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Zapplication


#1

Hi Folks,

I got a postcard in the mail the other day about
www.zapplication.org

It appears to be a group of show promoters who have gotten together
to design a system where you can submit a standardized electronic
application that will go to a large number of shows depending on your
selection. You pay on-line for the service. It includes shows like
Cherry Creek, Lakefront, Uptown and St. James Court among others.

One of my major concerns with this process is what happens with
folks who are really proficient in photo shop (or have a friend who
is) and can really tweak their slides. I am concerned that the
application process for these shows will become about who is the best
at manipulating their slides vs. how good their work really looks.
Any flaws in a piece…zap them out of there!

Just curious as to what others are thinking of this. I agree with
the standardized application being a great idea, and I wish every
show had you label the slides the same way. I’m just not so sure I
like the “easy to manipulate” quality of it. Yeah, if someone’s work
doesn’t measure up in person they can kick them out the following
year. It still knocks an honest artist out of some of the best shows
running in the meantime though!

Karen


#2

Karen,

I understand your concerns and share your wish for a level playing
field. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that a requirement for
physical slides somehow translates into prevention of digital
manipulation of images.

My slides are produced from my digital files, which have in some
cases been cleaned up (nasty little pieces of lint that creep into
the background) and rebalanced (the light wasn’t QUITE right that
time, but I like the image). Those digital images then go to a
service bureau, who turns them into very nice slides for me. Those
slides get submitted to shows and, having seen them projected
alongside “real film” slides, are virtually indistinguishable.

In the long run, folks who misrepresent their work will not be
successful in this business. The promoters will “blacklist” them,
the buyers won’t buy from them, and their peers won’t give them the
time of day (not that they really care about that). So while it
doesn’t help you directly, the field will ultimately cull itself and
your reputation will extend beyond the hype of others.

A friend who is a master glassblower and I were talking today on the
topic of entering competitions and getting slides together. He
related that in art school (a very prestigious one), they were told
that it’s always worth getting the very best photography, because the
most impressive slides photographically would have an edge, sometimes
carrying less-than-stellar work into places it wouldn’t otherwise
have gone.

Unfortunately, I think this is, to some degree, a truism. I also
think that it doesn’t matter whether that is done through digital
manipulation or funky lighting and mirrors.

So the best I can do is to do the best I can do, make sure the work
is represented as well as I can afford to represent it, and trust
that things will work out over time.

Karen Goeller
@Karen_Goeller
Hand-crafted artisan jewelry


#3

Hi Karen,

  One of my major concerns with this process is what happens with
folks who are really proficient in photo shop (or have a friend
who is) and can really tweak their slides. I am concerned that the
application process for these shows will become about who is the
best at manipulating their slides vs. how good their work really
looks. Any flaws in a piece...zap them out of there! 

The manipulation you describe can be done almost as easily when
slides are the end result; the fact that it’s an online application
merely eliminates one step (outputting to slides). In other words,
there’s nothing new about the manipulation of images for jurying,
only technological advances that continue to make the process more
efficient. Your concern is a valid one, but it’s no more germane now
with the advent of online applications than it has been for the past
ten years or so in regard to slides.

Beth


#4

We were just discussing this as a friend was submitting some digital
photos for a contest.

You have to be pretty good at Photoshop to do this. I bet most
artists just don’t have time to do all that it takes. They are too
busy doing their art.

And most people don’t know that you can do the same thing at a full
service professional photo processor: I can take my slide film in,
and tell them to push or pull the exposure on developing or enhance
colors, I can take the slides and have them do the same, enhance or
otherwise.

Where there is a will to cheat, there is always a way. I wouldn’t
lose sleep over this one.


#5

How many shows actually accept “digital images” for jury? I don’t
know of many. That’s why I chose to pass on their offer.


#6
I am concerned that the application process for these shows will
become about who is the best at manipulating their slides vs. how
good their work really looks. 

I used a photographer a while back who has an advanced, all digital
system. The image was optically scanned from the camera directly to a
Macintosh computer (with two monitors). This guy was obsessively
compelled to tweak the images and “improve” what nature has provided.
When an iolite gemstone ended up looking more like a tanzanite, I
had to tell him to stop. Sure the tanzanite would have been more
expensive (desirable), but the person buying the piece would be
disappointed. I felt I was crossing some ethical boundary. Hopefully
other artists would feel the same way… but probably not.

