interviewed Hugo last week, I had no idea
people would be so interested. I figured
most people came to the site for the
pictures and weren't that interested in
the process. Wrong again. So many people
wrote in to ask for more, that I had to
delete most of the e-mails after just a
quick glance at the headers. OK, dudes,
you got it. Today's subject is scanning,
and the interviewee is Valentino. I
didn't actually count the ballots, but it
was clear that he was your #1 choice. I
really don't have to tell you he's pretty
good. That's kind of like saying that
Churchill was a pretty good speechwriter.
He combines technical excellence with an
eye for startling images. The thing I
like best about his work is that the
images themselves are more important to
him than the subjects. Essentially, he
uses a photographer's eye. Just as we
discovered with Hugo, the secrets to his
success are good software, talent, and
hard work, not expensive hardware.
Q: How do you
decide what to scan?
choose my material by taking what is
available to me and picking out pictures
I really want to work on. It takes a lot
of my time, so I have to like the image I
am spending time on. I ALWAYS look for
material that has never been seen before,
but I don't rush the work to get it out
there first. I hate it when someone takes
a great picture and sends out a raw scan
with his name on it just to be first.
Do you have a "system" to find
No, I don't really have one. I'm always
looking, and willing to pay for images I
want to scan. You wouldn't believe how
many images have been "spotted"
out of the corner of my eye.
What make or model of scanning hardware
do you use?
HP 4C Scanner.
Do you make any settings adjustments with
the hardware itself.
No (all adjustments are made in
software). Scoop's note - I asked this
because certain scanning equipment allows
you to do a scan, and then adjust
elements of the lighting and color
reproduction system inherent to the
hardware itself. Val takes the output of
his scanner and makes any necessary
adjustments with editing software.
At what resolution do you scan? How does
this change during your creation process
to a finished picture?
This totally depends on the reason for
scanning the image, and what media the
final image is for. As far as Valentino
scans, I usually scan at 300 dpi. I
immediately drop the resolution to 150
dpi and do all my correcting and
adjustments at that level. After the
image is framed and signed, I drop the
image to 72 dpi and send it out. The
reason for 72 dpi is to keep the file
size way down, and the fact that all
monitors view at 72 dpi. Since my scans
are meant to be viewed on monitors, and
since on a monitor you couldn't see a
difference between an image at 72 and the
same image at 300, it only makes sense.
What if you intend to print an image with
your graphics printer?
If there's an image I want to PRINT, I
keep a copy at 300 dpi AT LEAST. For all
the new guys out there I am NOT talking
about "size" resolution. Don't
get them confused. You can have an image
that is 1024x768 (that is size
resolution). But that image is 1024x768
AT 72 dpi or 150 dpi, or 300 dpi, etc.
How much time is required to edit a
picture from scanned image to finished
This depends on the image and how it
scans. Sometimes you scan an image and
you are sending it out 30 minutes later.
Sometimes it's 6 hours later. I've had
some images that I just had to "walk
away" from, and come back the next
day and try to get it done. If I had to
pick an average, I'd say 2 hours. But the
REAL answer is "when I'm done".
Which editing software do you use?
There's only one. PhotoShop. I use
version 5.0. I have also used Illustrator
here and there for presentation work, and
dragged it into PhotoShop to put it all
Do you avoid collages?
Why does everyone think I avoid collages?
I have LOTS of collages. My Runway series
alone comes to mind. I DO do more single
pictures, but that's because I think the
images I do as singles can stand on their
own, and I don't want to distract the
viewer with other images in the same
What is your artistic theory, or you goal
for each image? Do you try to duplicate
the original images as closely as
possible, or do you try to add your own
would never attempt to improve on a
photographers image. I try my best to
COMPLEMENT the image the photographer had
in mind, while staying true to the
FEELING of the original. How could you
possibly improve the work of
photographers like La Chapelle, D'Orazio,
Glaviano, Scavullo or Leibovitz? The only
thing I HATE to see is an imager who
sends out HALF a picture because it's a 2
pager, or an image that still has TEXT in
it. Jeez, guys, pick up a BOOK on your
software, or PRACTICE a while before you
start sending out pics. There's no excuse
for either of the above.
This is where you get to say whatever you
want to say about imaging, yourself, or
the internet imaging community.
Let's just say that I am EXTREMELY
flattered by the attention my work gets.
It's just amazing to me that I'm even
ASKED to be interviewed. If it helps at
all, I just approach EVERYTHING I do with
the same philosophy. Do whatever you want
to do, but do it to the BEST of your
ability. And have FUN. There are so many
awesome imagers out there in ALL the
groups, whether it's StarNet, UIA,
CelebNet, IRA or one of the many
independent artists that sends out
amazing work, we can all learn from each
other. I'm just lucky enough to belong to
a group of imagers that test my ability
every day just to be AS GOOD as the work
they send out. When you're in that kind
of situation you HAVE to get better.