is there a right "print"?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by eric, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. eric

    eric Member

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    When I print, I usually like it just a little less constrast than most people. Is that too weird? I see a lot of great photos and I think the contrast is right on. But when I print and I'll make one that I *THINK* is constrasty for most tastes, but then I wind up making one less constrasty for my taste.

    Does this make the print "wrong"?

    I know the difference between a muddy print and not enough. But I think in terms of ranges, there's a low range of acceptable contrast and a high range of acceptable contrast. Is this how others percieve it or do you guys have a magic bullet that says "this is the perfect contrast".
     
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    It is the right print, if it pleases you, no matter what type of print it is, everybody is going to percieve in their own manner, the most successful photographers print for themselves and let it fall where it may with everybody else.

    Just my .02

    Dave
     
  3. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    How can it? If it looks right to you, it is right.

    You might get some negative comment from a camera club judge or similar, but frankly, who cares?

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  4. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    Yo ho ho! I be seein' many images that I think are a bit overdone. I think it be a function of modern society (the bilge rats) which be preferin' the more direct approach. Them lubbers be likin' more saturation in color and more contrast in black and white than be there in reality. I be appreciatin' the subtlety of images that be realistic in appearance much more than images that be overdone, but others think I be nuts. I'm sure I am, but for different reasons. I be inclined to think you be able to appreciate the subtle rather than needin' to be clubbed in the head with a belayin' pin as it were. The old salts be likin' the real look and them young hands be hittin' the grog too hard an' can't see ifn' it aint popin off a' page. Ye be fine, sailor. It's them whats addled...

    - Yellowbeard

    (www.talklikeapirate.com) International Talk Like a Pirate Day 2005
     
  5. User Removed

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    The "correct" or "right" print is the one that expresses your original vision and feelings when you were making the photograph.

    When beginning photo student at the school come to me with a wet print, asking should it be darker/lighter, more contrast/less contrast... I tell them to first make a print showing what they saw when they took that picture. THEN, go back into the darkroom and make a print showing how you felt when you made that photograph. Afterwards...compare the two and see which you like best. I bet it will be the later.
     
  6. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    How you print a particular negative depends on the viewing conditions under which the print will be seen. For example, if the location is brightly lit then you would print darker than if the illumination were average. This is often a tough decision.
     
  7. John Cook

    John Cook Member

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    I believe that a print must satisfy four criteria:

    A display print (wallhanger) must "read" properly in the proposed display area. Don't judge a print under bright light over the darkroom sink and then hang it in a dimly-lit living room.

    A print must be made for its intended purpose. A print which is "raw material" for a lithographer must be flatter than normal, or shadow/highlight detail will be lost in the printing process.

    The important subject of the print must read (or be hidden) properly. Perhaps the detail in an expensive white wedding gown is more important than the wrinkles in the groom's tuxedo. If you are doing a commercial catalogue of black leather gloves, detail in the client's gloves matters most, above everything else in the frame.

    As an amateur working for yourself, not prostituted to a commercial client, you must print to satisfy your own good personal taste. It is as much an expression of your art as the composition or placement of the focus. I personally find shadow detail and pastel softness much more pleasing than garish blatant contrast. In a print, lots of black is not beautiful.
     
  8. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    thats entirely too rude.
     
  9. naaldvoerder

    naaldvoerder Member

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    Why sad? Everyone should question his/hers own vision ones in a while, not only artistic visions....
     
  10. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Well I guess your name says it all, photography is about personal vision, and I always question my photographs, it is a valid question and very important question, all to often we get hung up on the process and forget the vision, I know for a fact, I am never 'outofoptions' whne it comes to my photography.

    Dave
     
  11. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    Any question regarding analogue photography, politely asked, is more than acceptable.

    Hans
     
  12. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    I simply cannot see what is wrong with inviting somebody else's opinion. It is all a matter of live and let live; always a tad difficult for those who have just discovered their "own" individuality.

    Hans
     
  13. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    After 20 years of making my linving with a camera, I wish I was at the point I did not have to ask others opinions, you must be really good, where can I see your work?

    Dave
     
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  15. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    I'm glad you're letting your hair down...but please "suffer"others to do the same.

    Hans
     
  16. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Well said, Dave!

    I didn't percieve this as a "how should my pictures look" type post. I think it was an invite to discussion and feedback on how we percieve our own work - perhaps to share what questions croos each of our minds when we look at a photograph.

    True enough, I am 100% behind the "follow your own vision" approach. Even if you are making a print for sale - you are getting paid because you are the photographer - knowledge, technique, vision and all. And when printing for yourself, that rings even more true.

    However - I think any hobby or profession is a learning process. I would go as far as to propose that it is the learning that makes anything fascinate us and captivate our interest for a long, long time. And inviting critique and input can only help.

    I, myself, am on the other end of the spectrum - I am a bit of a contrast junky, I think... I like a lot of "pop" in my prints. And yes, I realize that its my "vision" and I want to see it that way - but it was pointed out to me that I have often lost some detail in the shadows, or blown out some highlights. And that was not my "vision" - it was a by product of what I was trying to do. Through input of others, people with a wealth of experience or just people who's opinon I value, I have arrived at prints that I like even more - by realizing that I was going a little overboard in some areas. Am I just giving in to "peer pressure"? Do I not have a mind of my own? I would like to think thats not the case (although I am sure some would argue:smile:) - I would like to think I discovered a new level of ability that allowed me to produce things even more true to my "vision" than what I was making before. I simply gained a higher level of ability and a new set of expectations - the input allowed me to set a higher bar for my own work.

