Thursday, January 31, 2008

Trees Make Great Art

One of our favorite subjects to photograph is trees. At any time of year, the architecture, color, and texture of trees makes them interesting and beautiful to look at. Here are a few examples of trees that we've shot during different seasons. The Japanese Maple below was shot at the Portland Japanese Garden during Fall. The bare tree next to it was shot in Herault, France. The moss-covered trunks on the bottom-left are shown as they appear in the heart of winter, near Portland. Finally, the interesting-shaped pine, which appears to have lost its lower limbs, resides on the Oregon Coast and is shown during Spring.

For info about trees, check out these useful sites:

Spirit of Trees
American Forests
Int'l Society of Arboriculture
National Arbor Day Foundation
National Tree Trust
Nat'l Alliance for Community Trees
See Spirit of Trees for a more exhaustive list

Saturday, January 26, 2008

White Mats or Black Mats?

Venice, Italy © Mesman Images

As photographers, we've always tried to present our images in the best light possible. To that end, we've almost always preferred to display our images against a dark background, as this brings out the colors more or, as they say, it makes the colors "pop".

In the last couple of years or so, there has been a noticeable trend towards using dark mats when framing photography. This is obviously due to the aforementioned reason. For the most part, the question of whether or not someone wants a white or black mat is really just a matter of aesthetic preference.

Is there a time when using black mats should be avoided? Well, one situation that would definitely call for lighter mats is when there is low light where the image will be hung. A real-life example we're experiencing at the moment is our current exhibit at the Daily Market & Cafe in Northeast Portland. This is a great venue, but they haven't yet installed lighting to illuminate the artwork on the walls (With all of the great improvements that they've made to their market and cafe since acquiring it, it's certainly understandable that little details like this are still on the drawing board). For now, the overhang above the walls is producing shadows that leave the artwork displayed somewhat obscured.

We started out by hanging 30 framed images in black mats, but, realizing that they are somewhat difficult to see, we're swapping them out little by little for images in white mats.

All things being equal, which color mat would you prefer to have in your home?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Photo Exhibit at the Daily Market & Cafe

Languedoc Rousillon, France
© Mesman Images

We've just hung 36 framed images at the Daily Market and Cafe on Halsey in Northeast Portland. If it's been awhile since you've passed through this part of town (near Normandale Park), you'll be surprised to find this inviting hangout in the middle of the otherwise residential area.

Owners Prescott Allen & Woody Wheeler have done a terrific job of transforming the place into a relaxing little oasis where you can eat, drink, and enjoy free WiFi. They offer great coffee and breakfasts in the morning and great lunch and dinner with wine and beer available. See Willamette Week's complete review by clicking the link below.

Daily Market & Cafe
5250 NE Halsey St
Portland, OR
(503) 503-546-1833

Willamette Week Review of Daily Market

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Are Chinese-Made Pet Toys Safe?

German Shepherd Puppy
©Mesman Images

With all of the panic about the safety risks of Chinese-made toys for children, why haven't we heard anything at all about Chinese-made toys for pets? After all, it seems that the biggest risk for the children's toys is that they might place something toxic into their mouths. Well, the whole point of pet toys IS to place it in the mouth!

Every time we hear about the risk of lead poisoning, they always say that lead is most hazardous to children AND PETS! So, if the Chinese manufacturers have no qualms about putting lead in our children's toys, why wouldn't we assume that they'd do the same thing to our pets?

Our dog, Lucie, has an arsenal of squeeky toys, all of which were purchased through reputable pet shops. So, we gave those toys a close look the other day and, lo and behold, every last one of them says "Made in China".

We think this is a matter that should absolutely be looked into. Don't you?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Exhibit at Adagio Cafe on Belmont

Claude Monet's Garden, Giverny, France
© Mesman Images

Dave Farcas has been kind enough to let us display and sell some of our work in his charming Adagio Cafe on Southeast Belmont. This is a truly unique, European-style coffee house, where you'll feel more like you're in someone's cozy home than in a place of business.

If you're in Southeast Portland, come on in from the cold, plop yourself in front of the fireplace, and enjoy a fresh cup of artisan-made coffee or tea. Of course, while you're there, we hope that you'll enjoy looking at our images, too!

Call for hours:

Adagio Cafe
(503) 235-7036
3001 SE Belmont
Portland, OR 97214

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happy New Year

© Mesman Images

The New Year brought a close to our busiest holiday season ever. On top of the usual December rush and exhibiting at Studio 101, the shows we had going on at the Japanese Garden and at Coopers Coffee really kept us occupied.

The "Through the Lens" show at the Japanese Garden was a great venue that gave us an opportunity to sell our framed and matted prints, note cards, and magnets. The garden did a great job of converting their pavillion into an art gallery. It was a very classy place to shop for gifts or to simply enjoy the work of the 13 participating photographers.

Coopers Coffee provided us with a large space on which to hang a number of our framed images. After enjoying multiple sales there, we closed out that show by selling a small version of our popular Portland neon sign collage shown above.

Now that those two shows are over, we'll take a little time to improve our presence online.

It was great to have family visiting over the holidays! When you work long hours, seven days a week as we do, it means a lot to be able to spend a little time with loved ones and escape the daily grind. As always, it went by way too fast . . .