Has digital prints made older process prints special?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Mainecoonmaniac, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Don't know if it's my perception, but Has digital prints made older process prints special or even precious? Just want to know how other APUGers think.
     
  2. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Really, B&W wet darkroom traditional prints are far more impressive than D-process prints (but not RA-4). For colour workers, now that old Ilfochrome bastion is gone, we have scant choice for printing, and I remain ambivalent toward its (digital) value. Personally I am happy with the D-print process but rest assured I am two steps away with a big stick making sure I get the very highest quality possible and it is 'just-so' — not "near enough", but spot on. In terms of value, my hoard of matted and/or framed Ilfochromes will easily outlive the prints of the alternative process, and that is what makes them even more valuable: they're just not done any more like that.
     
  3. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I don't think the general public even cares. But to me, darkroom printed B&W prints are special. I heard master printers can create nearly equal prints using either technology. I neither have the technique or have access to those equipment that produces such a high quality digital prints. Doing my best, my 50+ year old Omega D2 allows me to produce the best print I possibly can within my own limitations.
     
  4. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    In this computer dominated age it's special to create anything without using a screen.
     
  5. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Absolutely. You can get lost in the tonal scale of a good black and white print.

    If you wanna see something really special though, check out a large format slide.
     
  6. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I'd like to think so, but I've not seen much evidence of it, certainly not for J.Q. Public.

    I've had many occasions of explaining the processes and watching public reaction of various sorts of prints, plat/pal, collodion, silver, lith etc. and the common reaction is "oh, that's nice", and they move on to the "archival inkjet" next to it.

    For people who understand the processes, it's a little different, but even then it's often "oh wow, I remember doing that stuff...."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2012
  7. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Absolutely.

    There are [at least] two fairly orthogonal ways to define value in a print:

    (1) The "market" value, related to supply and demand; and
    (2) The "artistic" value, which may have no relation to (1) at all and has more to do with the artistic merits as recognized by those wishing to own the art.

    In the case of (1), the value of analogue prints is very clear. Analogue prints are unique, individual objects made with materials that may well soon be gone- at least from the mass market. The alt processes are also very difficult to scale up... which is of course why those kinds of prints are less attractive from a mass marketing perspective but more attractive from the standpoint of individual worth. Even flaws can become features and so forth.... which works well as long as the flaws aren't the only feature :whistling: ...

    In the case of (2), that is more linked to undefinables like how much the audience will value uniqueness and manu propria. My own feeling is that there will soon be a massive backlash against mass-produced art; this will strongly favor the individual contribution. I think we already see signs of that here and there, even in unexpected places like boutiques that are hawking lomos. Many (most?) people do want to be different and will tend to select art that affirms that, even if it's only in a temporary trendy way. (trends that aim to make someone seem unique do have a way of clobbering themselves... hence "temporary")

    All that said, the analogue community must not rest on (1) as what defines the value of their art. There must be more, there should be more, than just being different from whatever else is out there. What disturbs me is the notion that just because a photograph was made with film and traditional printing, it is more artistic. Absolutely false!!! And people who believe that will continue to drain their own financial resources and seldom see return on investment :whistling: In my view, there needs to be some harmony between the artistic vision and the methods of the artist, and simply taking the same shot on film that one might take on a dslr does not make it more valuable in the sense of (2). It might in the sense of (1) but not (2)...

    Then there is (3) the value of the artist's experience which is entirely separate from (1) and (2)....
     
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  8. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Not really

    This discussion is one sided as the moderator police will be active soon, but digital prints have had a positive effect.
    I don't think its fair to slam digital here, just like discussing its potential for traditional printing methods has been banned.
    I embrace both methods of making prints and can make both sing.
     
  9. JohnMeadows

    JohnMeadows Subscriber

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    I've been shooting a lot of young models the last few months. most of whom have had very little exposure to film photography. Recently, I provided a couple of prints on Ilford Art 300 to a model. I am no master printer, but she was blown away by the darkroom print; to her it was special. If we can get actual prints in front of people eyes and in their hands, they will see they are special. Computer monitors (like iPods for audio) are the great leveler when it comes to technical quality, and does not do an adequate job of conveying the specialness.
     
  10. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Fair enough... and this will of course be a one-sided discussion. But stepping back from all that, I would say that if there is a real harmony between the image and the output method then the value will be higher. Regardless of the output method. 'Nuff said :wink:
     
  11. faustotesta

    faustotesta Member

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    I don't know if digital prints are better than my wet stuff. What i know is that spending the night in the darkroom and seeing prints popping up from the developer are feelings matched by very few things....
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The Moderator Police Force are currently wondering where to move this thread, as "Alternative Processes" is clearly not the best place for it.
     