    (I had to put the word "vision" in parenthesis - I don't want anyone to think I fancy myself the next Leonardo DaVinci - I was simply at a loss for a better term :smile:)

    Cheers,

    Peter.
     
  17. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    Well, it's getting a bit late here and I'm off to bed. Tomorrow is another day. With new misunderstandings, no doubt.

    Hans
     
  18. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    Optionless. I hereby rest my case.
     
  19. eric

    eric Member

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    You can say whatever you want, but I don't waste my time arguing on the web. Post and run? I'm no troll and I'm number 9 on this forum. I ain't going anywhere.

    Hobby? Yah, but I used to do this for a living as well. I've processed thousands of negatives from Bruce Weber, Steven Maisel and a few hundred of Annie Leibowitz (oh, I can tell you stories about her). Dip and dunk and via inspection. So I knows a little something something. I've sat in the darkroom and helped with many very good printers (I guess good enough for those swanky NYC gallery shows that we always printed for) during gallery exhibition printing crunches. Madonna SEX book! I'm proud to say that I was the very, very first person to see those negs (well, me and Emmauel, we did them together). The film baskets came out of my 5 gallon fixer. OH, you should see the ones that didn't make it to the editor!

    I'm guessing most people print for other people. Cause when I know it is right for me, its not right for others. But I think, technically, there's a point where *WE* (collectectively, us on this forum, cause we all know something technical right) all can say "hmmm, that just doesn't look right". But hey, if your name is Ralph Gibson, you can permanetly put #11 filter right on that sucker and nobody will say anything. (Before anyone says anything and there is no such thing as #11 filter, I'm alluding to Spinal Tap)

    Ballet pix? Have you seen works by Roy Round? One of the guys back in the 70's and 80's who was the Joffrey Ballet photog. Yah, I've worked with him. Funny how very talented people wind up doing commercial work to make ends meet. I did manage to get to his show back in the late 80's.

    I think you got confused because one of your replies was questioning my "right" as in my Rights as a Citizen. I didn't mean that and my Brooklyn education must not have been good so the sentence might have confused people.

    So let's say, you see a nice print and say. Hey, that looks pretty good. Then you see one that is about 1/2 grade less and 1/2 grade more contrast. All 3 look technically pretty good. At what point do you say "this one". Do you say "this one" cause it is what most people will pick?

    I love the post from McPhotoX about what feeling and emotion you wanted in the shot. I really like that post. I'm going to remember that when printing. I think, for me, that is the answer. Its very TAO. "The print is right cause that's the way I felt it when I took it" ... in other words.

    And Yellowbeard, I love that website. I'm going to talk pirate all night to my kids when I get home.
     
  20. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Well,

    I do have to say, this has turned out to another BS thread..

    Dave
     
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  22. naaldvoerder

    naaldvoerder Member

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    Well, well, what brave statements you make, here and at your club, and all that just to assert yourself of being independent of other's opinions. THAT is sad. Personaly, i'm getting in a position that I don't really care about your statements. Please go to another forum and let others discuss printmaking. That is what this forum is for.....
     
  23. User Removed

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    This is a great topic of dicussion and by far NOT a "BS Thread". If people could discuss things in a logical matter without getting upset, offensive or rude....we could have a great conversation here.
     
  24. naaldvoerder

    naaldvoerder Member

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    You're right. I'm sorry.
     
  25. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    The biggest problem Ryan,

    Is most don't be able to discuss it in a logical manner without getting offensive or rude..

    Hence my statement of it again becomming BS

    Dave
     
  26. eric

    eric Member

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    True that but this is apug...its a little different. Just because people on this list do weird and obscure things, doesn't mean they are professional or amateurs. Just dang good photographers and printers. And if you can make a decent living paying bills, soccer balls, dance shoes, car payments, mortage, a steak once in while doing this kind of work more power to you!
    My old friend, as I recall (dang, this was back in the mid 80's), was one of the official photographers when the Joffery was in NY. His show was a huge collection of years back. I learned a sh**load of studio stuff from him.
    [/quote]
    I think I was thinking about the Barry Thorton book. He recalls, in his childhood, that he wasn't a too shabby artists. His art teacher told him to do ABC and he did XYZ cause he thought that was the right thing to do. And then, the rest of the book, he becomes just like that old teacher. He's telling me and you that "you need to print like this, you need to shoot like this, you this this and that".
    Perhaps, perhaps. That pop and snap gets boring after a while. I always go back in that gallery to look at the prints that have less of it. But that won't stop me form seeing any real Ralph Gibson stuff if it was showing nearby.

    Folks here in Apug are artists. And being artists, that they are (gee, I hope I not generalizing but please tell me if I am), me, being a part of it, are sometimes a little insecure and we want to be reassured about some of our thought process. That's what makes agug a little different. Its not a techinical forum, its not an art forum, its not a my camera is better than your forum (mine really is and don't anyone tell me it isn't), its a loose combination of all of this. That's why we post pictures and hopefully, someone will say "I like this, or I don't like this". Once in a while, comments are technical but that doesn't make sense cause its computers and it looks different on my machine and your machine or someone else's machine. So sometimes someone would say, you need to burn it a little more here but it would look fine in my monitor.

    So everybody chill. This ain't usenet and its really easy to stop reading and go on and read something else. Go on, nothing to see here, stop milling around, go about your business, come on, come on.