Constantin Korovin

Yesterday I have visited an exhibition of a leading Russian impressionist painter, Constantin Korovin, which now takes place at Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. I must say I was very impressed. The only part that was not so interesting to me was the one showing his theatrical activities. Nevertheless, this part impressed me by its legerity and accuracy. Without a doubt, this man was a very hard-working person. And there’s no need to comment about his talent, or I should even say genius.

The rest of the exhibitions left me with a lasting impression, despite the fact that I have previously seen his art works in Tretyakov Gallery, and some of the reproductions in printed version and also through Internet. However, reproductions are one thing, and real art pieces – is a completely different! This exhibition presents over 200 art pieces, which come from 20 different museums. Some of them are from private collections. The last time there was such an exhibition of Korovin was 90 years ago. I wonder when would be another opportunity to see all these pieces gathered in one place again. This exhibition is opened until August 2012. If you are interested in painting and are planning a trip to Russia, I would strongly recommend that you visit this extremely beautiful exhibition.

Inspired by my impressions after the visit, I decided to compose a set of reproductions of his paintings, which touched me particularly. I still remember how they look in real life, so that helps me a lot to select the reproductions which are the best in terms of color and contrast. Of course, I can’t be sure that they are 100% as real pieces, however, the following reproductions are very similar to the originals.

On a terrace – 1915

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Sri Lanka

Couple of months ago I came back from a trip to Sri Lanka. Not likely there is a chance to experience a new country from just a first two week visit. Nevertheless I was quite inspired with Sri Lanka! With its people, architecture and even the everyday street life. It was a sort of recon operation for me and the photos appeared to be more like scetches. Anyway I still like some of them and wish to show these few to you.


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Film and digital prints during the last 8 years

A little more than a year ago I posted a note in my russian blog entitled “Film and digital prints during the last seven years” (link to article in russian). That post was in response to the questions that I get frequently asked, questions like “I wonder if anybody is really using film anymore, other than a few rare enthusiasts?”. Today I can update the statistics with another year, 2011.

Background data

All the statistical data below is collected by an automated order processing system at the network of photo centres “Fotoproekt” (, link to site in english).

  • “Fotoproekt” has been working in the retail business since February 10, 2004.
  • As of today, it incorporates a print centre, eight customer service outlets and a photography education centre.
  • It currently serves more than 165,000 clients.
  • Most of the clients are in Moscow (Russia) and the surrounding area.
  • A small fraction of the orders comes from the other regions of Russia (mail orders).

Obviously, the sample is not completely representative, since it cannot account for all the variables of the market as a whole. However, the data still presents a certain interest.

The chart below shows a ratio of film and digital print orders for the last eight years, 2004 to 2011. The data is calculated based on the cumulative surface area of all of the prints (in square meters).

The share of film as a photography medium has, undoubtedly, significantly reduced during this time. This trend continues, though it is not as strong during the last few years. However, let’s have a look at the absolute numbers, i.e. number of developed film rolls:

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A photoset by David Alan Harvey

Let me show you a set of works by a wonderful American photographer David Alan Harvey. If you’re in love with beautiful color and work on revealing it in you own photographs, you should by all means see this set! Getting as many visual experiences as possible is the great staple for any present-day photographer. No need to mention that David’s photography presents much more artistic value than just plain color solutions.


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How to use curves

This article is mainly addressed to those new to photography, although may be useful for more advanced photographers.

There are plenty of articles written on curves today, but at the same time not enough. Most of these articles are about Curves tool in Adobe Photoshop. But curves themselves are much broader and important term. Although it is really easier to study how they work in Photoshop, it should be comprehended that curves are integrated in almost any photography software, one way or another. Even if you do not see familiar instrument, it probably exists and affects image. Even when you adjust Brightness or Contrast in Lightroom, you are actually control some kind of curve. Not to mention displaying picture on your screen is impossible without gamma-adjustment and managing brightness-contrast characteristics through display ICC profile, which are also controlled by curve. Moreover, when you shoot on film, image which you see after developing is affected by characteristic curve of particular film you have used.

Thus, despite what kind of camera you use and how much attention you pay to developing image in either dark or light room, understanding curves is rather crucial. And not only for photographers: scanning clerks, color-correctors, designers, print workers and many other specialists who work with raster graphics use curves. Hence, curves is primary (often the only one) and most effective tool to process pictures.

One can write a whole book on curves, and I will not be surprised if it already exists. This article is by no means exclusive or, moreover, comprehensive. In fact, my laziness made me write it – it’s easier for me to write one article than to explain the same thing to students every time. Articles I have read do not serve my teaching purpose, for one reason or another. Another reason why I wrote it is that none of the articles I happened to read presented an adequate guide to Curves. Most of them are too focused on Curves in Photoshop, not elaborating enough on key relationships between curves shape and its effect on picture.

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