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"Aged" ivory

Discussions and analysis of Elephant Ivory
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DSW90049
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Postby DSW90049 » Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:55 pm

Interesting and informative thread.:shock:, we need to see objects in neutral lighting, and in person, to really appreciate what aged ivory looks like.
"There is no shortcut to netsuke collecting; it takes time, study and patience. The market is flooded with utterly worthless rubbish. . . . "
Netsukes: Their Makers, Use and Meaning, H. Seymour Trower(1898)~~~~David

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Vlad
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Postby Vlad » Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:20 pm

You are right, David! The museum pieces actually were much whiter in reality (closer to the very first of them), but it was a very dark room with only very limited light source, which my camera was "not ready for"...

Just look a the "melting" quality and the a little translucent appearance of the old and naturally handled ivory then. And not much cracking there...

Here are some pictures taken in Louvre at night under similar circumstances of a similar age ivory items, but which were apparently not handled that much, though.
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"Man sieht nur, was man weiß" - "One sees only what one knows". Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

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DSW90049
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Postby DSW90049 » Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:34 pm

I wish I wasn't right about this, Vlad,
because it is truly maddening to get the actual color that our eyes see.

Part of it is that our human eyes have a broader range and spectrum than our DSLR sensors do - netsuke photography is hard enough, but when you also consider the color difficulties, it is almost overwhelming.

Best you can do is to try to figure out the museum lighting, or other venue's lighting, then learn your DSLR well enough to approximate that type of lighting, and to test your white balance right before you take the pic, or take a few pics (what they used to call 'bracketing' in the old film days) using different lighting, and then compare what you get to the piece in front of you to see what looks closest. There are also white balance cards that you can use to set your camera, however most museums and galleries use lighting which enhances the look of the piece, but is not everyday and usual lighting when you are outside in the real world.

I don't have the ultimate answer, but perhaps others might - Gleeson, and others, made some excellent contributions to the Netsuke Photography thread (to which I recommend that the photographically inclined refer) and they might have some helpful insights on this topic to add.
"There is no shortcut to netsuke collecting; it takes time, study and patience. The market is flooded with utterly worthless rubbish. . . . "
Netsukes: Their Makers, Use and Meaning, H. Seymour Trower(1898)~~~~David

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LUBlub
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Postby LUBlub » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:12 am

DS, Vlad...very educational your comments about the relatioship between light and real preception, in photos or reality...I made this
test with one ivory crucifix at home...one with special light, the other normal light...see the difference...
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Excellence in netsuke art don't need signature or pedigree, or age, only quality, aesthetics, beauty.

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Vlad
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Postby Vlad » Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:51 am

Great experiment, Luigi, and very illustrative!
"Man sieht nur, was man weiß" - "One sees only what one knows". Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

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DSW90049
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Postby DSW90049 » Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:31 pm

Excellent, Lub, that shows the point I was discussing. Actually, it can even be more of a shift than that - I can get a photo of an ivory piece to go from nearly pure white to deep yellow, with just a small manipulation of something like 'color saturation,' or playing with the white balance - there are many other ways to change color too.

We need to remember this when looking at photos of netsuke!Image
"There is no shortcut to netsuke collecting; it takes time, study and patience. The market is flooded with utterly worthless rubbish. . . . "
Netsukes: Their Makers, Use and Meaning, H. Seymour Trower(1898)~~~~David


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