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  1. #1
    Dave Pritchard's Avatar
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    Art and Mini-Labs - Why Do It Yourself?

    I think this young man is a conscientious employee. This is an eye-opener. The video is only about four minutes long. I am not critical of Brandon. I think we should know what happens to our color negative processing at mini-labs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPj98RysHS0

    The problem is that the 4"x6" prints produced are scanned, then are edited by a minimum-wage employee, not the photographer. Where's the art? How does the photographer know what the negatives look like?

  2. #2

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    I somehow doubt 99% of the people having their images processed at a mini-lab will be overly critical of the processing. Since most hobbiests and working pro's are now all digital, that gives them 100% control over their images. The rest of us that really care will process our own film and scan or make prints ourselves. You have to admit; we are in the 1% or so.

    Also this is nothing really new. Mini lab equipment has been capable of removing color casts and adjusting exposure for many years, often automaticly.

  3. #3
    Leighgion's Avatar
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    Henri Cartier-Bresson was frank about not caring one bit about the photographic process after the pictures were shot. He never developed or printed himself, yet still managed to become the father of street photography.

    Then there's William Eggleston, whose break came out of his "suitcase full of drugstore prints."

    Art is not defined by the artist doing every single step personally.

  4. #4

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    Many artists who do large studio installations or large murals will make a scale product themselves, and have assistants make "paint by color" enlargements that are painted onto the wall and then filled in by assistants.

    Is that any less art than dropping off Ektar 100 at Walgreens? To me, the art happens the moment the shutter clicks, although I suppose a great deal of the art of photography is pre-visualizing the final print and engineering a print that matches that visualization.

    You could argue it either way.

  5. #5

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    If I drop my film off at a mini-lab to get developed, I think of the prints as just a rough idea of whats on the negative, mostly to see the composition. If you happen to get a print from one of these places that really knocks your socks off, who is to say it can't be appreciated as art?

    But, this is just my opinion, and most of my shooting is more of a banal documentary style rather than fine art.

  6. #6

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    Dear Dave,

    Think of it as getting proof prints from a professional lab. When you get them back you choose the ones you want to spend time on.

    Neal Wydra

  7. #7
    Markok765's Avatar
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    I always get friends and fellow photographers that work at minilabs to develop my stuff. Almost always comes out awesome!
    Marko Kovacevic
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  8. #8

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    The best thing to do at a mini-lab is take a few photographs of the mini-lab operation because frankly boys and girls, these operations will be history within a very short time. Every mini-lab I have visited lately (with the exception of Costco) are already giving out the date when they will be closing down their wet operation. I'm sure most of you can tell the same story.

    In the telegraphy world when a telegrapher dies he is said to be "Silent Key" and that term often headlines of the Obituary section of a professional journal. I guess in the darkroom world we should list these folks (and mini-labs) as "Dry Sink".

  9. #9
    Ektagraphic's Avatar
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    It is really sad how every little store is putting in a dry lab operation.
    Helping to save analog photography one exposure at a time

  10. #10
    DanielStone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ektagraphic View Post
    It is really sad how every little store is putting in a dry lab operation.
    and frankly, the prints IMO look like crap, utter crap. even a poorly processed wet print looks better 75% of the time than these dry-process prints.

    and, IIRC, the longevity(archival quality) of the prints isn't that long, is it?

    -dan


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