Re: typeface to go with photographs of various kinds

From: Kris Erickson ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 07/26/04-06:37:30 AM Z
Message-id: <>

Sorry, I didn't mean to duck the question; it's just if you're talking
about aesthetics and the decision making that goes into organizing a
body of work, it's a really big question... bear with me.

In my personal experience, I have chosen the look of the text well after
any decisions about the images have been made. I see that as a conscious
decision that may or may not be correct--however, I feel that the text
is secondary (tertiary?) to the images, and should be chosen always as a
complement to (rather than a distraction from) the images they go with.

A body I did a few years ago, flowers in cyanotype, has an introductory
statement in my handwriting (really my squiggle print/writing). Because
of the way the images were printed (the flowers appear to emerge out of
brush strokes), the original intent was to have the text in brush script
as a complement. Due to lack of space, however, the intro had to appear
in a more compact form (my writing), which kept the organic feel that
was wanted, but that was much more compact (and readable). To keep the
brushstroke flavour, the text was inverted on the page, and the
background became the cyanotype (a large brushstroke-shaped block of blue).

Regardless, all these aesthetic decisions were made after the original
prints were chosen and sequenced. I guess there was an inkling of what
the text was going to appear like during the initial stages (a sort of
'narrowing of the field' in terms of possibilities or options), but
nothing concrete was said or done until everything else had come together.

I chose Bulmer to complement a series of my photograms and a series of
my portraits that were shown in the same gallery space, and the only
real reason I can say why is that it reminded me of the face that the
Rockwell Kent illustrated version of Moby Dick was set in (which may
indeed have been Bulmer), because the pursuit and development of the two
bodies had seemed alternately like exploring uncharted waters, pursuing
elusive ideas, or exorcizing certain (institutional) demons. Strange,
elaborate, and tenuous connections at best--plus the fact that it was a
simple face, and I liked it.

perhaps i'll stop there.

Ryuji Suzuki wrote:

> From:
> Subject: Re: typeface to go with photographs of various kinds
> Date: Sun, 25 Jul 2004 20:02:23 -0400
>>Bringhurst's book, "The elements of typographic style," is one of
>>the definitive books out there, in my opinion. It's very complete,
>>and very well argued. Anything anyone can say here is probably put
>>much better by him in that volume.
> Yes I use this book. But what I wanted to see discussion here is what
> kind of factors from photography side people take into account
> when deciding the face, not the info on typography itself. I gave up
> on this one anyway, though... (no relevant response so far.)
>>1. Readability: a familiar type face (Times, Garamond, Palatino, or
>>Perpetua--faces books and newspapers are commonly set in) or a
>>simple face (Optima, Univers--faces often used for signage and
>>advertisement headings and brief passages) are often best.
> This still leaves huge variety of type faces, and it doesn't consider
> photographic aspects at all. I somehow think it's a huge mismatch to
> put Garamond-set text by silver gelatin prints of modern subject
> matters made from commercial material. Similarly, I don't think it's a
> good thing to use Optima with many alt processes including hand coated
> silver gelatin. Don't ask me why -- that's the kind of things I want
> to learn now.
>>2. Overused type faces: Courier (a very typewriter-looking face), as
>>well as the common "web" fonts, are frequently overused. Although
>>they can often suffice on screen, I would argue that they don't look
>>'right' on the printed page (it feels like there is a lack of
>>maturity or an edge of naivety--amateurism? Maybe just personal
>>taste ;-)
> I don't know if you are specific about Courier or typewriter faces in
> general. Courier and Prestige are quite different. But I don't think
> one can do much about web... What are the common "web fonts?" Any
> font can be specified in html pages but if the browser doesn't have
> the font, that is it and things get displayed with default font.
>>3. Rarer faces: some of the rarer faces, especially when they differ
>>slightly (subtly) from the common faces, are quite exquisite. Bulmer
>>is a personal favourite of mine. So are Joanna and Californian.
> Bulmer is nice. But it is said to be an ATF version of Baskerville and
> it's remarkably similar to some digital versions of "Baskerville."
> (I see differences from original Baskerville though).
> --
> Ryuji Suzuki
> "You have to realize that junk is not the problem in and of itself.
> Junk is the symptom, not the problem."
> (Bob Dylan 1971; source: No Direction Home by Robert Shelton)
Received on Mon Jul 26 08:33:41 2004

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