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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Photograph Of Many Uses

Frans Lanting takes us through his workflow for optimizing and tracking a photograph through multiple end uses

This Article Features Photo Zoom
Carolyn Kuan conducts the multimedia production of Frans Lanting's Origins, Geneva, Switzerland.
Unique Applications
One way in which Frans Lanting has distinguished himself from others in his profession comes from the unique ways in which Lanting's images have been used. Those ways include brilliant backdrops to TED Conference speakers, a stunning tiled image of a tiny frog enlarged to the size of a museum exterior wall and Lanting's own multimedia production, the LIFE Project. Lanting and his team don't balk at unusual requests for image uses, but rather work to find a way to bring his images to new settings in new ways.

For the LIFE Project, Lanting's passionate goal was to lyrically interpret the history of life on Earth. "It was my idea to bring together the appreciation for nature that comes from the tools and techniques of natural history photography and combine it with scientific insights about the evolution of life on Earth. I applied photography as a visual language to illustrate and interpret a scientific story."

To effectively and seamlessly realize his concept, Lanting had to consider not only how to project his images onto a 45-foot-wide screen accompanied by music composed by Philip Glass, but also the progression of images that tell the story of evolution on Earth.
In order to remap out-of-gamut colors, Lanting's team uses specific soft proofs on calibrated displays to ensure accuracy..
"The most difficult applications have been to bring images together in the LIFE concert performance in a way that makes them all look consistent," Lanting explains, "because they're being projected at a very large size, and there are many images used, and we have to bring them all into a common color space. That doesn't matter so much if you're displaying work as exhibition prints because they all live in their own rectangle, but it matters a lot when they're becoming part of a continuous display." He continues, "In addition to the single image, you also need to pay attention to the contrast—which images come before and which ones come after. In the case of a performance, continuity and flow are really important aspects."

Frans Lanting image projected at TED 2011 (photo by Tom Hennes); LIFE exhibit at the Bell Museum, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Frans Lanting and Rich Selling at West Coast Imaging.

In the end, Lanting and his staff have created a workflow that maximizes capture, streamlines postproduction and liberates application. But as the medium continues to change, the Frans Lanting Studio has to stay on top of new processes and appearances and prepare for the unexpected.

"Unfortunately, scanning or capture and one simple postprocessing treatment isn't enough," Lanting says. "We find that there's an ongoing need to continually be aware of images that have to be revisited."

And it's their persistence in learning new methods and discovering new ways to display images that ensures the Frans Lanting Studio's solid place at the top of the industry, continuing to bring the viewing public fascinating photographs from around the world displayed in increasingly ingenious ways.

See more of Frans Lanting's photography at www.lanting.com. Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler is a photographer, writer, educator and regular contributor to Digital Photo Pro. Visit www.amandaquintenz.com.


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