Artist's Statement - CLOUD9PHOTOGRAPHY

No watermark will show on any sold Cloud 9 print

peter

ARTIST'S STATEMENT

by
 Peter J. Mancus
Owner, www.cloud9photography.us
Attorney at Law
Photojournalist
Fine Art Photographer

Member, Tailhook Association
Sebastopol, California 95472
Tel.: (707) 703-9210 
Email: pmancus@comcast.net

© Peter J. Mancus 2017

1.

My CLOUD 9 PHOTOGRAPHY Goals


Goal No. 1: Achieve Maximum Customer Satisfaction

My first goal is to please every customer in every respect and to give all customers total peace of mind when they deal with CLOUD 9. I offer you an excellent money back guarantee. Since all prints come with that guarantee, you risk nothing because the sale is not final until you see, inspect, and accept the product you bought from CLOUD 9.   

I strive to give customers an assured, consistent, enjoyable, hassle free, buying experience, offering unique images not found in stores and to make customers enthusiastic about the service and product I provide.

Goal No. 2: Give Customers Excellent Benefits

CLOUD 9 customers enjoy the following benefits.


1. Excellent Full Satisfaction Guarantee. I offer a no hassle, rock-solid, full satisfaction or money back guarantee.

2. Custom-Made Artwork. Each print is made when you order it, using the latest and best equipment, software, and materials.

3. Museum Grade, Big, Artwork. Professionally printed, museum grade, big, detail rich, beautiful, awesome, artwork, on fine art, photograph paper, canvas, metal and other media or products, with a variety of finishes—matt, luster, or glossy.

4. A Large Selection Niche Treasure Trove of Hard-to-Find Subjects. CLOUD 9 offers unique, custom-made, valuable, hard to find, artwork of collectible historical subjects or beautiful subjects, which you can see on CLOUD 9's Internet site before you place your order.

5. Collectible Artwork. Serious collectors of scarce historical subjects love CLOUD 9.

6. CLOUD 9's Artwork Makes a Wonderful Unique Gift. CLOUD 9's artwork is custom-made, in limited quantities, to order; it is not mass produced. Our images are not found in stores.

7. CLOUD 9's Artwork is Ideal for Home and Office Wall Decor. Big, detail rich, CLOUD 9 artwork is excellent for customizing and decorating any home, office, conference room, or den.

8. CLOUD 9's Artwork is Not a Commodity. Commodities, like food, clothing, and oil, get consumed, become dirty, wear out, and need to be replaced. Artwork, however, never wears out. CLOUD 9 Artwork, when cared for properly, outlasts a lifetime.

9. CLOUD 9's Artwork Satisfies a Deep Intangible Need. Art makes our lives more enjoyable. We need art to satisfy our hearts and our minds. We need art to elevate us to a higher level. Art gives us access to a world beyond drab reality. Art has powerful symbolism which triggers our essence. Art memorializes what is important. Art motivates, energizes, inspires, reminds, and makes a statement. Photographs capture a moment in time and preserve a precious memory.

10. Convenient Shopping. You can shop from any computer hooked up to the Internet and avoid traffic and long mall lines.

11. A Wide Variety of Print Sizes and Products. Customers can select from a wide variety of products: Traditional prints in a large variety of sizes printed on paper, canvas, or metal, in your choice of finish—matte, luster, or glossy, and other products, such as mugs, mousepads, cell phone cases, aprons, refrigerator magnets, keepsake boxes, and cards with CLOUD 9 pictures of your choice, plus digital downloads of CLOUD 9's pictures.

12. Print Sizes Are Compatible With Many Standard Frame Sizes. CLOUD 9's print sizes are compatible with standard frame sizes or will fit into one with matting.

13. Uncompromising Highest Quality. I strive to make CLOUD 9's motto meaningful: “PHOTOGRAPHY FOR PERSNICKETY PEOPLE”. I cater to people who have substantial buying power and demand uncompromising quality. I am focused on bringing to market products that are exclusive, unique, hard to find, and produced extremely well, using the highest quality materials, with extreme attention to details and customization.

Pursuit of perfection is my primary concern. I do not make, sell, or ship junk.

