Philadelphia Street Photography – And Quick Redbubble Metal Print Review

Philadelphia Street Photography - 0943

I decided to eschew naming (most of) my street photography photos with nifty names. I think it’s best to leave it up to the viewer’s imagination. If I name a photo, I’ve imparted my judgment and biases onto the photo. While that is fine for many types of photography, one aspect of street photography that I like is that it captures a slice of life and the human condition, but it doesn’t always offer the viewer the entire context. Obviously this is a true statement of photography in general, as you never get to see what is outside the frame. But the stage for street photography is busy and chaotic, which means there is much more going on outside the frame than inside.

And if you have perused my Street Collection, you probably noticed I like starbursts and long shadows. All of my street photography outings so far have been in the last few hours of the day, and that is with purpose, as can be seen in the photo above. That doesn’t mean I will never shoot on the street at an earlier time, but I think capturing the long shadows of late day will continue to be a signature of my street photos.

And finally, I wanted to let you know that I ordered the above photo as a metal print from my Redbubble profile. When I get it, I’ll let you know my thoughts with a mini review.

UPDATE, May 10, 2014 – Review of Redbubble Metal Print:

I received my metal print from Redbubble yesterday. I will add a few photos of the packaging and the print itself later today, but I wanted to get a quick review posted while the thoughts are fresh in my mind.

Packaging and Shipping – It shipped via UPS ground from California, so for me that means it took the full 5-days. I believe it shipped two or three days after I placed the order, so it was a relatively quick turnaround. The package itself is a flat box, and inside the metal print was very securely attached to a strong piece of cardboard with clear (quite strong) plastic and packing tape. I can’t overstate how well secured the print was to this piece of cardboard. It wasn’t going anywhere. There was also some packing paper crushed up in the box to cushion the side where the metal print would have otherwise been exposed to the outside box. Just about the only thing I can think of that would have been better, would be to sandwich the print between two pieces of cardboard before boxing. However, I believe their method of packing the metal print is sufficient and should rarely if ever result in any damage unless the shipping company bends the box severely.

The Metal Print – I have no prior experience with metal prints, as this is an entirely new product experience for me. I’m impressed at the detail level of the print on the metal. I chose matte instead of gloss (as I usually do for prints), and the starburst in the above photo is really silky smooth in appearance, and the details of the pavement and the people and buildings in the distance are quite sharp. I expected this print to work out well, and I must say it surpassed by expectations. As for the construction of the print, of course the print is just a sheet of aluminum. Attached to the back of the print is a smaller box also constructed of aluminum mounted to a sturdy foam. The box is in the middle and biased toward the top and is 1/3 the surface area of the print. This box serves as the mounting plate and the standoff that will create the floating effect when the print is hung on a wall. And attached to this box are four plastic standoffs to protect your wall and allow the print to lay flat on your wall. The overall package is that of a high quality piece of art, and I really feel it could work in any decor because of its minimalist appearance, but anybody who likes a bit of industrial design in their decor will greatly appreciate a metal print or two for their study or den.

UPDATE #2

Here are the photos I promised (click each photo to enlarge). You can see the packaging, the back of the metal print, including the foam/aluminum box for mounting, and the front of the print.

Redbubble Metal Print #1

Redbubble Metal Print #2

Redbubble Metal Print #3

Redbubble Metal Print #4

After looking at the print thoroughly under high light, my only negative critique is that there is a slight green cast, especially when viewing the print at an angle. The green tint seems to mostly disappear when viewed straight on, and is not really noticeable when hung on a wall and observed under normal home lighting conditions, even at fairly extreme angles, at least without something else to compare it to. But even in the review photo above you can see it has a slight greenish cast compared to the original photo at the top of the blog post. Granted, I did not correct the “review” photos for white balance, so this effect may or may not have been enhanced by my camera’s auto white balance.

I think this slight color cast is probably inherent to the printing process, since (I believe) Redbubble uses a CMYK color printing lab, which means they aren’t printing black and white prints using a black and white only print method. From what I’ve read, seeing a bit of a color cast in black and white prints is not unusual when printed this way. I figured I would mention this so that you are aware that a slight color cast is possible with any black and white prints rendered via a color lab, and this is not just limited to metal prints.

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  • iamnsp

    Great description of process – well done. I also love the idea of printing photographs on metal – very cool. LOVE the photo too

    • Thank you! Metal prints definitely put the photo front and center (no frame, and floating on the wall). It’s a great option if you want a minimalist art gallery effect.

  • Nice photography.. Love the way you describe about the street photography broad and chestnut, its very effective idea of printing photographs on metal. Thanks for sharing!