1. StewartR

    StewartR Efrem Zimbalist Jr Advertiser

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    I was in Las Vegas recently and, purely by chance, stumbled on a Peter Lik gallery. It's in Mandalay Place, which is an underground shopping arcade linking the Luxor to Mandalay Bay. Later on my trip I stumbled across another one, at Caesar's Palace, and then a third one, at The Venetian.

    The photography community loves to hate Lik, and I think with good reason. He's s competent photographer but his pictures are, mostly, over-saturated eye candy. His talent for self promotion is vast and is probably matched only by his ego.

    But the galleries. Wow.

    The presentation of his images was absolutely superb. Firstly they're all printed BIG - the smallest ones were probably 3 feet x 2 feet or thereabouts, there were a lot that were probably about 6 feet by 4 feet, and some were up to about 12 feet by 8 feet. And as well as having really vibrant colours, they have an incredible luminosity to them, as if they're backlit. That isn't actually the case though. It was a quiet morning at Mandalay Place and the gallery assistant showed me (in the demonstration room set aside for that purpose!) that the luminosity is just a product of the materials used. I don't know exactly what the printing process is - I'm not an expert on printing by any means - but they guy said they use paper with a high silver halide content, or something like that, which creates the vibrance. In the demo room they can play with the lighting and it's really astonishing to see how the image responds to variations in lighting. The quality control on the printing and presentation is clearly very high too.

    Obviously I'm never going to buy one of his photos, and I guess nobody here is either. I don't have the space and I don't have the money. But before I saw the gallery I would have added a third reason, which is that they're just over-saturated eye candy, and that reason basically melted away when I saw the gallery. If I had a 10,000 square foot ranch house in Colorado, I could quite easily imagine having one of his images on a wall there. (And I guess people with 10,000 square foot ranch houses in Colorado are the sort of audience he's targeting.)

    If you find yourself in Las Vegas, it's well worth checking out his galleries.
     
  2. Byker28i

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    Useless without pictures Stewart.. :D
    I have some somewhere at home - thought exactly the same. The Caesar's Palace gallery just hits you as you walk up to it - as you say bright, vivid, over saturated, but a real impact
    They were pushing his Antelope Canyon images when I was there a couple of years ago.
     
  3. GeeJay57

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    Yes, we had a look at the Caesar's Palace gallery back in 2008. I thought it was pretty amazing too.
     
  4. IntenseJason

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    As it Happens, I was in that very place while staying at the Luxor about three weeks ago.

    I will go against the tide and say that I find that style of very saturated work quite pleasing.

    But I would never buy something from there, especially with the added Vegas tax on the prices.
     
  5. sk66

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    I think the assistant gave you bad info... metal halide in a photo paper is the light reactive component. What they probably meant is that the images are printed on metallic paper which uses a layer of mylar behind the color/pigment layer. It creates added "depth" and something of a backlit luminance to the images due to the mylar layer reflecting light back through.

    I like the effect for some images... I've even had some printed directly on metal for a similar result.
     
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  6. Retune

    Retune

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    It looks like the saturation slider on Lik's copy of Photoshop goes to 111.
     
  7. StewartR

    StewartR Efrem Zimbalist Jr Advertiser

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    I think it's more likely that I didn't understand what I was being told.

    I've subsequently searched online (eg "how to print like Peter Lik") and the answer seems to be a combination of Fuji Crystal Archive paper and acrylic face mounting. (Whatever that means. I don't understand printing.)
     
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  8. Byker28i

    Byker28i

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    I've messed around with all sorts of media for displaying my images. Pearlescents, Kodak Metallic add a certain something to car images, I've also used aluminium prints for some high contrast B&W and acrylic for in your face high saturated colours. Quite fun seeing the results, but that experimentation can be costly :)
     
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  9. LongLensPhotography

    LongLensPhotography

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    I did come across his work in that gallery and I was really impressed. Yes they do use lighting to enhance the prints and probably it would make sense to adapt as much of that as possible.

    You may not like his style personally but most people including myself love it. There is certainly nothing wrong with bold colors and in fact the shades of grey brown and black all around make me feel sick
     
  10. Retune

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    Well, photographers from Ernst Haas onwards have used strong colours very effectively, but Lik's highly processed pictures look to me rather more like video game stills than photos of the real world.
     
