terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Spleen venting exercises... begin:

When we didn't get the job that kept me from accompanying the missus to Padang for an assignment, I wasn't upset at all: jobs come and they go - they're good to have but not necessary for survival. When the comms manager from Mercy Relief invited me to go down to the exhibition to have a look, I wasn't interested - not because I'm feeling miffed about not getting the job, but mostly because I've seen these prints too many times and I wasn't about to relive the whole experience of Meulaboh again. When I heard that the images submitted had to be at least 600 dpi, I was alarmed and made it known ad nauseam, but I assumed the printers would correct that misconception and put some idiots in their places.

But when William, a good man, the owner of Simple Digital, a fine printer in his own right, and the guy, who along with his wife, did all of the mounting for the prints for the Glimpses of Light show, calls us to say that he's been to the exhibition space in front of Tampines Mall and was appalled by what he saw, we just had to go down today and see for ourselves.

I am not pleased.

Not pleased at all.

Seems the adage applies again, pay peanuts and you get monkeys. And what cheap peanuts these must have been:

1. Severe bending (lines across the print) of the sort I used to see when my Secondary Two project work classes downloaded images from the web and then printed them on a half-assed 4-colour inkjet printer with a very dirty print head (the images you see below are as is - looking as if they were shot off a television screen - that's how bad the bending is);

2. Bad, very bad colour cast - people who went for Glimpses of Light would have seen the actual colours. The whole exhibition feels like it was a part-Lomo event;

3. Mis-accreditation. I'm sorry - that's my print. My hands were in the shot, as well as Uan's and Remy's. Certainly not "PMI volunteers holding up the identity card of a victim of the tsunami." And certainly not a picture shot by the International Red Cross Society. It would seem that for every print that can't be traced to a specific photographer, the printers were instructed to just put down 'Singapore Red Cross;'

Ming's pictures of Mercy Relief distributing the Playpacks to the kids in Meulaboh became mine. Sorry about that, dude;

But I guess we're even because someone put your name on my print:

Darren's pictures from Sri Lanka, credited to the Singapore Red Cross and captioned as "Woman standing in the ruins of her home in Aceh;"

Someone who is contracted to Epson for everything to do with printmaking and having made limited edition prints of a certain celebrity has his prints up on the show as well;

4. They paid $28 for each of these? Are you fucking kidding? I wouldn't pay more than $4 for all of them - most of them being solvent prints rather than exhibition quality stuff;

5. There's also the lamination. Not the kind that goes onto exhibition prints - you know, those thick ones that could actually prevent fingerprints, scratching and other kinds of bad shit - but the ones that I used to wrap my textbooks up with. Looked cool and all, but seriously too thin (really, really thin - the ones you buy from Popular for $1 per sheet) to do the job of preventing damage to the books and certainly not to prints that are meant to be up in an outdoor space for one whole month;

6. What the fuck's with the cropping as well? Don't these idiots know better than to crop someone's images without consulting them? Plus, what's with the cropping of a 2" x 1.6" space within an image that was shot on 180 ppi at 17" x 11" and then blowing whatever's in the image up to A3 (17" x 11")? Did you think it wouldn't be fucking pixelated?

7. Apparently quality control's not part of the whole thing: some images look to be taken off a mobile phone cam. WTF?!

Well, thanks a lot.

I was actually contemplating whether to withdraw all of my images from the exhibition seeing that the printing wasn't going to be done by the people who know a thing or two about printing (plus, there was the whole other thing that showed me what would happened if I ever gave up complete control of how my prints would turn out); I even suggested to MR that we should produce the prints that belong to MR and the photographers ourselves, at our own expense. If we had done that, I wouldn't be feeling so fucking pissed off on a Sunday afternoon.

I really should have withdrawn my images.

Dumb asses.

I want heads to roll.


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