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In Summary -- Careless, but Not Criminal

So if I had to boil down John's assessment, we have Bonhams using an advanced photographic technology (stacking / slicing images, to achieve better focus across the dial of the watch), but being very sloppy / careless in the execution. They were not trying to hide or cover up any elements of the watch, but only to produce a more accurate, attractive image for the catalog.

This seems very different from what we saw Christie's do with a Skipperera, using Photoshop to remove marks from the dial of a watch. That was not careless or accidental.

To my way of thinking, we have Bonhams being careless in including this Jarama image in the auction catalog [should have been caught in quality control], but that is far better than what we saw from Christie's.



: I asked our good friend John Cote, who is a professional
: collector and life-long watch collector, what was going on with
: this image, and here is his reply.
You asked for it...So, to
: me there are two problems with this image. There is the
: "slice" problem and then the typical crappy
: photography problem.

: Regarding the slice problem, I have a sort of vague theory, which
: is partially related to the crappy image problem. The theory has
: to do with one of two relatively new digital photography
: techniques, which involve merging layers/multiple images
: together to make one enhanced image. These two techniques are
: called HDR (High Dynamic Range) and Focus Stacking. Both of
: these techniques involve making the camera take multiple
: images/layers, which are then combined to make an enhanced
: image. HDR simply involves making several images at different
: exposures, which are then combined to make an image with a
: broader range of tones from shadow to highlight so that the
: resulting image has more tonal detail/range. Focus stacking
: involves taking multiple images/layers at different focus
: settings...from close to far and combining them into one image
: so that the resulting image has greater depth of field/focus
: than is physically possible with a single normal image. There
: many positives and negatives to both of these techniques. In my
: theory the negative we see here is that when you combine the
: stack of images using either technique, the resulting stack must
: be in perfect register to get a good final image. Something is
: out of register in the above/Jarama image.

: Now for the discussion of the second problem, crappy photography,
: which will be a bit of a rant about auction houses. Auction
: houses are for profit enterprises. Most of them have obviously
: decided that paying real photographers to take their pictures is
: too expensive. The accountants/bean counters, in their wisdom,
: have figured out that the balance between the outlay involved in
: paying for good photos is not profitable compared to having a
: low paid staffer snap half ass'd pictures. All of the pictures
: we have discussed lately seem to me to have been taken assembly
: line style using a commercial light box or tent with flat boring
: lighting. The way to put some "POP" back into these
: flat/lifeless assembly line images is with modern photo magic
: like HDR, Focus Stacking and heavy handed post processing in a
: mass-editing program like Adobe LightRoom. In theory, it should
: be possible to have a robot change out watches in a light box
: and trip a camera’s shutter then have the resulting batch of
: images be transferred automatically into a hot folder and
: processed. However, the reality, as evidenced by the auction
: house images we have seen of late, is that we just aren’t
: there yet. Assembly line images are just second rate and
: sometimes if things really go wrong, as in the Jarama
: picture…the images are just plain F…er…messed up.

: On a side note, my employment history through stints in sales and
: sales management with such fortune 100 companies as Fuji Film,
: Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG and HP has been a constant fight
: with the “bean counters”…but in the end, in our "for
: profit" world, the bean counters are usually right…even
: when they aren’t.

: Huge thanks to John for this assessment.

: Jeff

: +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

: :

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