Dispatches: Joey Skibel


Ever thought about walking across Africa? How about a portion of Africa? Joey Skibel did. And, he’s also walked across Newport Beach, so if you needed to know anything about his bravery this little Newport fact should serve you well. Sure, Africa provides the “big five” to keep you on your toes, but so does Newport. BMW, Porsche, Audi, Mercedes and Jaguar all speeding by with latte sipping sticks at the wheel. DEADLY.

I’ve known Joey for several years now, and we’ve even shot a few jobs together, but this was our first time sitting down to discuss photography, travel, adventure and his recent partnership with Pentax.

6 Comments on “Dispatches: Joey Skibel”

    1. James,
      Short answer, no. However, with the advent of digital printing tech the move to massive prints began to take over. The galleries and artists, often times, equate big print with big paycheck, so most people try to print as large as they possibly can. Joey makes a range of sizes. I find the big print race a little strange for a couple of reasons. First, when you print extremely large most people have to physically back away from the actual print, something I’ve watched happen, time and time again, at photo shows. It’s not a real intimate way of engaging with photography. Second, most people don’t have space to hang this work ,including a lot of collectors who end up housing the prints, not hanging them. This still can be helpful by being able to say “I’m in such and such a collection,” but your might end up NOT being seen. It used to be that 16×20 was a large print. Now, 40×60 is middle of the road.

  1. I see that trend more and more. Recently we had an art fair where I live. There were many photographers, of which two still used large format film. The rest were digital. The difference in results is striking. Most digital photographers were using dye-transfer on aluminum or inkjet, producing enormous prints.

    I had the same thoughts – Where would I hang this, where I could look at it properly? I would be forced into a close perspective. From there, you could see that few of these prints could achieve fine detail. Over saturation of color and the inability to truly sharpen became apparent.

    One of the LF photographers, who was producing color macro photos of mineral stones, was also printing as large as the others, but the ability to capture fine detail, with realistic colors, was obvious. The other, was printing B&W landscapes on silver gelatin and had maybe one print at 20×30. I found that these prints drew me in, while most of the digital shots turned into mush, in some cases, within 6 feet, forcing me to back away.

    I understand the trend and economics of big prints, but then I see people like Michael Kenna, who refuse to go above an 8×8, for that reason of intimacy you mentioned. John Free is another photographer who comes to mind, who does not go beyond 8×12. John Sexton also seems to stay smaller.

    I appreciate the ability to show work in something like a Blurb produced book, where enormous size is not an issue.

    1. James,
      Digital printing is incredible. And, you can do things with it you can’t do with analog printing. They are simply different processes. Given my choice between a silver print and a digital print, I’ll take the silver, but collectors and lovers alike are having to come to grips with the fact that the silver is going away. The only way art photography survives is by accepting the digital prints as the same value, or higher value, than traditional. Galleries need to sell to stay alive.

  2. Agree with everything you say. It’s a decision on the photographer’s part, and depends on their style and requirements. Even Clyde Butcher is using digital cameras and printing these days. I have to admit my Omega D2 has been mostly replaced by photoshop these days.

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