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SPIE’s O-E LASE ’87: An Artist’s Perspective A former camera research technician from the motion picture industry assured me that years ago, when the Society for Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineering (SPIE) first held its OpticalEngineering (O-E) LASE conference, it was much smaller and more focused than it is now, dealing with issuesthat directly pertained to lenses and film-making. He also noted that at that time no women, and very few people from outside of the U.S.A., attended. This is no longer the case. Held 11-16 January 1987,the O-E LASE ’87 conference sprawled between two large hotels in Los Angeles, with 15 or more conferences occurring simultaneously . At least one-third of the topics for these conferences dealt with laser technology and applications. The others covered a broad range of fields, including holography, other three-dimensional (3D ) imaging techniques and large-screen projection, as well as reflective optics, infrared systems and hard copies. One could stilloccasionally encounter a movie maker, although their movies now are in 3-D,with computer-generated animation enhancing any live footage. A small number of women werepresent, although at least half of these, including myself, were artists or representing artists’ concerns. Perhaps as many as a third of the participants were from outside the US.: there were Canadians, Western Europeans and Asians; the Eastern bloc countries apparently were not represented . In the area of display holography, many Europeans claim to represent a more impressiveand sophisticated market than that which currently exists in the United States. But asan artist, and having studied in Europe, I feel that this claim is weak. There are so few artists working in the medium that, at this point, continental divisiveness and nationalistic jealousy are destructive. It is true, however, that many European governments , as well as those of Korea, Japan and China, are putting up large amounts of funds for research into true color reflection holograms and stereography. Unimpeded by U.S. patent laws,they also are interested in plunging into the world holography market in the area of massproduced embossed work. There is a serious shortage of technicians in the field, and artists, who in many cases have better technical knowledge than technicians , may be lured awayfrom aesthetic considerations by the prospect of a regular paycheck. M.A. Cossette of Lava1 University in Canada presented a paper exploring the dichotomy artists experience when producing work for commercial rather than artistic purposes. According to her survey, all commissioned work is done for corporations, and promotional holograms seem to resemble each other closelydespite the individual inclinations of their creators. Perhaps this resemblance results from the influence of the client’s vision, which dictates the artist’s production and renders the artist merely a technician. As the public sees more and more of these commercial holograms, the question is: Willtheuseof holography as a medium for serious artwork suffer? My own research shows that indeed in the minds of members of the New York art establishment these commercial images do interfere with acceptance of holographic work. Access to excellent or even adequate equipment is a problem and frustration for display holographers. This is one of the major reasons that the number of artists using holography is so small. The development of inexpensive laser diodes will be very important in opening up the medium. Members of Eastman Kodak (A.W. Lungerhausen et al.) have produced holograms with a laser diode but admit that there still are problems that must be worked out. Representatives of Kodak predicted that someone will produce cheap, stabilized diode lasers in longer wavelengths for display holography if it is felt that the demand exists. It is possible, though, that the demand will be dependent on the availability of this technology, and we can only hope that market studies will take this circularity into account. Representatives of Ilford and Polaroid also provided updates on the development of new filmand chemistry. Research on the photo-polymer system seemsto be progressing well, with the mylar or glass film exhibiting good thermal and light stability and also good resistance to humidity. G. Wood of Ilford offered the pessimistic view that holography must create an industry...


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pp. 81-82
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