How you felt about “ULTRAsomething | Exorcism 1” determines the appropriate adage for Exorcism 2. Either it’s “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” or it’s “If at first you don’t succeed try, try again.”
Much like the steps I take on my frequent photo walks, Exorcism 2 follows the same path as Exorcism 1. It binds together photos from recent excursions — all shot on film; and all shot without the intent or purpose necessary to receive any photography grants more lucrative than “my own savings.”
The vast majority of photos are from the fall of 2022, though a smattering of earlier shots — stuck in the processing queue when Exorcism 1 was assembled — found their way here. As before, they are an accident of where I happened to be, and not the result of any planning, whether elaborate or otherwise. As usual “where I happened to be” was Vancouver Canada — though a short trip to Whidbey Island in Washington State did afford me an opportunity to point my camera at subjects I, personally, haven’t photographed hundreds of times before. But even those oft-photographed Vancouver bits look new every time I shoot them. A change in the light; the camera; the lens; the angle; my mood; the film; the processing; the context. Every time, something new is revealed.
The above transcript is the apologia for ULTRAsomething Magazine’s second exorcism.
In the first apologia, I wrote “every issue will result more from purge than plan; more from exorcism than curation,” which is exactly why I refer to each release as an exorcism and not an issue. I also wrote that the magazine would be an exercise in “improvisational publishing.” Little did I know this meant I’d need chops like Lee Morgan at a smoking’ hot Blue Note recording session.
Long story short, after hundreds of hours spent nerding out over the myriad intricacies of commercial CMYK printing, I decided to change print methodology for Exorcism 02.
Long story long, I printed Exorcism 01 using a standard black CMYK technique, meaning it uses only the key (black) ink, and no cyan, magenta or yellow inks. This yields a colour neutral publication but produces blacks that are more of a muddy grey. I chose to print Exorcism 02 using rich black, which lays down all four inks to produce deeper blacks and more dynamic range — albeit with a slight mid-grey shift toward cyan (which yields more delineation through the grey scale).
To produce a truly neutral, rich black CMYK publication, one must find a local print shop willing to iteratively tweak the PDF’s embedded GCR CMYK profile to the printer-specific profile. Fortunately, I was able to find such a commercial printer. Unfortunately, they quoted a production price four times higher than my current online printing company. So I decided a tiny bit of cyan in the mid-greys ain’t so bad.
Changing printing methodologies means Exorcism 02 and Exorcism 01 look a little different from one another. Part of me thinks the deeper blacks and increased dynamic range justifies the change. But another part of me isn’t sure it’s worth losing the grey neutrality. I have a few months before I need to decide which technique I’ll employ for Exorcism 03 (and beyond). The only real consequence of this decision is that one of the first two Exorcisms — specifically, whichever does not become the standard — will become an extremely valuable collector’s items. Or rather, it would if ULTRAsomething had collectors… or value…
Hopefully — standard black vs rich black decision aside — the publication of Exorcism 03 will require less head spinning; minimal levitation; diminished projectile vomiting; and no need for Father Karras to hurl himself down another flight of stairs… but who really knows? This is improvisational publishing, after all.
© 2023 grEGORy simpson
FIRST AND FOREMOST: Thank you to everyone who purchased a copy of ULTRASOMETHING | EXORCISM 01. I hope the magazine rewarded your generosity with at least a smattering of enjoyment.
ABOUT THE PHOTOS: The photos, shown here, appear in ULTRASOMETHING | EXORCISM 02, but represent only a small subset of the images contained in the magazine — all of which were shot on film, with each of the following cameras contributing at least one photo to the publication: Black’s Sassy; Contax IIa; Contax G1; Fuji GS645S Wide 60; Konica Autoreflex TC; Konica Hexar AF; Leica M6 TTL; Minolta TC-1; Minolta XTsi; Nikon 28Ti; Olympus OM-2n; Olympus Pen FT; Olympus XA; Pentax MZ-S. For those keeping track, that’s two more cameras than were used to produce EXORCISM 01 — a sum I deemed to be “arguably excessive and marginally eccentric.” I suppose, with Exorcism 02, I can safely remove the word “marginally.”
Note that my intention is to publish three magazines/year, which works out to roughly one every four months (though I don’t plan to be religious about the timing). Those of you with a penchant for math may have noticed it’s been only three months since Exorcism 01. Fear not — I’m not moving to a quarterly schedule. It simply took so long to line up all the publishing ducks for Exorcism 01, that Exorcism 02 was already well into production by the time the premiere issue was finally released.
ULTRASOMETHING | EXORCISM 02 is now available on the ULTRAsomething STORE.