TYPE BLOCK: photography + typography call for participants

UPPERCASE's picture

TYPE BLOCK: photography + typography
an UPPERCASE project

International artists are invited to explore typography in their surroundings by documenting what they see within one city block of where they live or work.

Participants can post their images in a Flickr pool for the online exhibition. UPPERCASE gallery owner, Janine Vangool, and photographer Kirstie Tweed (Orange Girl Photographs) will curate from these images to create a physical exhibition and companion book. The exhibition will be part of Exposure, the Banff-Calgary Month of Photography (February 2008).

http://www.flickr.com/groups/typeblock/
http://www.uppercasegallery.ca

Koppa's picture

If a person happens to live in the country, can the "one city block" limitation be extended to "a mile or so down the road" or "the type nearest you?" Or is this strictly an urban project?

UPPERCASE's picture

It doesn't have to be an urban setting. Nor do the images specifically have to be taken outdoors... The main goal is to encourage taking photographs of the typography you find in your immediate environment, however far you might have to walk!

Nick Shinn's picture

Janine, most of the images you show here don't qualify, as they are photos of lettering, not typography.

UPPERCASE's picture

Sure, "typography" is technically type design and composing with type for printing processes. But whether a letter is drawn as a single expression (hand-lettered shop sign), or cut out in vinyl, or designed for reproduction via mechanical or digital processes, aren't all these typography, the creation and setting of letterforms?

What word do you use to encompass all of this?

Si_Daniels's picture

I think "BLOCK LETTERING" sounds snappy.

Cheers, Si

jupiterboy's picture

I recently went dowtown for a shoot with interesting results, so I will ask about the one-block issue, as I work out of my house.

I have some of the images in my blog.

Nick Shinn's picture

aren’t all these typography, the creation and setting of letterforms?

No. The dictionary say otherwise.

What word do you use to encompass all of this?

For your context, I would suggest:

TEXT BLOCK: Photography + Found Text

KenBessie's picture

Hi Janine. Welcome to Typophile.

russellm's picture

at some risk to my nerd-accreditation, (such as it is), I' state that think the title is fine. It's just a name - Not a definition.

R

Nick Shinn's picture

What's anti-social about suggesting that the term for what we do be used correctly?
After all, this is Typophile, and for us the distinction between lettering and type is important.
And it's not just a name -- the idea that hand-painted signage is typography is repeated in Justine's call for entries, "International artists are invited to explore typography..."
Surely we should encourage artists, photographers and (especially) curators to understand the distinctions of text-based media better. They should know this stuff.

russellm's picture

Point taken.

.. But I don't think I suggested there was anything anti-social in suggesting that the term be used correctly. Did I?

R

UPPERCASE's picture

Please provide the definition of the word "typography", I think it would be useful for all of us to know. I know I'm not alone in using this word as a broad term to describe that which pertains to type, whether it be type on a page or lettering found in the street. That's certainly what I was taught in school. I'm actually kind of shocked by this.

What about the use of "typographic" then? What is its proper usage?

jupiterboy's picture

Text is slippery as well as its primary definition refers to the ideas apart from the set type.

Nick Shinn's picture

don’t think I suggested there was anything anti-social...

Nerds 'R' Us?

I’m actually kind of shocked by this.

The general usage of the word "typographic" is loose, and that goes for many in the design business.
However, dictionary definitions all say pretty much the same thing, that typography is made with type, not a paint brush.
Sure, lettering is a related art, and it may be convenient to call it typography, but it isn't.
It's not a big deal Justine, just Typophile nit-picking. So, er, Welcome!

Yes, "text" is slippery, but in the art world "text art" or "text-based art" refer to work with lettering or type as the main visual element.

I don't know what the best solution is. It just seemed strange that an exhibition of what will probably comprise predominantly photos of hand-made, one-off lettering is being described as typography.

crossgrove's picture

Type is mechanically repeatable, modular systems of letters meant to be combined infinitely.

Lettering is any letterforms made by hand. Lettering as an umbrella term could include:
Calligraphy (defined as "beautiful writing)
penmanship
handwriting
signpainting
lettercarving
brush lettering

but not type, or typography. Typography involves type; see above. Type is modular, lettering is handmade; one of a kind. You can reproduce lettering (screenprinted shirts, hotel logos), but it's still lettering, not typography. Type can be used with lettering, and both involve the alphabet and writing, but they still are not the same. It's like the difference between studio pottery and production ware, or custom/retail, or couture/rack. Handmade versus mechanical. Type gets designed by hand (sometimes), but then becomes mechanical when it's made into type.

I do think the distinction is meaningful and important for designers to acknowledge; hand skills are dying out, and people are becoming oblivious to the way things get made. Everything is not photoshop, assemblage, appropriation and "homage". Some people create things directly with their hands.

russellm's picture

Nerds ’R’ Us?
well... duh :o) but what else?

R

KenBessie's picture

Nick, I guess you missed the sarcasm dripping off my "welcome to typophile". Do we need to jump all over every new member?

And who is Justine?

jupiterboy's picture

Phototetterography FTW

Nick Shinn's picture

you missed the sarcasm

Actually no. I was trying to play it straight.