Anyone with a cell phone camera or with an amateur grade camera who thinks their pictures can hold their own with mine, especially when enlarged big, is wrong.

14. Personal Attention to Detail by Senior Management. I personally prep every image for printing, and I use a world class highly respected true custom professional color lab to print each image, to my high standards, so that the customer benefits from the best that I can offer. I do this because: 1) pre-print preperation for printing is part of the creative process; 2) I am fanatical about insisting that my customers get the best print I can offer; 3) I want to time involved in sending back a print for a refund or a “re-do”; and 4) I want personal knowledge of what was sent to a customer, to fulfill an order.

15. Superior Customer Service. I offer superior customer service, personal attention, advice, answers to questions, and well informed recommendations. If asked to do so, I will also explain the “story behind the picture”.

16. Special Assistance to Help You Find What You Want. My stock files contain over 100,00 wonderful images not yet visible on the CLOUD 9 web site. I have excellent images for most U.S. Armed Forces flying squadrons back to the early 1960’s. Please contact me if you can’t find what you want and are serious about buying an image. I will do my reasonable best to search my files for a suitable match for you.

17. Custom Services Are Available. If you want to discuss any custom service please call me at (707) 703-9210 to discuss or email me at pmancus@comcast.net.

18. Reasonably Fast Delivery Time. Your print is normally made within a few days after I receive your order. However, if I am on a photographic expedition or have other commitments, delivery time will be delayed. A prudent customer who wants to receive an order before a special date, e.g., Christmas or a birthday, should place an order early.

19. Crushed Resistant Packaging. I use crush resistant packaging, and, if your order is received damaged we will replace it at no additional cost to you.

20. World-Wide Shipping is Available. We ship world-wide and our easy to use sophisticated check out automatically takes care of currency conversion issues.

21. A Fine Art Photograph Investment. CLOUD 9 PHOTOGRAPHY artwork is an investment in a custom-made fine art photograph made to exacting standards. This is especially true for man-made things, such as airplanes. For example, once a certain type of airplane is gone, it is gone—forever, and technically and athestically excellent pictures of anything that no longer exists automatically become increasingly rare, coveted, and valuable.

22. A Favorable Pricing Structure. I will never engage in periodic “yo-yo”, steeply discounted, pricing. I maintain steady prices with periodic price increases that are reasonable relative to the uncompromising high quality I deliver. This pricing structure guarantees that your investment in CLOUD 9 artwork increases in value.

I refuse to lower my standards. I will not compete on the basis of price because it is impossible to maintain uncompromising highest quality, sell cheap, and stay in business.

Lowering prices becomes “a race to the bottom”.

Quality commands a premium.

CLOUD 9's prints are high quality, museum grade, custom-made prints, not cheap, thin, mass produced, posters. These prints are a fine art photograph investment.

Goal No. 3: Cater to Persnickety People

My third  goal is to cater to persnickety people with a discerning eye who covet uncompromising quality who can afford the best or are willing to pay for the best even if it pinches their budget.

By persnickety I mean people who demand uncompromising high quality, who pay strict attention to details, and who are willing and able to pay for what they want.

Goal No. 4: Make CLOUD 9 the “Go to” Source

My fourth goal is to make CLOUD9PHOTOGRAPHY.US the world's definitive “one stop shop” source for consistently excellent photographic artwork for people with a discriminating demand for original, high resolution, big, awesome, detail rich, quality images of historical and modern military and civilian airplanes and helicopter pictures for sale.

If you want to buy unique, uncompromising quality, military airplane pictures, from pre-World War I to modern aircraft, plus airliners, helicopters, business jets, warbirds, and many others, you've discovered paradise on the Internet.

When I say “big” I mean it, and I can back it up with huge digital files. I use a superb $20,000.00 true professional grade dedicated film scanner to scan 35 mm film, with a scan of the full slide yielding a digital file that is approximately 450 megabytes—almost 50% of one full gigabyte! That is huge! That is over kill! But, that kind of file empowers me to be ready to deliver awesome, big, detail rich, prints which have impact—a big whaloop. I love that whaloop. For example, when you look at a big CLOUD 9 print of a jet in afterburner you not only see the afterburner's flame you can somehow feel the heat and hear the jet engine's loud roar.

