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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Vision To Visuals: Audacity!

A multimedia artist who embodies zest for living

The larger-than-life vision of Schmidt's Audacity series inevitably had to be matched by an equally grand exhibition design that presented each image as a work of art, conservation and entertainment. Schmidt sent us a disc full of his images and left everything from there on—testing for color, resolution, size, choosing final print materials and mounting structures—for the Duggal team to decide. Since Schmidt is a true globetrotter, working with him meant being in touch with him across multiple time zones and making virtual decisions. Andrea Tamburello and Al Kamhi, who work closely with artists in our company, coordinated this effort, surveying the gallery space, coordinating the details of printing each one of his 40 pieces and choosing appropriate mounting structures within an extraordinarily tight, two-week production timeline. We even designed extra modular walls to create more space in the gallery to adequately show all of Schmidt's 40 images and created the lighting plan to highlight each photograph. We chose a metallic photographic material to complement the uniqueness of his works. We mounted and frontlit each piece in such a manner that it gave the impression of being lit through backlit lightboxes. The largest piece in the show at 12 feet wide by three feet high was hung directly from the ceiling. Another large piece was printed as a giant canvas stretched on a custom wood frame.

Five hundred people turned up at the opening of Audacity, including an appearance by Isabella Rossellini. Everyone seemed absolutely mesmerized by the photographs. Schmidt describes his favorite picture in the show as the one of the model Olga and the chimpanzee sitting at a bar counter: "The atmosphere of that shot is a lucky catch; they were both in tune, and you could feel it."

Schmidt shoots with Canon EOS 5Ds and EOS-1Ds Mark IIIs. He describes the feeling of seeing his digital images on large printed pieces as "highly fulfilling, and the reason I do the exhibits. The sharpness of the image can be deceiving on the screen, so I choose Duggal because they always give you the best quality possible for your print. Working with Duggal is a dream come true; they go above and beyond to make your project come to life. My gratitude is endless."

I remain forever grateful to photographers like Schmidt who allow us to push our aesthetic and imaginative capabilities. The mesmerizing beauty of the works and the success of the exhibition aside, I choose to take the most important thing Schmidt communicates through his works. "Life is very, very short," he says. "I try to show everyone how incredible it is out there, off the beaten path, and inspire to make them travel and do things out of the ordinary before time has run out."

Elliott Erwitt once said of photographers: "I don't know many photographers and I'm not terribly interested in them. I find them terribly serious in a very boring way. I don't like to be serious." Schmidt is the very opposite of someone who takes himself too seriously. Says Erwitt, "I love Schmidt's photos for the alternate universe that they portray that is, in fact, his reality. He really does spend afternoons playing in the California surf dressed as a chicken, getting as close as possible to a lion on safari in South Africa...for the sake of capturing a moment that not everyone has the chance to experience. Through his lens, the viewer gets a glimpse of what it would be like to jump down the rabbit hole and see where it goes...."

Now this is the kind of photographer who would be fun to follow. For those of you interested, Schmidt is documenting the "insanity of his productions" for a film, which can be previewed on his website, thekristianworld.com.

For more information on Duggal, visit www.duggal.com or check out the new blog at www.duggal.com/connect and see their newest articles on the printing, photography and fine-art industries.


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