  13. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I just think ** we should not throw stones when we live in a glass house** I love APUG but am old enough to know there are many ways to make a print. We cannot have it both ways here. A lot of good people are here who work both ways and this kind of thread is a thorn.
     
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  15. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Special perhaps because they are becoming far more rare than their digital counterparts. I've been using a hybrid method for some color prints with help, because I really suck at the post-process digital stuff that seems to be required to print them, and I never really loved color printing optically... so I won't go there again.

    Where to put this thread, though? Ethics and Philosophy??

    Edited to add... moved it!
     
  16. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I'm really bad about post-processing stuff myself. One of the BIG problems for me is that I adjust my digital file on a display where it is back-lit and self-illuminating, then print on a reflective medium such as paper. Two never looks the same even in the best of conditions. I still haven't developed a "touch" for it. Sort of a digital version of the "dry down" effect....

    I like the darkroom way because it's calming. Being an IT worker, doing it digitally seem so much like work. Darkroom is a special place for me. Shut the door and it's just ME. Plus, as I said in my first response, I can make better prints that way given my ability and equipment.

    It's getting rather repetitive to see this our way vs their way type thread of every kind. We don't need to prove our way is better... I don't think? I just do it "my way" and let others (and the other half of me) do "their way" and as "they" see fit.
     
  17. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I continue with film and darkroom for black and white because I prefer it and I am good at it. It is not a value judgement of A is better than B, but a cost benefit analysis of using the tools I already have, and 40 years of practice and experience to continue doing what I know; versus starting over learning digital printing, and acquiring the myriad of gear and software to do it. I'm 60. This is just a hobby and life's too short as it is. :cool:

    Now, if I was a color printer, then I think the boat has sailed and I would be into digital printing at the very least. As it is, any color I do shoot is of the "vacation/snapshot" variety, and I think my dslr has now permanently replaced the slrs. I'm not getting rid of them yet, but I can't foresee another role of 35mm color film in my future.

    As for the focus of APUG, I, like many others, came here years ago because it was the one place we could discuss our old hobby without being told we were doing it wrong. Alas, it has attracted a few zealots on both sides. This is not a new problem for the site, and apparently it's not going away. :sad:
     
  18. Ian Leake

    Ian Leake Subscriber

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    Perhaps only two things matter: does the print resonate with you the creator, and does it resonate with a viewer.

    As a creator, I find that sometimes an analogue print works best for me, but sometimes it's a digital print. I love platinum prints, but I'm not really fussed if I make them from film negatives or digital negatives - so long as the entire process from light to paper feels right for that picture. My local lab uses Ilford RC and FB silver gelatin paper to make wet chemistry prints from digital master files - and I have to say that I'm blown away by the quality of what they can produce.

    As a collector, until recently I've only bought analogue prints because I haven't found digital prints that resonate with me. But I bought my first inkjet print a few days ago (a copy of a contact sheet from 6x6 negatives), and will probably buy more in the future.

    So in my view it's not a question of either/or. It's a question of which works best for a particular project or picture.
     
  19. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Being old school is now bringing a lot of interest to my prints from people who are novice collectors.



    You are all under arrest.
     
  20. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    You are probably talking about Metro, my lab has been doing this process, even before the Ilford Harmon paper was introduced, I used Agfa Classic back in 2011.

    These prints are identical in every way, except the image is exposed by a laser light beam, not a halogen light beam.


     
  21. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    When shown among other people's digital inkjet and walmart prints, an analog B&W print (especially a good one) really stands out. To what extent it's the medium or the photo depends on the viewer's art comprehension and background. The medium and the photo work together as part of the craft of photography. An alt process image really stands out sometimes when a silver print would be dull.
     
  22. Dinesh

    Dinesh Subscriber

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    Hey, senile old guy, are you sure about this date?
     
  23. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    I know around these parts, I hear people say "Ohhh, this is a fiber print" or "Wow, a real cibachrome" and I'm not talking about people I've already infested with analog love.

    I've recently had a request for a set of images because they are one of a kind in terms of being done by hand, that aspect of the print, was the icing on the cake for the sale.
     
  24. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    For those in Toronto area wanting to see if the quality of Digital Output is up to snuff to enlarger prints.
    One of these digital fibre prints we printed is hanging right now at Stephen Bulger Gallery . The Show has prints by Kertez, Winston O Link, and many other artists.
    It does not look out of place.
     
  25. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    thanks for pointing this our young man.... NGFY
    2001
     
  26. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Absolutely!! The hand-made nature of darkroom produced prints puts them in a class way above anything spitting out of an inkjet printer.