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Dale Hoopingarner

When we first saw Dale Hoopingarner's images come through our studio, we were struck by their exquisite detail, beauty, and decidedly different look. Hoopingarner is not a photographer in the traditional sense, using a camera to capture his images. Instead, he uses an Epson 4490 digital scanner to "scan" his subject matter: flowers; leaves; and details of nature. The end result he calls a "Scanograph."

"My style is one that is more of a "growing" composition: The plants arranged as they might have occurred in the garden or field, but usually more minimalistic than a full flower arrangement, letting the flowers speak for themselves," Hoopingarner said. "Photographers usually go out to find their subjects. I bring my subjects to me, so I have to be able to visualize the possibilities as they are in the field: a flower; some leaves; an interesting texture of bark."

Hoopingarner Explains the Scanography Process:
"The scanography technique results in unique images. The contrast of brilliantly crisp foreground colors and edges is paired with a narrow depth of field (usually no more than 1/2 inch), yielding "scanographs" with wonderfully rich shading and a unique perspective. Since the image is scanned line-by-line, the lighting and shadows are different than any conventional lens. The very high resolution possible (I usually scan at a minimum of 1200 dpi) allows the images to be enlarged to 35x45 --and often more -- bringing out details in a flower or leaf that can't be achieved for an entire arrangement with a conventional macro lens.

"Once the image is captured it is then digitally edited to do two things:

1. Remove any pollen, hairs or dust that no amount of plate cleaning can totally eliminate.

2. Make the background 100% black.

"Because of the high-resolution of the images, this process usually takes 10-15 hours per image, and often more.

"This is all just the mechanics of the process. The artistry is seeing the possibilities of flower and leaf arrangements that will flow together well in a scanned image -- balanced, pleasing. Since the image is created by layering the flowers and leaves on the scanner surface, the results aren't known until a preview scan is made -- and often exchanged multiple times for another arrangement."

The Final Step: Making a Print
Hoopingarner uploads his finished images to West Coast Imaging's Print Lab, where we print them on our Epson 9800 with K3 Photo Black Inks.

"Part of the scanography technique is to digitally edit the background to be 100% black," Hoopingarner said. "The photo-black inks finish the process, making the flowers pop out of the print on that rich inky blackness."

"There's a lot to worry about as an artist, both on the creative side (What's next? Does this piece "work"?) and on the business side (What price? Which gallery? What about the internet?)," said Hoopingarner. "With WCI, I've never had to worry about printing my images...the resulting prints just call out quality. One less worry is quite comforting in this day-and-age."

Hoopingarner's images will be included in the May 2007 Franklin Art Association's group show at the Norfolk, Massachusetts, library. View more of Hoopingarner's images in his WCI Featured Artist portfolio.

Other Links:

Hoopingarner's Website

View Other Featured Artists




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