  11. StewartR

    StewartR Efrem Zimbalist Jr Advertiser

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    Have you seen his work displayed as large prints? I see where you're coming from if you've only ever see his work on the internet, and I think I would have agreed with you. But when they're presented as big prints the the experience is quite different. That's why I made this thread.
     
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  12. Retune

    Retune

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    I haven't, and I'll certainly make a point of taking a look if I end up in Las Vegas any time soon!
     
  13. HoppyUK

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    Not seen any of Lik's work in the flesh, but I'd certainly like to. I can easily imagine the wow-factor and yes, they'd surely look fabulous in the right situation.

    I also think he's a pretty decent photographer, and certainly a very successful professional. Check any of the threads in the pro/business section here and they'll all say how vitally important business and marketing skills are. Doesn't matter how good you are if nobody's listening. Maybe we should learn from Lik instead of dissing him.
     
  14. GeeJay57

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    I don't think anybody can dispute his success. There are clearly however a number of discussions out there about a) the 'honesty' of his technique(s) and b) the photographic qualities of his images, i.e. over saturation and so on.

    Personally, I like the drama of his work but don't believe all of them have been produced without some sort of post process/image manipulation. I certainly wouldn't fork-out for one of his prints.
     
  15. cargo

    cargo

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    I had never heard of him. That said your description makes me wanna view is work large as you did.

    Gaz
     
  16. Retune

    Retune

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  17. ancient_mariner

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    I somewhat admire the manner in which he's out arted the art world in terms of giving his product inflated values. As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

    As for his pictures, I'd not consider them to have great artistic value in terms of telling a story or communicating concepts, but a quick whizz around google images shows some pleasant pictures that generally suit bright colours well, and are ideal for his target market. Good luck to him. As a person he sounds like a completely self-absorbed arse, totally convinced of his greatness, and on that basis is probably a genuine artist.
     
  18. Harlequin565

    Harlequin565

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    Thanks for making me laugh out loud today Toni. I needed it.
     
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  19. HoppyUK

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    LOL I kind of like the way Lik plays the art establishment at their own ludicrous game, and wins. They are the ultimate masters of bullcrap. He's changed the rules a bit, but it's still all smoke and mirrors, lies and nonsense either way.

    Why is it okay for Gursky to sell prints for many mi££ions - some of them not unlike Lik's in subject, style and huge over-blown presentation - yet Lik is derided?
     
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  20. ancient_mariner

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    Because Gursky is an artist, and therefore his work is legitimate. FWIW having seen Rhine II, I'd probably not put it on my wall, and in fact that goes for most of Gursky's output, even though I quite enjoyed his work at the exhibition in London earlier this year. The thing is that Lik is selling to the equivalent of the Facebook crowd, but with money, and they're able to buy things without all the art stuff around that would normally shut them out. And I suspect there's an unhappiness that he's taking money from them under what some would see as false pretences while making the art world look slightly ridiculous.
     
  21. HoppyUK

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    For sure, but isn't Gursky doing the same thing? How is Lik different to Gursky? If there's art in Rhine II, where is it absent from Lik's work? A dull stretch of river and grass with an overcast sky, shot on large format, Photoshopped for days on end and then printed 3m wide. Looks pretty similar to me. Gursky's 'art' is in having hookwinked the establishment into taking him seriously.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhein_II
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  22. LongLensPhotography

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    What makes someone like Gursky an "artist" and why doesn't it make LIK or myself one???! I smell a lot of elitist BS there. Expanding on the BS why the hell is a jar full of urine and some rotting rat or lizard inside sell as art? It is taking a p*** or at best money laundering scheme and a massive scam. If I was given Rheine II and couldn't resell it the same moment I would frankly bin it before you can even reply to this thread. It is an utter garbage and IMHO insult to art of photography.

    That is of course just my opinion but likewise it is just an opinion of those who label stuff like Rhine II as art.
     
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  23. Harlequin565

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    Sadly it's the same reason why there's a ton of crap wedding photographers out there making boat loads of cash. It's *all* about the marketing. These guys are business people (sales & marketing) first and photographers second. They've got to be to survive in today's market. Selling you 'what you think you need' is a skill. He could be taking pictures of cats. In my (admittedly jaded) opinion, the business world is getting more like a fairy tale every day. And I feel like the kid in the Emperor's New Clothes for much of the time. Perhaps it's my age :)

    As an aside, I use Rhine II as an example on my course. With two directly conflicting quotes regarding its worth (one Telegraph, one Times) it always generates a lively discussion.
     
