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Posts Tagged ‘iPad’

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve spent a lot of time in the car driving my mom (who is 89) back and forth from her home out in the country to various ERs and hospitals in town to visit my dad who recently suffered a stroke, and is now back home and recovering (and thank you very much for asking). At nearly 90 my mom’s memory is not quite what it used to be, so in the course of a 45 minute drive she is apt to ask the same question, tell the same story (always a little more dramatic than the last telling), or make the same statement over and over, and over, and over, and over, and over… You get the idea.

In recent days, one of her favorite sayings to repeat ad infinitum is “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans,” not knowing, of course, that the quote in associated with John Lennon. But that’s okay. It puts her mind at ease and it is a pretty apt quote, especially, since over these stressful couple of weeks my attention has understandably been on my parents and not on my blog.

In any case, now that things are getting back to normal, here’s a quick update on things I hope to be posting on in upcoming days and weeks:

  • I’m in the final stage of completing a new photo, and planning on writing a post about the crazy post production technique I employed to achieve deep focus throughout the otherwise impossible-to-shoot composition. The technique is almost scary because the results are amazing with tack-sharpness from the foreground all the way to the back, but… it was incredibly labor intensive and I’m afraid of falling in love with a complex technique that could severely chew up every last bit of free time I have at my disposal (currently, holding steady at “none”).
  • In concert with the new photo is a new animation, where I’ve again gone over the technical deep end to mangle and modify various pieces of Apple software to achieve effects not otherwise available with their out-of-the-box products—in this case, iMovie. I’ll post the video and some tips for how to hack iMovie to create some otherwise unavailable special effects.
  • There’s been a little bit of a buzz on some Apple forums about my fixed-layout book for the iPad, Plastic Prophets of Vinyl Redemption, and a past promise I made to post details about how I was able to design and create the book without any high end tools (i.e. InDesign). At some point I still want to capture all of my notes and lessons learned in a series of posts to dare others to take on this daunting task. Yes, Apple now has a freely available tool for creating fixed-layout books (iBook Author), but it would appear that some prefer another approach.

Okay, there’s your update… Back to work, now, on that new photo which—by the way—will surely send my soul to hell. Stay tuned!

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Who of my countless readers believe in coincidence?

Well, then, wouldn’t you know, on the same day that Borders announces the closing of their remaining retail stores and the laying off of thousands of brick’n’mortar booksellers… my eBook of photography for the iPad—Plastic Prophets of Vinyl Redemption—is finally available in Apple’s iTunes bookstore! Yes, 135 pages of splashy digital color, filled with behind-the-scenes photos, sketches and in-depth analysis of the photos I shot for my first large scale solo exhibit at Distinction Gallery in 2009.

I’d place this particular coincidence in the category of “painfully bittersweet,” as I absolutely LOVE to wander the stacks of a sprawling bookstore, and find the mounting closure of neighborhood stores disturbing in a way reserved for fears of the apocalypse. On the other hand, it would have been quite impossible for me to publish (and sell!) the book I’ve just released without the benefit of electronic distribution. Oh, not that I wouldn’t have liked to produce a lavish coffee table tome… and, I actually did just that! In the weeks leading up to the original exhibit I designed and printed a quite superb 100 page hardcover book that chronicled all the work that had gone into the exhibit.

Note to art collectors of the future telepathically browsing eBay in the year 2525 for an original printed copy of Plastic Prophets of Vinyl Redemption… At the cost of $120 each in the year 2009, I printed exactly two copies: one to be on display during the exhibit, and one for the owners of the gallery. So any other copies you might see advertised are likely (gasp!) forgeries. Be forewarned!

So why not mass produce the original book and sell it through my web site or local independent bookstores? Uh… as mentioned above, just one copy of the book—full color, full-bleed—cost 120 bones to print. Repeat… cost. That means I’d have to retail the book at around $150 or so, or (to bring the price down to, say, $40) print it in China at sufficient quantities that my otherwise safe and comfortable home would become a warehouse firetrap of unsold inventory. I mean, people like my art and all, but I think it would be difficult to find thousands of people who might be willing to plunk down forty or fifty dollars for a printed copy.

On the other hand… I thought there might be quite a lot of people who would quite happily pay a wee bit of cash for a version of the book they could enjoy on their iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Just think… hours of artsy browsing pleasure for the price of a heavily sweetened cup of coffee!

I took the original 100 page book and expanded it greatly, with tons of additional photos, more insightful prose, and images of the installation I’d constructed in the center of the gallery. The original hardcover had been slapped together in two weeks while I was working full time. As such, sacrifices were made and the bar I’d set for completion was that ol’ standby of the Time Constrained… good enough. This time around, with no deadline gripping at my collar, I spent close to four months on design, layout, and figuring out the hitherto mysterious (and grossly under documented) features and capabilities of Apple’s new illustrated book format. Yes, it’s good to have an engineering degree!

The result?

An electronic coffee table book on a bright, shiny screen filled with glorious color pages that can be…

Flipped!

Zoomed!

Panned all around the screen!

And the very best part? No printing costs. No distributor costs. No unsold inventory piling up through the hallways of my home. In fact, apart from the reasonable percentage Apple takes from each sale… no split of the revenues with a billion people. And this means I can sell my beautiful book for whatever price I want.

How does $3.99 grab you?

Note: The grabbing will be 2.99 euros in France and Germany, and 2.49 pounds in the UK, but still $3.99 in Canada and Australia.

Yep, no big profit game here. I just wanted to be able to share my work as widely as possible and provide people a fun, interesting, and engaging way to experience and explore what lies behind each of my photographs.

Did I mention there’s a link to the book? I should do that… Check it out in the iBookstore!!

Wanna see some screen shots? Of course you do!

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Back in the not-so-distant past of February 2009, John had a solo exhibit at Distinction Gallery in Escondido, CA entitled Plastic Prophets of Vinyl Redemption. This well thought-out series of photographs addressed the themes of power, greed, evolution, and desire–you know, your usual Valentine’s Day fare. Besides the super fun videos John created for our fellow art lovers to watch as an accompaniment to the photos, he also printed a monograph so curious lookie loos could take a peek at behind-the-scenes information and learn how he devises his photographs and sets them up. The book proved to be so popular, we wanted to make it available for viewing by everyone, not just those (awesome) folks who were able to attend the exhibit. As we explained in this post from January 2010, printing the book was a bit pricey, so John, in all his engineer-y genius, created an online version.

Fast forward to 2011. A little something called the iPad 2 comes out and along with a billion other people, John becomes enamored with this incredible piece of technology. Hmm…wouldn’t it be great if we went back to the Plastic Prophets book and added more info, photos, and insights we couldn’t include the first time around? So that’s just what we did. After several months of some intense coding on John’s part, and intense editing on my part, we are thrilled to announce that Plastic Prophets of Vinyl Redemption is now available for your delight and pleasure in iTunes. It’s a fascinating read on how an artist brings an image from his mind into reality, and the book is jam-packed with photos so vibrant, you want to lick them. (You have my permission to use that in your book review.) At only $3.99, it’s an incredible bargain. Besides the US, Plastic Prophets is also currently available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the UK. Please head on over to the iTunes store and check it out. We’d love to hear what you think!

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