When is it enough?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by ronlamarsh, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. ronlamarsh

    ronlamarsh Member

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    The question being how long do you slave over a print, with the endless permutations of interpretation before you determine it is the best that it can be and a "fine print" or that the negative/subject defy printing?
    I ask as I have a negative of a stunning subject that is about as painful to print as it gets. When I think about reprinting it, as I always find something I could have done better in my latest "final print", I contemplate drinking pyro.
    I know that after a certain point a person should be able to let go and move on and everyones threshold is different.. so what is the threshold out there?
    Am I just suffering from print OCD's? I read in one of Tim Rudmans books not to be afraid of perfection.........so how do you know you are there?
     
  2. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    I'd say that you need to step back for a bit. I've been there with prints before and I find that if I just leave it for a week and come back with a fresh mind, it prints a lot easier. Personally, I try not to worry about finding things wrong with my prints - I know that I will always find something - and just set them aside when they make me frustrated.

    - Randy
     
  3. Will S

    Will S Member

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    I just watched the Paul Strand documentary and it was reported by his last wife that he would run down to the darkroom to look at the drying prints six or so times a night. She also said he would call her in to look at what he was doing at just about every stage in the process - fixer, toning, etc.

    He also, according to her, laid in his deathbed caressing his prints as if they were long lost children.

    When you can do that, I suppose they are perfect.

    Best,

    Will
     
  4. don sigl

    don sigl Member

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    Perfection is nothing to be afraid of. Go ahead and reach for it...It will always alude your grasp. But on occasion, you may brush it with a fingertip.
     
  5. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    I'm of the opposite persuasion: when I finish a printing session, my prints are OK. It's only a few days later when I come back to them that I find what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I know right on the spot what's wrong and don't have enough time to correct them, but I make a mental note and will re-do the print later. Same thing with negatives: they're kinda fine when I pull them out of the tank, but it takes a while before they sediment and I can see which ones are worth it and which ones aren't.

    So stepping back a bit never hurts to reevaluate your gauge.
     
  6. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Oh ... I don't know just when it is time to move on. My record was 32 prints of a relatively simple scene - a white house surrounded by a browned - something like that - grass lawn in mid-November, taken on a solidly overcast day, and not by me, so I had *no* idea of the time of day. Whoever the photographer was, he did not include an image of a gray card either, something I've learned to do, if there is any indication that color balance may be critical at some time in the future.

    That struggle was monumental - no matter what dichro head combination I tried, I could NOT get that house to appear white.... not even close.

    With me, I *hate* to "spot". I've been known to make quite a few prints, cleaning and fussing with the negative to avoid spotting. Recently, however, I produced a 16 x 20" print for a local exhibition, here in Ipswich, and instead of the usual re-printing struggle, set out to obliterate *many* white spots. It took a couple of hours - I recalled a number of obscenities I had not used for a while.
    At the exhibition, a friend who knows me asked about how many sheets of paper I had used; my answer, "one - and I 'spotted' for a change." He wouldn't believe me - kept staring at the print, until he finally asked, "Where?"
    As soon as I heard that question... I knew I had been successful.

    Getting back to "numbers" - irrespective of spotting, I have burned, dodged, adjusted contrast, cropped hither and yon ... and have never achieved perfection. I've come to realize the bitter truth - You HAVE to stop somewhere. Usually, I'll look over the ten or fifteen prints I've made - and decide that the second or third was the *best* after all.
     
  7. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

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    I think if you don't go through the frustration of finding out what doesn't work, then you'll not get to or recognize what does.

    kinda like dating..
    :smile:
     
  8. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I shot one of my best frames in 1992. The first acceptable print was made in 1996. The framed one that's hanging on the wall was made in 2004.

    Maybe it's time to give it another try...

    Oh - it's in my gallery. The one from Dekamara, Eritrea: "Commercial Bank of".
     
  9. ronlamarsh

    ronlamarsh Member

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    Enough

    I like that "Its kind of like dating". I've been trying to let it go for awhile as my stock of unpprinted negatives is piling up rapidly.
    My favorite Hamlet quote seems to apply "Tis neither good nor bad but thinking makes is so" so I'll just stop thinking so much......maybe.
     
  10. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    If it's not working and it's hurting, then go away and try something else rather than getting in a right two and eight. A little less force and a little more of the Force.
     
  11. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    I remember reading that St. Ansel continued working on one image, felt he got it right after thirty years. I like pyro with a little crackers and cheese. It seems to take the edge off of things.

    Another perspective, think of all the people whose greatest concern is what will happen on the next soap. I find this more challenging.

    John Powers
     
  12. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I've read that about "Moonrise Over Hernandez". Someone interviewed a close friend of Adams, and remarked that he seldom "manipulated" his images in printing. I wish I could remeber who was being interviewed, but he gave "Moonrise" as an example; "That image was manipulated like crazy. After years, right up to his death, he never stopped thinking about it and re-printing it with some sort of "new" printing modification."
     
  13. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    He was an ok printer, but not a great one. I've seen some beautiful prints of his and I've seen dark and dingy overprinted ones. I think his obsessive agonizing for endless hours over a print was more affectatious posturing than application of skill.
     
  14. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    Yes, you can end up overworking prints and just fussing and fussing.