Print size and series of photographs

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by Tom Kershaw, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Assuming image quality and other workflow requirements can be met to produce a print of a particular size or process, achieving the desired result from an aesthetic point of view; is it then sensible to externalize towards producing say a 8x8" print if the "best" result is achieved with a 15x15" for the purpose of creating a series? My temptation is to make prints at the size I want to make them (within reason), and continue from that point...

    I note with interest Bill Schwab's system of releasing small prints as a 'special edition' on occasion but wonder how this sought of plan relates to other work, particularly if one produces a relatively broad range of work. I can see the advantages of Michael and Paula's practice, producing a more restricted range of work from an 'output' point of view.

    Tom.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Interesting, I have in the past printed and sold smaller sets/editions of images, these have been smaller than I print for myself (approx 9.5"x11", and also made handmade books where I actually make images smaller than the negative !!!

    One reason is I can print more economically so sell for less, but also a set of 6 prints can sit framed on a wall in a small house in a way a larger set would in a gallery. I guess mine were special editions, I've not done sets like this for about ten years.

    Ian
     
  3. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Viewing distance comes into play...a portfolio of work meant to be looked at with prints in-hand would be printed smaller that the same portfolio of images printed to be on the walls of a very large room. My prints don't look good over-the-couch...too damn small (8x10 contact prints using alt processes), but they are great in well-lit hallways or for holding in one's hands.

    Vaughn
     
  4. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Ian,

    I suppose your comments relate to the relative importance of producing a range of work compared to a more limited set of end results.


    Vaughn,

    Your example of the 8x10" contact print is a good one. The whole process (8x10 in camera negative and carbon transfer process) dictates that particular print size. Assuming silver gelatin printing with an enlarger I could make either a contact print or a 30x40" print; the options multiply.

    Tom.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Not really Tom. I've often produced quite limited sets taken from a very broad range in an exhibition series, I suppose a synopsis. almost exactly what you'd submit to a magzine etc.

    It works really well, I just haven't had darkroom time in the last few years to do more, that's due to work load (in my full time work) and then made worse by moving abroad.

    Ian

    Ian
     
  6. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Ian,

    I suppose I should have phrased the statement: 'questions of the relative inclination towards' rather than 'importance' as such.

    Tom.
     
  7. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    Tom,

    I am not sure what you mean by this, "I can see the advantages of Michael and Paula's practice, producing a more restricted range of work from an 'output' point of view."

    Do you mean limited sizes?

    In any case, I think you should print your photographs in whatever size you want to. I cannot understand doing anything else, unless it was for a particular commercial purpose.

    Michael A. Smith
     
  8. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Michael,

    Thanks for replying. Yes, I meant limited sizes. On reflection though, I remembered you have (or have had) large platinum / palladium prints made.

    Tom
     
  9. Hi Tom,

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems you may be answering your own question: "My temptation is to make prints at the size I want to make them (within reason), and continue from that point...".

    Much of what one sees exhibited in the commercial galleries, today, are very large prints, where photography is made to compete with other media, such as painting. Some photographic genres might be fitting to such overblown and monumental proportions, most, I feel, are not. My belief (very subjective on my part, here) is that there's something incredibly special to looking at a fine photographic image up-close. It makes for an intimate, jewel-like, personal and lasting experience. I agree with the comments, above, where portfolio series are made to be handled ("in-hand"), and looked at, print-to-print. I've seen so many "big-print" portfolios, where the size overtakes the content of the photographs. They're difficult to manage, not to mention, expensive to produce. I also think it important for the photographer to decide (manage) how he/she desires the final image to be consumed and experienced -- this will often dictate the size. Printing to a standard size (by that, I mean your standard, and not available standard paper sizes) might be a good way to start, giving you predictable darkroom workflow results. Your audience(s) will get to know you for that. You can always deviate from that, depending on the end use (exhibition, home display, limited edition portfolio, etc). I hope this helps.

    All the best,

    Andrew