Experimental Images : A Finkl & Sons


A. Finkl and Sons Co.

Their website reads:

Welcome to A. Finkl & Sons

A. Finkl & Sons is the world’s leading supplier of forging die steels, plastic mold steels, die casting tool steels and custom open-die forgings, processing over 100,000 tons of steel each year. Finkl open die forgings are produced at our fully integrated production facility in the heart of Chicago’s Near North Side. These products are distributed domestically and to more than 18 countries worldwide.

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Not long ago I did a bike ride crossing from the Chicago Lakefront Trail over to the Native Foods Cafe in Wicker Park. To get there you have to cross a few streets to reach the restaurant. One of these is Cortland Street. You know you are on it because there are railroad tracks that cross from one side of the steel plant to the other. You have to keep your wits about you otherwise your bike will go down (and you with it).

The doors to the plant are sometimes open and you can peek inside. What on earth do they make here? Steel forgings. And to give you some idea of how large these can get they have one of their pieces mounted on its end at the corner of one of their buildings. That is the what you see in the photograph I made.

A Triptych?

triptych |ˈtriptik|

a picture or relief carving on three panels, typically hinged together side by side and used as an altarpiece.

• a set of three associated artistic, literary, or musical works intended to be appreciated together.

ORIGIN mid 18th cent. (denoting a set of three writing tablets hinged or tied together): from tri-‘three,’ on the pattern of diptych .

Well, yes and no. It is an image created with a small sensor Nikon camera and the original is part of the four repetitions you see. The remaining three repetitions are the triptych, right? In days gone by these were usually part of the decor in churches. In a sense here in America the god we worship is that of Capitalism and the shrines to that god are places like foundries and other places where manufacturing is undertaken. So in a sense this is a religious object as well.

Technical Discussion

Cameras like the Nikon Coolpix S9100 and the Nikon 1 V1 have such small sensors that despite their obvious abilities the photographically insane still rant about the supposed inability to print larger images. That in part was what drove me to create this image. It builds on the fact that the final product is made from four “too small” images to create a single image capable of being printed as a large print.

To make this image you move it from Adobe Lightroom 4 into Adobe Photoshop 5.1. Lightroom is where the initial “development” of the .DNG file is done. Photoshop is used to create four copies of the image on separate layers. You can then delete the original layer. Next you make the “canvas” of the image four times as wide as the original. They you move each image to the right so that they all line up and are adjacent to one another.

I used the color replacement function to go after the color tiles on the building end. Because the tiles have varied reflectances it take at least three efforts to replacing most of the color on each of the three “copies” of the original. The tiles at the top should be a bit lighter than those in the middle lower section and the shadowed ones behind the forging are a third set of tiles whose colors should be darker still.

It turns out to be a bit of fun. You get to see what is essentially a mundane piece of landscape in a slightly different form. It takes on a visage reminiscent of graphic posters done on heavy stock.