All the best,
Dave

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio
Charlotte, NC (USA)


#7

Since it’s not easy to get good jewelry photos, I think most artists
edit their photos to make them look more the way the pieces actually
look in real life—not to make them look better than they really
are. And yes, slide submissions have always meant acceptance was at
least as much about good photography as about good art/craft
work…

Janet in Jerusalem


#8

WARNING…WARNING…Cynical statement alert!

Do we really think that competitive shows really judge applications
just on the quality of slides? I’ve seen the slides of some artists
who consistently get into high quality shows and honestly, they
aren’t any better than some who are just breaking into shows but
still can’t get in. I’ve also seen the quality of the work that
some of these “experienced” guys get away with and just have to
shake my head. It’s enough to make a person very discouraged…and,
of course, cynical.

Larry


#9
The manipulation you describe can be done almost as easily when
slides are the end result; the fact that it's an online
application merely eliminates one step (outputting to slides).  In
other words, there's nothing new about the manipulation of images
for jurying, only technological advances that continue to make the
process more efficient.  Your concern is a valid one, but it's no
more germane now with the advent of online applications than it has
been for the past ten years or so in regard to slides. 

Hmmm, I am not sure that I’ve ever heard of slides being manipulated
via photo programs. 35mm slide film takes great shots. How would
one manipulate them? Outputting to slides? One can do this? None
of my printers print to slides! Please explain. I have heard that
one can scan pieces and have slides made of those scans, but those
would also be digital, not something that would be on slide film.
Perhaps, I’m not understanding?


#10
Outputting to slides?  One can do this?  None of my printers print
to slides! Please explain.  I have heard that one can scan pieces
and have slides made of those scans, but those would also be
digital, not  something that would be on slide film. Perhaps, I'm
not understanding? 

Professional photo labs can take your positive or negative film (or
individual slides) and digitize the images on a CD. You then
manipulate the images to your heart’s content, burn a CD of the
result, take it back to the lab and have them output to slides. No,
you can’t do it with a printer; it takes special equipment.

Beth


#11

A scanned image (or digital photo) of an artwork can be manipulated
with graphics programs and then a slide is taken of the screen. I
know people who were doing this 15 years ago. The only problem they
had was the curve on the monitor screen, so they would use the
largest monitor they could borrow, and kept the image a little
small. With flat panel displays this is no longer a problem. Anyone
can make their own slides. They also told me that the light from the
monitor was usually sufficient. I haven’t done it myself, being a
believer in small monitors so my computer (or TV) doesn’t need a
room of its own. I have a flat panel now and will be experimenting.


#12
A scanned image (or digital photo) of an artwork can be
manipulated with graphics programs and then a slide is taken of the
screen. 

There is no need to resort to these types of measures when you can
just send the digital file to a lab and have high quality slides
shipped back to you.

Paul


#13

There is no reason I can think of to use screen capture for digital
image to slide conversion. A digital scan is a file that, like any
computer generated file, is simply a set of data that can be
manipulated and saved and output on its own and is not related to the
screen at all! Perhaps whoever told you to do this didn’t have a
proper photo manipulation program.


#14

Ok, Orchidians…What do you really think about the Zapplication
process? Is anyone else out there frustrated that we (I) have to hire
someone to help me fill out an application for a craft show? Being a
certified technophobic, I had a total melt down over the whole
process, and I have a feeling I am not alone. Do you think it is a
positive direction, not that it will change? How do you think our
images will look during the jurying process? Has the jury make-up for
ACC also changed, as I have heard rumored?

CBBOZ (Cry Baby Because of Zapplication) aka Marlene

Marlene Richey
Richey Jewelry Gallery
15 Wharf . Portland . ME . 04101
207.772.5252


#15

Hi, Marlene,

I actually like Zappplication. Sorry.

But I can see that for someone who doesn’t have/isn’t comfortable
with photo editing software, it would be a drag. I don’t know how
easy/economical it is to use the help they offer, but it seems as
though it must be convenient, anyway.

