Engaging the Public with Photo Art on Walls, Paper and Fabric

Eric Mencher Instagram Installation at Photo Lounge

Photojournalist Eric Mencher interprets Instagram a bit differently than most. He sees it for it is – a social media outlet meant to connect – but more importantly as a canvas.

Eric Mencher Exhibit at Photo LoungeMencher’s interpretation of life on Instagram, using an iPhone as the capture device for the exactly 777 photos he rotates through his page, also resides physically at Photo Lounge in Philadelphia.

Ravid Butz of Photo Lounge has a long-standing professional and personal relationship with Mencher. Butz believes that his photo lab should be more than just a place where people can get their photo and fine art work reproduced; it should also reflect Philadelphia’s vibrant art community and make it accessible to its citizens.

So the two long-time partners partnered on an ongoing exhibit of Mencher’s work in Photo Lounge’s lobby printed in various formats with inkjet media.

Eric Mencher Instagram Mural on Print-N-Stick“Eric has a substantial following on Instagram and here in Philadelphia through his work when he was with the Philadelphia Inquirer, and as a local photo artist. He’s very approachable and real and his work feels so ordinary, but is clearly so masterful,” says Butz. “I brought up the idea that we would print his entire Instagram collection and display it up on the wall. At first I thought we would print 777 5x7s and tape them to the wall, but then I started talking to people in the arts community and they said it would be more artistic to arrange them on sheets and use our Epson wide-format printer to print them. That way, it’s more about the art than just 777 print samples.”

Butz enlisted Julie Blaukopf and Alex Peltz to help curate the ongoing exhibition and create a multi-media experience designed to enhance the presentation and engage and engross people in the work.

Inkljet Wall Mural at Photo Lounge“We wanted the show to be relevant to everyone in our community, and not just the art community. We also wanted those in the art community to take notice that Photo Lounge is seriously involved in their world and that we have capabilities that can expand how they present their art,” says Butz. “Additionally, there are pictures taken every day with iPhones and we see tremendous opportunity to bridge that gap to unique printing applications. Everyone knows how to share it through social media, but every day a lot of customers come in and are surprised to find out that we can print from their iPhone. There are a number of ways to bridge them from their phone to us, and we know they make beautiful prints.”

The focal point of the exhibit is a 100″ x 16′ wall mural featuring Mencher’s 777 images printed on LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric. From those images Butz and his collaborators pulled out a number of photos reproduced on Sunset Velvet Rag and Sunset Photo Metallic Paper and mounted with a frame built on the back that stand out from the wall.

Digital Tapestries on LexJet Water-Resistant ClothMoreover, four 2′ x 4′ digital tapestries were created, printed on LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth and hung in the windows. “They look different at different times of the day,” says Butz. “They’re somewhat translucent, so they look stunning from the street at night with the interior lights behind them, and great from the inside during the day with the light shining in from outside.”

The exhibit is ongoing so anyone can walk in and enjoy it, with special events sprinkled in, such as seminars and workshops.

“Our regular customers and passersby are amazed that you can do this; they’re telling us that they’ll go home, measure their walls and create their own custom wallpaper,” adds Butz.

Follow Eric @emencher and Photo Lounge @photolounge_phila on Instagram

The Difference a Printer Makes at Philadelphia’s Life Art Imaging

Printing fine photo art
Stacey Granger with a framed 44" x 66" version of her fine art photo of Philadelphia's Broad Street, printed on Sunset Photo eSatin with her new Canon iPF8300 wide format inkjet printer.

There’s nothing more frustrating than losing a sale at the point of sale, particularly when the buyer is willing and able to buy on the spot. That’s the situation that Stacey Granger, owner of Life Art Imaging in Philadelphia, was too often finding herself in as would-be customers walked away empty handed.

The problem was being able to fulfill a custom print size for these walk-in customers who marveled at Granger’s selection of fine art photographic renditions of Philadelphia cityscapes and other urban and natural scenes.

Printing fine art and fine photosThe solution was a Canon iPF8300 wide format inkjet printer from LexJet, which Granger purchased this past June. The acquisition, says Granger, has been a revelation, not only increasing sales in the gallery section studio, but allowing her to be extra-responsive to those interested in displaying her work.

“I went into my archives one day and organized all my work and I started hanging it in my gallery to see if it would sell. It was an instant success, but I was losing business every weekend by not being able to fulfill orders for people walking in who wanted something in a different size,” explains Granger. “I think it paid for itself in the past six weeks just being able to print on the spot. We’re in downtown Philadelphia and every weekend people walk in and when they ask if I have a print in a different size and now I say, ‘I can have it ready for you in a few minutes. The printer is so easy to use and it comes out exactly as I designed it straight out of the printer.”

The majority of Granger’s printing so far has been on LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper, which Granger says she likes for the accurate colors and deep tones she’s able to get out of the paper, plus the paper’s heavy weight and thickness.

Printing decor for a restaurant
Providing decor for the Fare Restaurant in Philadelphia was one of the first challenges Granger was able to meet with her new printer. The owner needed more than a dozen new prints on Sunset Photo eSatin in various sizes right away and Granger was able to deliver the goods with her new Canon printer from LexJet.

Granger plans to experiment with other inkjet media, including Photo Tex PSA Fabric for an upcoming wall mural project at a local gym. “He wants gigantic stuff; large panoramics going all the way around the workout areas of the skylines I’ve shot. At first, he was looking for huge framed photos, but I suggested we apply Photo Tex and frame it out with trim wood so that it looks like a frame. They have three locations and for each one he wants photos from my collection of different areas of the city. I’ve worked with it before and I love it; I love the fact that it’s not like a vinyl sticker and that it’s a fabric. Art is art, so you shouldn’t just print it on vinyl banner and tie it off with grommets.”