Do we need to jump all over every new member?

No, we need to be polite and helpful, and offer constructive criticism where appropriate.

who is Justine?

Ooops. Sorry. (Got it right the first time and forgot.)

but what else?

Surely you don't buy into that whole Beauty and the Geek thing?

Florian Hardwig's picture

Some more nerdy nitpicking:
To me, ‘text’ is related to ‘textile’, ‘texture’ – see also Textura.
A single letter, even a single word (no matter if lettered, written or typed) can hardly be called a text, at least in German and imho.

And for the differentiation; Gerrit Noordzij’s definition is that typography is writing with prefabricated letters.

By the way, have you seen this robot, silently writing a version of the Martin Luther bible, which was originally printed in a early font called ‘Schwabacher’, retranslated here by RobotLab into calligraphy?
Ricardo has posted a link, too.

Linda Cunningham's picture

Interesting -- Janine's posted concept isn't anything like I had in mind after the topic was broached at the last Calgary Typos meeting, and I doubt that I'm the only person who is somewhat confused by this call for entries.

For those of us who spent considerable time and effort both finding exceptionally typographically rich city blocks and photographing bona fide examples (and, in my case, getting threatened for one pic!), this is a real disappointment.

Especially given that on that block, there is a great whacking sign in Benguiat, and it isn't even represented in the montage....

(And I'm not going to touch the rest of the "snotty pissing on the uppity" discussion.)

Nick Shinn's picture

(You just did, Ms Snottier-Than-Thou.)

jupiterboy's picture

(and, in my case, getting threatened for one pic!)

I would recommend not photographing any type/lettering on federal buildings, FWIW.

UPPERCASE's picture

I will revise the project description to say "lettering" or something in that vein.

Linda, I have absolutely no idea why you're disappointed or confused by the project. There is no reason to be. You're welcome to contact me via email with your questions. I'll be at the next Calgary meeting as well.

* * * *

This is a fun project where we can all express and explore our love of letters through photography. The notion of documenting a city block was to make this a specific activity: take your camera into your immediate surroundings and see what you can find. Even in seemingly the most mundane surroundings, if you look, you can find the beauty. Garbage in the street, a bus token floating in a puddle, an emotional handmade plea to find a lost pet... or perhaps you find a stately plaque on a historical building, decaying hand-painted shop signs or beautifully designed modern signage. Each person's "type block" will be different.

* * * *

Linda Cunningham's picture

(You just did, Ms Snottier-Than-Thou.)

I'm just so utterly thrilled that you are concerned with my health, Nicky. As far too many people will confirm, I have gone through infinite boxes of tissues with a cold this week.

I would recommend not photographing any type/lettering on federal buildings, FWIW.

It was an unnamed resto of pasta, at 9:30 a.m. on a Wednesday, and a male person with an accent and an IQ under 80. One must wonder....

Linda, I have absolutely no idea why you’re disappointed or confused by the project. There is no reason to be.

Um, well, let's see. It was supposed to be a small, volunteer local project that Calgary Typos would do for fun. It's now your own personal commercial project (and that you bragged about making money with at the last meeting), posted in public in an international forum, and there is no stated remuneration for people who submit photographs. (There is remuneration for anyone who wins the contest, right?)

Gosh, I can't think of any reason that I (or the other members who thought this was a volunteer project to promote type in Calgary) would be disapponted or confused.

Silly moi.

UPPERCASE's picture

I'm really disappointed by the direction this thread has taken; it really hasn't been much fun or inviting, this being my first (and possibly last) posting in Typophile. Maybe I don't have a thick enough skin for forums.

Since a large portion of this thread has been about vocabulary, I will state that I take offense to the juvenile comments of referring to people as "snottier-than-thou" and references to people being "anti-social". I am trying to produce a professional project here. If you want to discuss the Type Block project, that's fine. If you want to name-call and insult, start your own thread. Almost anyone reading this thread would likely agree with me.

I did not "brag about making money", Linda. What a rude thing to post for all to see. If you can figure out how to make money with this project, let me know, it would certainly be most welcome to hear.

This project is not a contest. There is no fee for people to participate. People choose to join or not and our intentions are clearly stated on the Flickr group. My gallery will cover the cost of printing and displaying the chosen images. The exhibition is part of a Banff-Calgary photography festival that is free to the public during the month of February. We haven't decided if the works will be for sale, and if they are, the prices will be determined by the artist with a small portion going to the gallery to recoup the printing and display costs.

The publication is a way of commemorating the project and will be a book published via Blurb or another print-on-demand source. Participants and the general public who are interested can order the book online and we'll have a few in the gallery that month. That's it. This definitely falls into the "labour of love" category.

So if you share a love for this project, we'd love to have you onboard and I'll see you on Flickr. It's a much friendlier place.

Nick Shinn's picture

I am trying to produce a professional project here.

That's why I questioned your casual use of the word "typography".
It's why I objected to typographers referring to themselves as "nerds" (which means anti-social).
I'm sorry if the unprofessional "Ms-Snottier-Than-Thou" wisecrack offended you, it was meant for Linda!

milks's picture

I think this project is fantastic, (thanks Nick for the tip). I have passed it along to many I know will be interested.

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