  24. LongLensPhotography

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  25. MidnightUK

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    Detailed quote from Retunes link post (thanks for posting this link Retune)

    https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-...er-whose-work-sells-for-millions-9919427.html

    "“I’ve never even heard of him,” Martin Parr, the renowned British photographer, says. “It’s pretty astonishing. I’ve looked at his work today and though he’s a very good commercial photographer who can take pictures people like, he has no standing whatever in the fine-art world that I belong to.

    I thought this was an interesting quote. I like and respect much of Martin Parrs work, but I would never consider it to be 'fine art'. I find it fascinating how both Lik and Parr categorise themselves in an elite way, particularly as Parr is known for taking images investigating 'class' and its related activities in this country.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
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  26. LongLensPhotography

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    I would call him a photojournalist or documentary photographer. I have never heard of him and just looked him up on his Magnum agency subpage. Some interesting stuff there, most certainly a polar opposite of what I like and love, but something interesting going on with some thought in it. I mean that's great for a documentary photographer just I wouldn't call most of it fine art either.
     
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  27. MidnightUK

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    Detailed quote from Retunes link post (thanks for posting this link Retune)

    https://news.artnet.com/market/new-york-times-exposes-peter-lik-photography-scheme-264858

    "Art consultant David Hulme, who in 2012 warned against collecting Lik “because Peter Lik’s photographs have no secondary market presence or value,” routinely fields calls from Lik owners who are hoping for a profitable resale. He told the Times that he worries that the galleries’ tiered pricing structure is “misleading” customers, understandably causing them to assume that the outside market will reflect the ever-rising prices charged by the artist."
     
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  28. MidnightUK

    MidnightUK

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    "
    Agree with you completely. You just missed the Martin Parr foundation opening in Bristol by a few years, you would have moved elsewhere by then I think. He has lived in Clifton for decades. His foundation is very good as its a gallery (plus other interesting things) which is free to enter and which shows lots of UK photographers work. The RPS is moving into the building next to it, in the Paintworks area. If you get a chance to see him talk, he is very entertaining.
     
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  29. LongLensPhotography

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    I have to just maybe clarify that Gursky is not all that awful in its entirety, certainly not at the level of modern art atrocities and he has some interesting photos. For example "Tokyo" has a certain appeal to it. Maybe not a 6 or even a 5 figure shot, but one that's a keeper for sure. You get this all parallel horizontal line theme in all his works which I guess is THE way to define his style. In some cases it works, in some it is so so, even forced and repulsive. And why not anything else but parallel horizontals? However, Rheine II is certainly in the there with the 25% very worst on his site, ghastly overprocessing with clarity at 100%, etc. He even has a wonky basic gas hob or a window and that is somehow fine art. If you want a window, modern and fine art look no further than Banksy. The guy is brilliant.

    Thats I guess a typical TP thread. Start with LIK and finish with Gursky and discussion of what is fine art. Let's see where it takes further.
     
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  30. HoppyUK

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    Whatever next. Lik embarks on his life's ambition to capture the beauty of his native Australia, Dundee style, but dies in a tragic accident eaten by crocodiles. It's headline news around the world, his body is never found, but his camera miraculously survives, full of priceless images that sell for $100m and his other work changes hands at incredible prices. The art establishment realises the error of its ways (amazing that) and Lik is hailed as a master. Everybody happy, including Lik because he faked it.
     
  31. MidnightUK

    MidnightUK

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    Impressive prediction for this late at night. Good stuff.
     
  32. HoppyUK

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    The night is young!

    Maybe not eaten by crocodiles, but abducted by aliens - and he got the shot! :D
     
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  33. LongLensPhotography

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    I can see him eventually selling this as a scrip for a Hollywood movie and make another $100m.
     
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  34. MidnightUK

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    Talking of the art world in general and its often bizarre pricing and worship of some artists, I came across this comment from a member of the public in the Guardian newspaper this morning, attached to an article about the Banksy / Southebys picture shredding:

    "TudorIcon (https://www.theguardian.com/discussion/p/9jnmk?page=3)

    In the 1990s Russian, South American and Japanese organised criminals realised that they could wash their drug money through the purchase and reselling of art to give their cash appearance of legitimate profits.

    Very quickly a large international market grew up around this laundering with enormous profits to be made for the criminals who found they could spend literally millions buying art holding it for a few months or years before selling it on. It didn't matter if they made a loss on the work because it had been bought with illegitimate money which would otherwise not be able to be in circulation.