I also use superb professional grade cameras and lenses, plus a tripod, which is photography's number one accessory—which many photographer's refuse to use.

My original digital image captures are superb, and they will enlarge huge and not fall apart.

Goal No. 5: Increase CLOUD 9's Scope of Images

My fifth goal is to feature a growing number of formidable wildlife pictures, historical reenactors, ships, landscapes, engineering feats, statuary, historical places, and other subjects, second to none.

Goal No. 6: Photograph What I Love to Photograph

My sixth goal is to photograph what I love to photograph without regard to whether the picture will sell. This is because what is important, at least to me, is that I enjoy what I do, pursuing my version of happiness. If I enjoy what I do the odds are high I will create excellent pictures that will sell. I create pictures for my own enjoyment, for the love of what I do, for the challenge to be creative and to produce exciting, beautiful pictures, “zingers”, meaning, picture that command a long look.

I do not consider the selling potential or the commercial value of the picture before--or while--I make it.

I do not copy or imitate what other photographers do. I follow my own inspiration. I develop my own style.

Along the way, I keep it fun, do what I want to do, and function as my own boss.

I seek to create a diversity of images that allow others to see things they otherwise would not see, to avoid cliches and make photographs of the ordinary that are extraordinary; to use every photo-op responsibly; to be sympathetic toward my subjects; and to create lasting impressions and visual reminders of life’s memorable moments.

I am enthusiastic, passionate, and excited about photography. My love of photography and the subjects that I like to photograph are what motivates me to put in long hours, to get up early, to stay out late, to study the light, to follow the light, to think anew, to love the challenge, and to continue to come back for more, honing my skills, to improve, so I can create, and offer more exciting, beautiful photographs.

Goal No. 7: Pursue Photographic Perfection

My seventh goals is to pursue and to achieve photographic perfection so I can deliver the ultimate print of rare, beautiful or interesting subjects exquisitely photographed.

“Quality second to none.”, for me, is not an aspiration. It is a fact.

My business slogan for CLOUD 9 is “PHOTOGRAPHY FOR PERSNICKETY PEOPLE”, and I mean it. I passionately pursue perfection, and I often achieve it.

The average person is not picky enough for me and does not know how good a Cloud 9 print is until he or she sees one.

If you can afford highest quality, lucky you.

CLOUD 9 pictures are printed on archival quality paper, canvas, or metal, and other surfaces, with utmost attention paid to uncompromising quality using a professional state-of-the-art printer and excellent color correction.

CLOUD 9 will not ship a print unless it is as perfect as we can make it.

I stand by CLOUD 9's products with my excellent guarantee that protects you 100%.

Photography involves many steps, or links, in the chain of steps from original image capture to final print. Many people compromise, and cut corners, to save money, in the belief that “Good enough is good enough.” For me, however, “Good enough.” isn't! I strive for perfection; thus, I avoid compromises. I make pictures that will enlarge huge and look awesome with lush details.

I love big awesome prints that deliver a big impact. I call those kinds of pictures and prints “zingers”. “Zingers” command a long, long look. “Zingers” hold the viewers attention, with amazement and put the viewer on “cloud 9” with a sense of deep joy.

I never compromise on any step because any compromise degrades the final result, irrevocably.

Goal No. 8: Showcase and Promote Other Photographers

My eigth goal is to show case talented world-wide photographers who cooperate with me and authorize me to sell their pictures. I view these folks as priceless friends, not as hostile competitors. To them, I say, “Thank you!”

2.

Definition of “a Fine Art Photograph”

A fine art photograph is an image, photograph, or print that was conceived artistically and is technically excellent, or the artistic quality compensates for a technical flaw.

3.

“Final Cut” Standards

I use three standards for deciding if a picture is worthy of being uploaded to the CLOUD 9 Internet site are: 1) the “Fine Art Photograph” standard, namely, is the picture artistically inspired and technically excellent?; 2) the Documentary” standard, namely, is the picture a good image of something I want to document?; and 3) the “Fill a Hole” standard, namely, even if it is a sub-standard picture, if it is the best I have of a subject, I will include it and keep it until I can replace it with a better one.

