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Thread: Gregory Colbert

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Eugene, Oregon

    Gregory Colbert

    I just came across this website:

    While reading under "Vision"....

    The Ashes and Snow exhibition includes more than 100 large-scale photographic artworks, a one-hour film and two nine-minute film haikus. None of the images have been digitally collaged or superimposed. They record what the artist himself saw through the lens of his camera. While Colbert uses both still and movie cameras, the images are not stills from the film. These mixed media photographic works marry umber and sepia tones in a distinctive encaustic process on handmade Japanese paper. The artworks, each approximately five feet by eight feet, are mounted without explanatory text so as to encourage an open-ended interaction with the images.

    Sounds very interesting. I'm wondering what kind of format he is shooting with (it doesn't mention anywhere) and what sort of processes are involved. The prints are pretty big...does anyone know more about this exhibition?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Gregory Colbert

    My non-photographer civilian friends saw the show in SoCal and raved about it -- must be popular.

    Some of the large popular shows in the big cities - that one in NYC with the exposed human body systems - or the guy who did all the intimate animal "portraits" - are very well produced and crafted, even though they weren't done with LF cameras the exhibit techniques alone are worth seeing.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Gregory Colbert

    The show is here in the Santa Monica's housed in a building called the Nomadic's made out of cargo
    containers...It leaves the 14th of May...It's well worth the visit, the images are amazing... It will be traveling through the US, and
    sara p

  4. #4

    Gregory Colbert

    Read this NY Times' article for a review of the show when it hit NY last year.

  5. #5

    Gregory Colbert

    My wife and I -- very fortunately -- stumbled onto the show while in town for a business trip. We really had no idea of what we were walking into, but needless to say we were overwhelmed by the photos, how they were presented and the Nomadic Museum itself. Pictures on the web don't really do it justice. It's amazing.

    Apparently the prints were made by Jon Cone using a d'Vinici printer. Here's a link:

    I'm not sure what format Gregory Colbert used to shoot the pictures.

    Larry Mendenhall

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Baraboo, Wisconsin

    Gregory Colbert

    For those interested,

    My son sent me the "books" ("catalogues" from any other exhibit but to call these little works of art "catalogues" wouldn't do them justice). The show itself must have been fantastic.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  7. #7

    Gregory Colbert

    His photographs are humbling. I'd like to see more.

  8. #8

    Gregory Colbert

    "These mixed media photographic works marry umber and sepia tones in a distinctive encaustic process on handmade Japanese paper."

    Meet the newest artspeak for "inkjet print." (Follow the link in Larry Mendenhall's post above.)

    The images are remarkable but the hype surrounding them is hard to stomach.

    Sanders McNew

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Asheville, NC

    Gregory Colbert

    Re: the process he uses. The interviews and comments he has made have been somewhat (and by my lights, deliberately) vague. Putting all these puzzle pieces together, I'm guessing it amounts to inkjet prints on very nice Japanese paper that have subsequently been waxed (thus the somewhat misleading moniker 'encaustic', which has a very specific meaning in the painting world)

  10. #10

    Gregory Colbert

    Clay, "deliberately vague" is being charitable. They are inkjet prints. Fancy inkjet prints, but inkjet prints all the same. All the mumbo-jumbo about "encaustic process" is just the latest "giclee" marketing dodge away from the notion that a computer made the print so that people will think them "handmade." (Note the reference to "handmade Japanese paper.")

    Jon Cone printed Colbert's work for him. Here's the blurb from Cone's site, referenced in Mendenhall's post above, which explains exactly the process:

    "Jon Cone is currently formulating a unique ink set for a major project for photographer Gregory Colbert. Using a D'Vinci software system in his own private studio on a 64" Roland SolJet printer that he has specially modified for very thick hand made sheets of paper 110" long x 44" wide, this photo shows how a big printer in a tiny space can be used to produce jumbo sized fine art prints! More of this work can be seen at"

    Colbert's work troubles me. On the one hand, the work has undeniable power. On the other, his is, quite literally, a manufactured celebrity. He dumped many millions of dollars into the project; bought himself his own gallery to show his work in; underwrote an incredibly-expensive mass marketing campaign when the show was in New York, with signage and print ads everywhere; paid Jon Cone to print his work for him; and so on. Was Colbert a photographer or a project manager?

    At the end of the day I am left with questions that trouble me. Where is the honesty in the way these images are presented to the public? Where is the integrity in this work? How did Colbert make it? Did he make it? Where did the money come from to underwrite such an enormous effort? Is it okay to buy your way into the ranks of accepted photographers? I live in New York but I did not go to the show -- I was (and remain) divided over the immense marketing effort put forward in its behalf. But I seem to be a lone voice in this respect.


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