I like digital applications because I don’t have to worry about
things going astray in the mail, running out of slides, whether to
send dupes or originals, SASE’s, sufficient postage… And the Zapp
site makes it a snap to submit more applications, once your images
are uploaded. The more shows they get on board, the more convenient
it will be.

On the other hand, now, instead of merely needing to have or buy
photography skills to show off our actual skills, we have to worry
about whether the people who get into shows will be the ones who
have or can afford the most retouching skills…

Regardless, I think digital is the way of the future, and we’re just
going to have to cope.

–Noel


#16

I have not yet applied to a show using Zapp, so I think I need to be
convinced. I see that the service is free to the artists and the Zapp
web site explains all the benefits and savings to the promoters - so
does this mean they won’t stick up up for such stiff application fees
after they switch to Zapp? I’ll believe that when I see it.

It seems like there is a real opportunity here for photographers to
also offer Zapplication set-up as part of their service. There is
already a barrier to entry for those who do not have professional
quality photography.

If it really is cheaper and easier I might be for it. The folks who
are all a flutter about online applications are the ones who are
already good at this kind of thing. I would hope that this shift will
be handled in a way that rembers that the object of a jury is to find
the best artists.

Stephen Walker


#17

I like the application process because I do not have to deal with
slides. I have a good working knowledge of Adobe CS. The process is a
good change and I believe, will be much easier for all of us in the
long run. Of course this is just my opinion.

Susan


#18

Well, the first time I had to fill out a Zapplication - I also found
it daunting - mostly because I don’t know Photoshop very well. But
with a few phone calls and one 4 hour session in Photoshop elements -
I struggled thru by the deadline, only to have it extended for some
phoney reason - like the deadline was artificially early to get folks
to try it. I suspect that some of the shows favorites weren’t in yet.

In defense of the idea of Zapplication, I absolutely love the idea
of posting your pictures once and using them many times, rather than
copying slides ad nauseun.

I think that Marlene is correct that the jury system is compromised
with Zapplication. I have spoken at length to a show promoter who
shared the following - and I’m repeating it as carefully
as I can. Promoters were invited to a seminar to aquaint them with
the Zapplication process - and the I’m sharing came via
the promoter from that seminar. To have Zapplication process
applications for a show - the promoter pays a fee, something like
$12,000 per show. Zapplication requires that the promoter use
Zapplication jury people - the promoter can chose which ones, but it
is a limited list. The promoters concerns were that he would have to
raise fees to artists to cover the upfront cost, and that using the
same jury people for all shows would eventually mean that all the
shows start to look alike - exactly what he wanted to avoid. I
vaguely remember hearing that some national group of artists - NAIA
or something like that started Zapplication with the intent of
making the art shows consistent.

I can not speak for the truth of what’s going on with Zapplication,
only to repeat what this promoter told me when I asked why he was
not using it. I’m probably going to be blacklisted for the shows
I’ve applied for now - but I sure would like to see some of the
Zapplication management respond to the concerns voiced by Marlene
Richey here on Orchid.

What do you guys and gals think?

Judy Hoch


#19

(Rant) - regarding jury pictures -

I’m beginning to believe that even though you take good pictures in
focus and fill the frame - the juries like to get their jollies from
the pictures taken by professional photographers that add glitz and
glitter. True for slide pictures as well. The guidelines for
Zapplication permit adjusting colors, focus, detail, cleaning up
junk in the picture - in other words - not showing the work as it
would photograph with film - but greatly enhancing the image.

It isn’t about the work, it’s about the pizzaz. Now back to the
bench…

Judy Hoch


#20

Hi Judy:

You bring up an interesting point because I was told that the jury
wants to see a plain grey, black, or white background with nothing
to interfere with the viewing of the image. Photographers told me
that artists have 2 sets made…first for the jury and then a second
with pizazz for the promo stuff (this always seemed wicked expensive
to me). Is this not true? Do artists send their best shots with the
fancy fading backgrounds to the jury? I’m getting ready to apply for
next year and it some feed back on this would really help me.

Thanks Kim