4.

Photography Stye

I like 1) tightly cropped images portrayed with a believable, slight color saturation, 2) expansive views that show the main subject in its environment, 3) low light and night photography, 4) unusual vantage points, 5) any conventional subject photographed well, unconventionally, 6) candid people photography, 7) street photography, and 8) photography of historical or cultural collectibles.

I approach my subjects with deliberate action and attention to detail. I leave little, if anything, to chance. I preconceive many images and set out to make them.

When given a fleeting opportunity, I can, on short notice, consistently and reliably produce high quality images of a wide variety of subjects, under stressful situations.

5.

Favorite Subjects

Some of my favorite subjects are: 1) “transportation” subjects, 2) people, 3) animals; 4) statuary; 5) landscapes, 6) engineering feats, and 6) nature.

6.

Important Parts of Photography

The most important parts of photography are: 1) Creative inspiration—how well one creatively pre-conceiveds an image; 2) Motivation—desire, passion, commitment; 3) Being there—getting to where the subject you want to photograph is and having good access to it; and 4) Knowledge and competency—being able to consistently make the pre-conceived image and not rely on snap shooting or “spray and pray” [hold the shutter button down and hope for the best] approach.

7.

I Am Not “a Button Pusher”

I harbor a virulent contempt for the condescending, dismissive, pejorative, opinion that a photographer is a mere “button pusher”.

A camera is an inanimate tool. My cameras do not create my pictures. I do, with intelligence, thought, and skill.

Taking pictures does not make one a photographer.

There is an important difference between a snapshooter and a photographer.

If a person is not a professional photographer, they would be severely challenged to use my camera gear to take pictures that approach the aesthetic and technical quality of the pictures I create. This is a fact, not a boast.

A compositional “good eye”, knowledge, skill, experience, commitment, and dedication are more important than an expensive camera. This truth is true in the digital age. A person with “a good eye”, using a cheap camera, will always make better pictures than a person with an expensive camera with a lousy “eye” or no experience or both.

While a more capable camera makes it easier for a person with “a good eye” to make pictures, no camera, regardless of price or capability, can compensate for the lack of “a good eye” or the lack of passion to create or the lack of commitment to use the camera, as a tool, effectively. Thus, the specifics of what photo gear I use are unimportant. However, for those who want to know, I use professional grade Canon, Nikon, and Hasselblad cameras and lenses, from extreme wide angle to extreme telephoto. I also routinely use what I consider to be the most critical photographic accessory: a sturdy tripod.

8.

“Believeability” Versus “Reality”

A famous American landscape photographer, Ansel Adams, opined, “Photography becomes an art when certain controls are applied.” I agree.

I strive to make believable pictures that are often close to reality but are not always 100% faithful to what the camera captured. For me, the picture(s) my camera(s) capture are a point of departure, namely, material for me to enhance, and the picture is not complete until I have modified what the camera captured. This is because often, a photograph printed straight from the camera’s original picture, film or digital, is not satisfying to my artistic vision. Such a picture, without an adjustment, is a picture which often falls short of my intent or what I deem to be the gem hidden within the original picture.

To achieve my artistic intent when I take my pictures I often do one or more minor or major adjustments of the original picture so I can make a print that satisfies my artistic bent. By “adjustments”, I sometimes do the following: 1) I determine how to crop the image [I often offer the image cropped differently]; 2) I will merge multiple images; 3) I will make global color balance changes; 4) I will make global contrast changes; 5) I will remove what I call “clutter” or “distractions” that are unnecessary or unaesthetic or both; and 6) I will remove “imperfections”.

These adjustments take time [approximately fifteen minutes and up to five hours or more] for one picture, require knowledge, skill, and attention to detail. I make these adjustments to promote a certain artistic mood and to “clean up” and eliminate unwanted objects that I could not remove at the time I made the picture.

When I make these adjustments my goal is to clean up an image, to infuse it with value, and to alter it in a way that results in an excellent print that is “believable” and shows no trace of an adjustment.