    Naturally like in all markets the dealers and middlemen made a healthy turn on the purchases/sales and were unconcerned where all these new buyers and their money was coming from.

    And like all markets the price is determined by supply and demand. As there are only a limited amount of these 'artists', both living and dead whose work can be traded in such a way new 'star' artists must be found.

    This is why vast quantities of money is spent on work that is clearly worthless and why artists who lack the basic crafts skills are venerated.

    The art market is not about art it's about the legitimisation of criminal gains and the Turner Prize etc is about selecting the right kinds of art/artists to participate in the enterprise
    ."



    I also followed a link from the same comment section to some old news about general art pricing and cartels and what you can get away with

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/oct/31/arts.artsnews

    "Sotheby's, one of the world's two leading auction houses, was yesterday fined almost £13m by the European commission for operating a massive illegal price-fixing cartel with its arch rival Christie's for most of the 1990s."

    "It mirrors the outcome of the earlier court cases in the US - where price fixing is a criminal offence - when Christie's escaped relatively lightly and Sotheby's saw its former chairman Alfred Taubman jailed and fined £5.4m. His opposite number at Christie's at the time, Sir Anthony Tennant, re fused to go to America for the trial, and could not be extradited since price fixing is not a criminal offence in the UK.

    Yesterday Christie's was heavily censured by the commission but escaped without a fine as a reward for its decision to blow the whistle on the cartel and hand over evidence.

    It is a measure of the massive scale of the international art trade that the huge fine represents only 6% of Sotheby's annual turnover."
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
  35. LongLensPhotography

    LongLensPhotography

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    Yes, it sure stinks to the high heavens. I hope we will soon be out of the woods of this avant garde madness. We probably reached a critical point where it is no longer even worth debating art credentials of these 6 figure pieces of whatever (or just blank walls!). If you bought Lik you would sure at least enjoy it on your wall regardless if you managed to make any money from that. That surely is what art should be about - beauty, expression, ideas and not a money making scheme.
     
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  36. HoppyUK

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    Thanks Jay - no surprises there then!

    Why is it that apparently all big art buyers insist on remaining anonymous? If I'd just spent £100m on a Picasso, it would certainly be no secret (but I'm no Russian oligarch either).

    ps Just a thought - if you have £100m in £20 notes, and you count them out at £1000 per minute (sounds about right) it'd take you 208 eight-hour days. Not easy to dispose of that kind of cash discretely. The property market is rife with money laundering too - buy a shed, sell it to a mate for £1m, who sells it to another mate etc etc.
     
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  37. LongLensPhotography

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    Or if you happen to be in Las Vegas just go gambling. It pretty much doesn't matter if you lose some but the money you cash out is all clean and legit. There are probably even better ways like giving speeches for $10,000 a seat or charitable foundations just none of us are allowed in that club to play those games.
     
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  38. MidnightUK

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    So very true. Such a different world for some. The same world where if you get sacked for being a bad Director of a company, you get a bonus anyway and some other amazing job is offered to you by the old boys network.

    Remember this guy
    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fred-the-shred-goodwin-amasses-13247125
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Goodwin

    As his knighthood was revoked, I wonder why Philip Greens was not?

    27 MAR 2018 - Ex-BHS boss Sir Philip Green 'could keep knighthood' after revelation he won't face ban on being director - despite £571m pension hole
    The yacht-loving billionaire insists he has done nothing wrong despite the collapse of the firm with 11,000 jobs lost and a £571m pension deficit

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ex-bhs-boss-sir-philip-12263432

    I wonder what sort of art, if any, hangs on the walls of these folks?
     
  39. MidnightUK

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    Perhaps we should question if they are real buyers?

    Also, in some cases it may be self preservation or diplomacy. If a public museum fails a bid and artwork just goes to a private wall, never to be seen for generations by the public, would you be proud of hiding it away?

    If a country is poor it does not look good if a politician or some royalty is buying multimillion pound decorations and the population is literally starving etc, so best hide your name.

    Though admittedly some are not that tactful. £6 million plus on weddings in Windsor this year does not look good when disabled ex service people are going to food banks and schools are begging for loo rolls.

    Showing wealth never seems to be so vulgar or tasteless that people stop though.....

    LongLens is right, art should be about beauty.

    Not about ego.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
  40. Ed Sutton

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