The printer has also added dimension to the other components of Life Art Imaging: portrait art photography and fine art reproductions. With the flexibility to print on-demand and control the entire process, Granger can now go above and beyond with these clients: portrait clients get the prints from the session they want right away and fine art clients – for whom Granger was previously doing only capture – can get everything done in one place.

“I consider my work to be photo art. I truly don’t believe that people just take a photo these days, so I try to create art through photography, which is where I came up with the concept of Life Art,” says Granger.

The success Granger has had with the printer has simply added another dimension to the Life Art concept, and she attributes at least some of that success to her experience with LexJet.

“I’ve had an amazing experience with LexJet. I chose LexJet because a friend of mine bought a Canon from LexJet and who did a lot of research beforehand. He told me that LexJet has super-awesome customer service and helps you out a lot,” says Granger. “I know people who can’t get service or reach anyone on the phone if they have a problem, and getting materials can be a chore. When I order paper it shows up the next day, which is awesome. The quick turnaround is also cost effective, because I don’t have to sit on product inventory for a long time.”

Road Show for Pro Photograhers Hits the Road in Later Summer, Early Fall

Educational seminars for professional photographersWedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) announced today that its third annual WPPI Road Trip is set to begin on Monday, Aug. 8 in Long Beach, Calif. The 2011 WPPI Road Trip features a full day of educational classes conducted by some of the most well known speakers in professional photography.

The WPPI Road Trip full day of educational classes cover topics like Business and Marketing, Lighting, Posing, and Shooting for professional wedding and portrait photographers. The Road Trip takes place in these eight U.S. cities:

  • Aug. 8, Long Beach, Calif.
  • Aug. 10, San Jose, Calif.
  • Aug. 15, Columbus, Ohio
  • Aug. 17, Chicago
  • Aug. 22, Philadelphia
  • Aug. 25, Boston
  • Sept. 19, Austin, Texas
  • Sept. 22, New Orleans

WPPI Road Trip guest speakers include: Bambi Cantrell, Kevin Kubota, Roberto Valenzuela, Rick Miller, Jasmine Star, Jim Garner, Dave Getzschman, Jared Platt, Vicki Taufer, Scott and Adina Hayne, Bob Davis, Sal Cincotta, Jules Bianchi, Joy Bianchi Brown, Monica Sigmon, Susan Stripling, Dawn Shields, Damon Tucci, Lindsay Adler, JP Elario, Beth Forester, Dan Sanders, Doug Gordon, Dixie Dixon and Kirk Voclain.

“Road Trip offers professional and aspiring photographers the convenience of being close to home with minimal time away from their studio so they can easily spend the day attending Road Trip and immediately apply what they learn to their work and business. Plus, the WPPI Road Trip provides a mid-year educational refresher like no other,” said George Varanakis, Show Director of WPPI and Publisher of Rangefinder.

For more information about locations, dates, speakers and registration, go to http://www.wppionline.com/storage/2011/roadtrip/home.html

The registration rate is $159 for a full day of education, lunch, and mini trade show. Registrants can also bring a guest for $89. There is also a special student/educator rate of $75. The Road Trip rate, guest rate and student/educator rate also includes free registration to WPPI 2012 in Las Vegas.

Plan for PPA: Pro Photo Tour Starts in August

Printing marketing pieces with wide format inkjet printers in-houseProfessional Photographers of America (PPA) has just scheduled a late-summer tour for professional photographers geared toward improving the digital workflow, finding a competitive niche, running a better business, managing post-capture for the highest profitability, and more.

The eight-city tour of daylong workshops starts in Atlanta on August 15 with other events planned for Houston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Orlando, Kansas City, San Francisco and Raleigh. Each of these PPA Tour events is focused on helping photographers make more money, while finding new ways to stand out in a highly competitive industry.

“The market for educational products targeted to photographers has exploded in the last couple of years with all kinds of inspirational and artistic programming. However, there are few options for learning how to run a sound business from A to Z,” explains Dawn Robb, PPA’s director of education. “The PPA Tour is set up to walk photographers through a day in the life of a successful photography studio, from finding and targeting the right customers, to taking a great photo and managing the post-capture process for highest profitability. We’ll bring it all together at the end of the day with the thing all photographers want most: strategies to sell more products.”

The PPA Tour is designed to help photographers who are just getting into the business and those who could use the classes as a business booster. Workshops will be taught by industry leaders, and the speakers will vary from city to city. Instructors include Bry Cox, Tony Corbell, Kay Eskridge, Lori Nordstrom and others. “We’re highlighting photographers who have created profitable business models and are ready to lend their expertise to others,” adds Robb.

Robb also points out that the PPA Tour 2011 is a great opportunity for photographers to network and learn from each other. “Others have gone through the same challenges you are going through, and now’s your chance to capitalize on their solutions.”

Whether attendees choose between a full day of education for $79 (9 a.m. to 10 p.m.) or the evening program on sales and service for $39 (5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.), they will all have access to a mini trade show. At the trade show, they can browse for products and meet with key industry partners.

PPA Tour 2011 Locations and Dates

Atlanta, August 15

Houston, August 22

Philadelphia, September 12

Cincinnati, September 19

Orlando, September 26

Kansas City, October 3

San Francisco, October 10

Raleigh, October 17