By “believable”, I mean a print that all reasonable persons would embrace as being “possible” and “convincing”, namely, a realistic rendition of reality.

These adjustments are part of what a CLOUD 9 customer pays for when they buy a CLOUD 9 print.

A CLOUD 9 print might not show strictly what was in front of the camera when I took the picture. Instead, it shows my artistic expression of what I want it to show, to the best of my ability, per my ideal interpretation of the subject.

9.

What I Intend by “CLOUD 9 PHOTOGRAPHY”

I intend “CLOUD 9 PHOTOGRAPHY” to include any subject matter photographed and printed so well that when a viewer looks at the picture they experience a “I’m on Cloud 9 feeling” because the artwork is a zinger, namely, an image that emotionally connects to them or commands their attention.

10.

Praise for Photographers

Accomplished photographers are analogous to magicians and historians. They capture and preserve fleeting moments in time to be archived and cherished. They have recorded Mankind’s tragedies, human rights violations, joy, love, misery, accomplishments, progress, failures, conflicts, and cooperation. They inspire. They awe.

11.

Licensing CLOUD 9 PHOTOGRAPHY Images

All commercial use of any CLOUD 9 image requires payment of a license fee, the amount of which depends on the use, the number of photos, size, and other variables. I welcome inquiries regarding commercial use subject to a copyright license agreement. Please call me at (707) 703-9210 to discuss your needs or email me at pmancus@comcast.net with a description of your project(s) and a list of the CLOUD 9 PHOTOGRAPHY Product Numbers you want to use.

After receiving adequate information describing your intended use, I will quote you my license fee.

Unauthorized users are subject to legal action, financial penalties, and fees.

12.

Availability for Hire

Inquires are welcomed.

13.

Business Opportunities

I invite inquires from fine art gallery owners, hobby store owners, gift store owners, publishers, photo buyers, photo editors, photographer agents, and interior decorators.

14.

Why I Often Prefer Being a Photographer to a Lawyer

Many of the qualities of an excellent lawyer and an excellent photographer are transferable from one to the other. Both require thorough preparation, attention to detail, excellent situational awareness, persistence, determination, creativity, and resourcefulness. I became a lawyer because I love to help people, to solve complex problems, and to engage in constructive cerebral combat. I also love to be creative.

I love this fact: In photography, once you click the shutter, even in the digital age, there is “no appeal”, e.g., you either nailed the shot or you blew it.

As a photographer, if I do everything I am suppose to do, I will get an excellent result. As a lawyer, however, I can do everything within the standard of care, but, because there are variables beyond my control, e.g., witnesses, client, jurors, judges, government officials, the law, and the facts, the odds of getting a good result are not comforting.

I also grew to loose respect for American judges, as a group. In my judgment, too many American judges far too often funtion as “fudges”, meaning, they shuffle laws like a card shark shuffles a deck, creating the impression that they cheated to reach a desired result, not the result compelled by the facts and the law. My camera, on the other hand, never gave me an argument or fudged. It might malfunction but when it works and I did what I should do I always get a good result. I love that.

I do not enjoy appearing before a judge or a jury because the result is often no better than a crap shoot.

15.

Beyond Photography

One goal I have with my photography is to call attention to patriotic symbols and themes, the U.S. Armed Forces, and some crucial intangibles, namely, the enduring value of constitutionalism [obeying our Constitution’s commands], and promoting an unbreakable bond between the U.S. Armed Forces and American civilians.

I champion this concept: security, national survival, and the“Blessings of Liberty”, for Americans, will be achieved, if, and only if, two great American communities, Military and Civilian, function with 100% fidelity to the U.S. Constitution’s commands, per its actual text, as written, and as faithfully construed [interpreted and applied], per the values, mind set, and attitudes of the 1776 generation.

16.

A True, Revealing, Funny Story

In the early 1980s I had permission to fly with U.S. Marines on a strict not to interfere basis. One day, when I was a civilian photojournalist tag-along passenger in a U.S. Marine Corps Boeing CH-46 Sea Night helicopter, part of a flight of five, flying from a Marine Corps helo base in Southern California to a Marine Corps mountain warfare training base close to Yosemite National Park, about half way during the flight, the helo I was on had a major hydraulic fluid leak, which forced the pilot, the leader of this detachment, to land. Fortunately, my pilot made a safe landing.

