Posted on

Freaky Flowers: Echinopsis Cacti in Bloom

Freaky Flowers: Echinopsis Cacti in Bloom from EchinopsisFreak on Vimeo.

A montage of a dozen types of Echinopsis cactus flowers blooming. And wilting. And just generally showing off their mind-blowing colors. My favorite cactus flowerings from the 2014 blooming season.

Echinopsis cactus flowers bloom overnight and the flowers last for only a day. Actually, the flowers are at their peak beauty for an hour or two at the most. That's what turned me from a cactus enthusiast into a cactus photographer … the desire to try to preserve some aspect of their freaky beauty. Prior to becoming an Echinopsis addict a few years back, I had never owned a DSLR or image/video editing software.

The cacti shown in this video come from my collection. The evening when it looks like a plant's flowers are about to bloom, I bring it indoors to image. Most of the clips in this montage show approximately 8 hours of change as the flowers open and bloom. A little more than halfway through the montage, there's a series of three clips showing different views of a 24-hour period in the life of a yellow-flowered 'Daydream' plant. Six flowers that opened the night before I started filming wilt to nothingness and another 4 flowers grow dramatically and then open. This series of 'Daydream' clips is followed by another three showing other types of flowers wilting. These additional wilting clips are also taken over a daylong period.

The question I'm asked most often about my cactus flower still images and timelapses is whether I've "Photoshopped" them, that is, have I used editing software to juice things up and create the flowers' intense colors. I do, of course, use Photoshop and Lightroom and other editing software. But not in the way most suspect. Rather than using these tools to overstate reality, I actually use them to reduce the intensity of the colors my camera captures. I have reduced the color saturation in every timelapse clip in this video by a minimum of 10% and some ('Yes', 'Cabaret' and 'Antimatter') by 30% or more in order to have something that wasn't just completely blown out.

I hope you enjoy "Freaky Flowers" and invite you to contact me via my Vimeo account and/or visit www.echinopsisfreak.com where you'll learn more than you ever wanted to know about these cacti and also be able to reach me via a contact form should you wish.

The 2015 blooming season is just about to start now that April approaches and I hope to be posting new timelapses soon here at Vimeo.

Best! Greg

Video: Greg Krehel. Sound: "Chin Swee Sunset" with the permission of the artists O$P$ (Owe Money Pay Money) … SoSolid Records

Posted on

How Much is That Art Worth?

IMG Lobby, Cleveland, Ohio Artist: John Pearson

When encountering artwork, people often ask some of the following questions.  Who is the artist?  When was it made?  How was it made?  What does it mean?  There is, however, one other popular question regarding art that people of all ages and all backgrounds tend to ask:  how much is it worth?  This question is not as easy to answer as the preceding ones, because the answer depends on the intersection of three fluctuating elements: art collecting, art history and the art market.

Art collecting is the basic foundation for how values are assigned to artwork.  Those who collect art include individual collectors, corporations and museums.  While individual art collectors may pay the same high prices for artwork as corporations and museums, the function of these collections differs greatly.  Most simply, individual art collectors collect for themselves, while corporate collectors and museums collect for their institutions and a public audience.  Individual collectors may someday deposit their artwork into museums, but collecting categories tend to be more rigid in corporations and museums than for individual collectors.

These collecting categories are directly related to art history.  It is art history that defines which artists and artwork are valuable to our society and are deserving of further study.  In some sense, once a work of art becomes famous, its intrinsic value increases, as does its financial value.  Art history, however, does not happen overnight.  It is a process that involves weighing the impact an artist has had on the art world, based on exhibitions, reviews and influence on other artists.

Art history and art collecting together influence the art market.  Although the art market depends on art history and encourages art collecting, the foundation of the art market stems from a basic economic rule: supply and demand.  It may seem greatly disrespectful for the value of artwork to increase after an artist is deceased, but again, market value assignments depend on rarity.  Once an artist is no longer living, the supply of their artwork becomes limited and their artwork increases in value.

This short essay does not fully answer the question it posed in the first paragraph regarding how value is assigned to artwork.  It does, however, offer insight into the systems of art collecting, art history and the art market that together inform individuals, corporations and museums what artwork to buy and how much to pay.  However, looking at financial value alone when determining the success of an artist is not sufficient.

A successful artist should have artwork in important museum and gallery exhibitions, as well as in museum and corporate collections. These factors are just as important to make an artist successful as the actual sales and again, demonstrate that art collecting, art history and the art market collectively and systematically answer the question, “How much is that art worth?”

Teresa M. DeChant, DeChant Art Consulting, LLC

 Christina Larson, MA  Case Western Reserve University