Two knives, two artists, four views...

SharpByCoop

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I get fortunate every so often and get a chance to flex my skills working up a photo display for my buddies and clients.

Don Cowles and Jim Small should need little introduction.

Let's see what's up.... :thumbup:

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Same knife - a more 'traditional' view:

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Next is one that has Jim's signature deep-relief engraving. He does it all!

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And so here it is again!!! :eek:

orig.jpg


The top knife is only about 3¾" OAL and the bottom is 5½"

I took some license with my displays, and like the results. I've had those shiny rocks for years, and never found the chance to use them. Also that BX cable has been hanging around for a while. Both of them help to give a sense of perspective to the sizes.

Congrats to Don and Jim for the collaborations!

Coop
 
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Good work, Coop. I enjoy the wheat, cable and leaves I've seen you use. Keep on experimenting. :thumbup:
 

SharpByCoop

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Keith Montgomery said:
I don't think I have ever seen anyone use armored cable in a knife photo before, interesting.
Without question this would have been better suited to a tactical-based knife. But... I got a hankerin' and decided to go for it anywho.

Made ya look! :p

Thanks, guys. The makers appreciate it. Me too.

Coop
 
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Coop, you already know how much I respect - and like - your work. So, should I just go along with the crowd or would you like to hear what I really think? :)
 

SharpByCoop

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Lay it clear, Holger. If something DOESN'T float your boat I want to know why. ;)

I say this in truth, too. I work in a subjective field. Not everyone will enjoy a certain style. Maybe it leaves them 'flat as a pancake'... he he he

Coop
 
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Coop, you know how much I respect and like your work (and one doesn't necessarily deserve the other).

However, as a professional marketer - and as an amateur photographer - I feel that *adding* pebbles, feathers, ferns, etc. to a background simply takes the eye away from where the focus should be: on the product. If they are part of a "natural" setting, fine. And there are always exceptions - for instance, one of my favourite *staged* photographs is one by PiterM of his Sebenza sitting on a pail of freshly gutted carp. Outstanding shot.

As my agency partner wrote in one of his published advertising text books (addressing artsy-fartsy Art Directors in particular): "My print ads are sledgehammers I use to smash through the consumer's wall of indifference. I don't need to paint pretty flowers on those sledgehammers to make them work more efficiently."

As soon as I look at these photographs, my eye is drawn towards the cable, towards the stalks, towards the pebbles - and away from the knife. On your stage, the knife now has to share 'top billing' with another performer - and I believe your photographs are of such a quality that the knife should be the solo performer, the star!

But that's just my personal opinion. There are thousands who will disagree with me. :)
 

Kohai999

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You suck! :p

I like the way you composed them, Weyeresque, while still being very much the Coop shoot. You keep postin', I'll keep commentatin'

The knives........:yawn:

Best Regards,

STeven Garsson
 

SharpByCoop

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Well put. I'd like some others to agree or disagree.

With passion, please. :D

Coop
 
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Hi Coop, I usually like just the knife in the shot but you did a bowie of mine at the Chicago show with a fern that is my all time favorite :thumbup: Keep up the great work.
 
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With passion!......

Don and I paid for them and the photos are much more than we expected. The are great and they pop! You have done us good.
Jim Small


A Don Cowles knife, unusual, small, and wonderful.
A little creative work from me, Jim Small
A classy photo from Jim Cooper
……Priceless!
 
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I like all the pics, but the shiny rocks is probably my favorite. I wouldn't have thught of cable with so elegant a blade, but surprisingly (to me) it works. Neat little knives and cool engraving.

Roger
 

SharpByCoop

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First off, I would like to welcome Jim Small into the BladeForum community. You probably know a ton of guys here, Jim, but the names have been changed to protect the innocent... :p

This topic deserves a thread of it's own in it's scope. But let's stick with this one now.

Here is my take on composition, Holger. I'm pleased you pointed this out.

If you look at the thousands of images I have produced, you will see just exactly what you prefer: My style usually includes two insets and a full sideview. Generally, I can find two other views that add information to the view, while at the same time adding a balance to the corners. Part of the format I use is the visual balance. When I encounter a knife photo with only one inset, if the knife and the inset are not sharing equal space I find the visual lopsided.