We landed in the desert, about a mile from a major civilian road and a civilian convenience store.

After about thirty minutes, we saw a civilian pick-up truck creating a dust cloud, headed toward us. This truck contained the driver, a man, who was the father of two teenage girls, who he brought with him. This man owned and operated this civilian convenience store.

As this man and his daughters approached the Marines, and myself, the Marines and I stood in a semi-circle, facing them, with me at one end of this semi-circle. I was wearing an olive drab Marine Corps flight suit with no rank. My flight suit had a name tag, which said: "Peter Mancus ‘Lance' Photo Journalist".

Soon after I had scored permission to fly with the Marines, a Marine told me I had to have a “call sign”, and, since I was a free lance photojournalist, he asked me if I was willing to accept “Lance” as my call sign. I said, “Sure.” “Lance” is short. It is memorable. It fits. It also has a military-bellicose connotation. So, to the Marines, I became “Lance”.

As we stood in a semi-circle around this man and his two daughters who drove out to befriend us, here is what happened. This man grabbed “goodies” [soda pop, bottled war, candy bars, potato chips, and other snacks] from boxes held by his daughters, and he, after shaking hands, enthusiastically, with each Marine, generously gave them snacks. He repeated that with each Marine, in an exceedingly mighty fine, good natured, manner, until he got to tail end Charlie, me.

When this man came to me, he looked at my name tag, and, apparently, read it. He then, with extreme fast movements, virulent agitation, and over-the-top gusto, raised one leg high, slapped his knee hard, flailed his arms around, and cussed–loudly and profusely. He then said [paraphrased], “You goddamn Marines. Even in peace time you carry around your goddamn photographers. No wonder you goddamn Marines got a picture of the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi at Iwo. I was Army infantry. We didn’t have the luxury of carrying around with us a goddamn photographer.”

When this man was piping off, carrying on like that, the Marines and I looked at each other and smiled. We never told this man I was a tag along civilian photojournalist.

I love to tell this story. It is 100% true. I did not embellish it. I did, however, leave out my acute worry when I realized I was on the helo with the hydraulic fluid leak. I envisioned my life possibly ending in a fireball . . . or me possibly surviving, horribly disfigured by extensive burns.

This story underscores an illusive, coveted, goal, one that I hope I will achieve but will probably never come true: Some day, I would love to take a picture as important as the one that photographer Joe Rosenthal took that memorialized the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi, inspired a nation, and enhanced morale.

Years ago I read in a scholarly book that during a lull in Congressional testimony by senior U.S. Armed Forces officers, a U.S. Army general reportedly, off the record, told a senior U.S. Marine Corps general, something to this effect, “You damn Marines are an unnecessary second army. We don’t need you. We don’t want you. But, that damn picture you got of the flag being raised on Suribachi bought you another 200 years of existence. Congress wouldn’t dare to vote to eliminate you damn Marines, not after that damn picture.”

Such is the power of photography!

15.

Summary

I have a fire, a strong determinaton, to pursue photography and to excel at it.

If I was offered the world's wealth—all of it, on the condition that I had to stop taking pictures and to give up my dream of making www.cloud9photography.us a well respected, well known, “go to” source for excellent pictures of historical value and beauty, on a wide variety of subjects, my response would be, “No deal!”

I can't take pictures with a Rolls Royce, a prized race horse, an expensive bottle of wine, fancy jewlery, a big house, lots of land, and/or a big savings account, and none of those things mean “happiness” to me. Those things are nice but they are still things. It is wise to love people, not things, not even cameras!


I hope you enjoy browsing the site, and, as you do, you experience it to be “sticky”, meaning, you like it and do not want to leave it because it holds your attention.

If you have questions, comments, criticism, or suggestions, please call or email me.

Peter J. Mancus,

Owner, www.cloud9photography.us

Sebastopol, CA

Tel.: (707) 703-9210

Email: pmancus@comcast.net



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