a kind of color-field painting.”  The reflection of the trees on the river’s edge added to the painting-like effects.

Instead of mirroring the world as we know it, Seale believes his camera records a hidden reality. He points out that that the apparent ‘distortions’ in the images all happen in-camera, as the image is being recorded.

“There is no Photoshop manipulation,” says Seale. “These distortions could really be described as a more accurate way of seeing the passage of time, even though it may be contrary to our tradition concepts of the depiction of time and space in art. In other words, my camera is recording a reality that exists, but one that we cannot see without it.”

The gigantic print, made from a 1.2 GB file, consumed an entire 42 in. x 100-ft. roll of LexJet’s 7-mil Absolute Backlit film. It was output on a Canon iPF8000 printer.

To display the print, Seale used electrical conduit to build 26 stands of different heights. He placed the stands about 4 ft. apart. Then he strung together fluorescent strips and hooked them onto the stands to provide the backlighting. Displaying the art on the different-sized stands made the print look more like a gently rolling river.

This wasn’t the first large print Seale has produced to showcase the hidden realities revealed by slit-scan photography. In 2006, he produced a 11 in. x 56 ft. image entitled Insectinsight.  The image was printed on 67 ft. of photo paper that was wrapped around the four walls of Gallery IV at the Blue Star Arts Space in San Antonio. You can learn more about this work and other works produced through slit-scan photography at Ansen Seale’s website,

The 100 ft.-long River of Light artwork was only displayed for one night, but Seale would love to find a more permanent home for it.

Displaying your images on backlit film can showcase the vibrant, rich colors and details of your work. For tips on printing on backlit film, call a LexJet account specialist at 888-873-7553.

Book Presents Tips for New Sellers of Art Photography

By Eileen Fritsch

RyderBigBookCompared to the number of books that have been published on digital photography and Photoshop, relatively few books have been written on inkjet photo printing. Even fewer guides have been published about how to mat, mount, and frame inkjet prints for display in an exhibition or gallery.

That’s why I was intrigued by a self-published book entitled: The Big Picture: Taking Your Photography to the Next Level. Many of the mounting, framing, and marketing tips featured in the book will be well-known to photography pros who have been selling their work for a long time.

But this book was written by Eric Zachary Ryder, a self-taught photographer in California who recently spent thousands of dollars and hours making the journey from hobbyist to professional photographer. He now sells his work for a solid profit and has a permanent presence in a well-regarded gallery in the Napa Valley and several other venues.  

He admits that he wasted a lot of money because “I didn’t understand the business. I invested in the wrong frames, mats, glass, etc. I also took forays that I shouldn’t have: shortcuts, cheaper materials, and paying someone else to do work that I could have done myself if I’d only known how.”

“It’s funny how you don’t think of ‘production’ when you think of selling your work, but it’s extremely important,” observes Ryder. “It’s not just a matter of simply having nice images; it’s presenting them in a way that is appealing, yet inexpensive to produce.”

Until he was invited to sell his prints in the gift shop of a local winery, he says he hadn’t ever given much thought to issues such as matting, mounting, framing, and marketing.  The information he found from various online sources was confusing at best.

So now that he’s successfully selling his work, Ryder decided to publish the techniques that have worked best for him.  He explains how to mat, mount, and frame 8 x 10 and 16 x 20 prints and discusses topics such as finding your style, creating title cards, pricing your prints, buying print racks, and transporting your work.  The book includes links to sources of the products he has used, including mats, gallery description card holders, art cases, print racks, and shipping tubes.

Ryder says some of the biggest mistakes he made were in choosing the wrong frames and mats: “Getting the whitest mat is critical—at least for my work. But there are a zillion ‘whites’ out there.” Here are a few of his tips on matting the framing: 

Try to standardize on a few print sizes so you can buy mats in volume and at a discount.

Use a mat width (border) that is appropriate for your print size.  “Any prints bigger than 11 x 14 in. should have a mat width of 4-1/2 to 5 in. on all sides,” advises Ryder.  “Prints smaller than 11 x 14 should have a mat width of 2-1/2 in. or less.  I use a 1-1/2 in. mat width for 5 x 7 in. prints, and 2-3/4 in. for 11 x 14-in. prints.”

For black-and-white prints, use black frames with white mats. “When I experimented with other options, the frames looked great, but too many people already had walls full of black-and-white prints with black frames and white mats,” says Ryder. “Adding one of my framed prints to their collection would mess things up.”

Sign the mats—in pencil. “I tried all kinds of things to avoid ruining the clean lines of an unsigned mat,” says Ryder. “ It turns out that people like signatures on the mats. I tried putting a white border on the photo itself and digitally titling and numbering the picture in Photoshop. This wasn’t good for large pictures, because as one client said it looked like a poster.  But I found that it was actually good for 11 x 14-in. prints in a 16 x 20-in. mat.”

Consider using metal frames instead of wood. “Metal frames these days are quite nice, and hold up very well,” says Ryder. “They don’t require any special equipment to assemble and you save quite a bit of money by doing the frames yourself.”

You can view sample pages and a table of contents on Ryder’s website and order it as either a printed book or an e-book.

I don’t know if Ryder ever came to LexJet for advice during his journey from hobbyist to professional. But if he had, a LexJet account specialist could have helped him save time and money. In addition to setting him up with a great pro-model inkjet printer and efficient, cost-effective workflow, LexJet could have shown him some of the products in the Framing Made Easy collection.

LexJet’s community of customers includes hundreds of self-taught photographers who print their own work and sell it at art fairs and galleries.  When a LexJet account specialist learns about something that worked well for one customer, they take note of it and recommend it to other customers who may be facing similar issues.  We also routinely publish artwork-production, display, and marketing tips in LexJet’s In Focus newsletter.

To talk to an account specialist, call LexJet at 888-873-7553. Or, subscribe to LexJet’s In Focus newsletter.