Heritage, access and production values

Sometimes it’s good to lose oneself. Yesterday Karen and I took the short Drive from Beckenham to Chiddingstone Castle. It was a Bank Holiday and so we expected the coast and larger venues like Hever Castle to be too busy, and so elected Chiddingstone as we’d not visited before.

The weather was glorious and access poor but it didn’t spoil the day. It’s little things like having compacted gravel paths, which are difficult to push on, turn into uncompacted form  as then pushing through five inches of small stone gravel path is almost impossible. This resulted in my having to find an alternative route  back to the car which involved pushing over soft grass – doable but tough after a while.

Anyway wheelchair accessibility and the heritage industry are not the point of this post; rather production values are. As usual on such a trip a took a few photos and when back home reviewed them and published a couple on Flickr and Facebook. Here are to clips of the images in situ but it doesn’t really show how they looked.

Chiddingstone FB

Chiddingstone Flickr

The Flickr presentation was much more impressive than Facebook. It utilised the whole of the screen whereas in FB it was small even when click on and shown in photo mode. The same issue comes up with this blog in that work presented in a square or portrait aspect ratio always looks more impressive because it utilises more of the screen whereas panoramic or landscape formats do not.

The way around this on the blog is to ensure that the output values of the image are large enough to enable it to exploit the monitor size when clicked on but small enough in resolution to be effective without using up precious memory. For example the same image is shown twice below. Click on each and see the difference.



The upper image was exported from Lightroom at 6 inches on its longest edge at 80 PPI and so when I came to present it here its maximum sharp resolution (ie 100%) is 480 ppi. But this blog width is good up to 640pp so by forcing it to present at 640 you can see the image is soft and out of focus.

Compare that to the lower image which was exported at 30 inches on its longest edge at 100 ppi. This will be sharp up to 3000ppi. This it is shown on the blog in a slightly smaller form.

The cost of the difference is memory as the upper image uses all of 91.3kb whereas the lower image uses 2.78MB – so over 20 times larger.

So what?

Well it seems to me that no one product offers a wholly acceptable form of output for my work. This blog theme is a decent way of showing work but some of my stuff looks better shown physically as the scale is always a compromise with showing work online. But physically showing work doesn’t get the coverage an online presence achieves. For example this year my blog has received over 1500 viewers and 680 visitors.

So life’s a compromise and so will any of the ways I end up exhibiting my work. Format, accessibility, cost, time to create and effort will all need to be considered carefully.

PS. It’s interesting that even when I click on the larger lower diptych it doesn’t arrive at 100 percent of its size but rather at the largest blog size of 1024ppi. mmmm….


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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