I give the full-length knives the most area in a rectangle that I can, so I run them diagonally.

I spent time making sure the spacing and the amount of area that the insets require are closely balanced. It's that unconscious 'thing' that makes or breaks an image. (I am very left-brained, so I need this structure.)

Here is where I will counter....

Some knives do NOT have a lot of extra information to show. Having a third view can be a struggle or redundant. It is at that point, that I look to fill in the extra space with a prop. Often the prop will have a complimenting color, or texture, or whatnot. It's an extra that helps to place the knife in a visually pleasing perspective.

Does the eye gravitate to the non-knife areas? I *hope* so! You *know* so! Is it stealing the thunder? Well, you know as well as I there comes a point where one wonders what the main subject is. The rocks shot above is a fairly good example. (there is a reason I haven't used them in years). But, I love that shot more than my traditional one, and will allow it to be.

But, I counter with this: Visual art is similar to music. Although we enjoy and tune into one primary instrument during a piece, it is complimented by other background instruments, supporting the solo. We are allowed a chance to enjoy everything. Without complimenting sounds or harmonies a single instrument is oftentimes barren and cold.

Your background is in advertising, where reader interest is measured in a tenths of a second scan. You WANT to hit them between the eyes with impact. In my portfolio shots, the viewer doesn't have to compete with other interests, and can take the time to discern the knife amongst the props and layout. Or so I'd like to think.

I have all five of Jim Weyer's 'Points of Interest' books. Without question, the props often play an equal or even LARGER role in the displays. It's a style that would not work to well in advertising, but lends itself to a portfolio shot and a coffee table book nicely. (I can only dream to acquire the museum's worth of objects that Jim used. :eek: )

In the end, what I try to do is provide crystal clear information about a knife, and the bonus is if I can evoke an emotion with my display. Sometimes the emotion aspect is enhanced by props--at the expense of information. As in all things, it's a balance of priorities.

Like Holger said, there will be thousands who disagree. With his OR my opinions. Potatoe, potahto. Thanks for the opportunity to think this out.

Coop
 
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Coop, to be honest, I wasn't even thinking of composition or information when I made my comments - I was actually thinking of the relevance of the prop to the focal object.

What's important is how you feel about the shot and how your client feels about the shot - especially if they're paying the bill! The rest of us are just rubberneckers (whether it's a retail print ad or a leather-bound coffee table book). Let's continue this discussion in Atlanta - I always enjoy talking with people who actually know how to use both sides of their brain. :cool:

And you know I love your work. :thumbup:
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For the two sets:

First Set I prefer the second "wheat" image, more impact, plus I find the pebbles distracting, my eye does not travel a path around the image but flickers around.

Second Set, I prefer the cable shot, I find the Black sheath too dominating in the first shot.

But I am slightly embarassed trying to offer critique on Coops images, they are so damn good!!!

As for the knives, beautifully done, love the 3 gold inserts in the blade of the second piece!

Stephen
 

SharpByCoop

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I'm liking all these opinions and observations. I want to know.

Stephen, the second photo also has the sheath included, offering that much more information.

On the second one, I purposely ran the sheath out of the image, because of its domination. It's heavy!

Holger, composition and information are supposed to be transparent. No wonder it wasn't in your radar. Regardless, it is something *I* have to consider every shot.

Relevance? Neither holds an argument for their worth. It's all about the overall effect. I think for critique sake, the rocks are just as both of you found. A little bit of work to find the subject.

BUT.... it is inescapable that when you see this image it doesn't draw you into the puzzle..... GOTCHA! ;) :D

Holger, I am just finishing up a true ad for a magazine and a book. I am going to send it to you for your advice. I am certain I will benefit from YOUR expertise!

Coop
 
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You sure grabbed my attention on all three displays Coop,

For what it is worth. In my youth I was a commercial layout artist for some major clients looking for that extra edge. The first few seconds of a photo display should attract the attention that separates the apple from the orange, that simple. You have done that and look forward to seeing your creative juices push the envelope even farther.
 
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