There is no argument about the quantity of photographers who have their work done by others. I would suggest that most do it because it is easier, but I'll accept anyone's opinion on the whys. With the caveat that it is an opinion.
Originally Posted by tim atherton
I can tell you from my own experience that I do as good or better job with my prints of my photographs than do the pro labs.
My opinion on why I do it better is that I have a better understanding of how to print my work and what I want from the neg.
I can also tell you I do it cheaper and that I do not find the time investment keeps me from shooting.
My comments were in relation to what path to produce the best print. Some tend to dismiss the process of producing a c-print as being inconsequential to artist's goal. I disagree.
The sculptors not making his own castings really does not relate. The sculptors I have known made the models that formed the casting and spent hours/days/weeks cleaning up the casted object.
Castings do not offer much interpretation when compared to a negative.
Of course these are people I have known and to my knowledge only one ever became 'significant.'
I do both analog and digital and my axe to grind is that my eyes are telling me one thing and others are saying something else.
Originally Posted by tim atherton
All longevity claims tend to be like car milage claims. I have been printing backlit inkjets for about 4 years using uv pigmented inks that are rated as some of the best on the planet. I am not impressed with the numbers thrown out by the manufacturers and an honest person would not choose the inkjet over the RA4 backlit if they saw them side by side (freshly installed or over time). I choose backlit because it is the benchmark for how lightfast a material is. (It is also a good measure of the dynamic range.)
[/QUOTE]Of course they look far better in person than they do as scans.[/QUOTE]
Hopefully. Perhaps more time making pictures and less time in the darkroom?
My work is probably an aquired taste. The contrast and colour is pretty much what the work looks like -- not a 160nc thing.
Originally Posted by PaddyQ
Meanwhile I shoot (waste?) many hundreds of rolls and sheets a year -- making any more is probably not going to help me much
I'm glad you signed up just to dish my work though.
Nachtwey, Salgado, Cartier Bresson etc - all wonderful photographers of different sorts - but they don't/didn't print their own work.
A photographer is a photographer and a printer is a printer. Sometimes there is a crossover and a person is both. Sometimes they are one or the other. The simple answer that there is absolutely no reason - moral, ethical or artistic why a person has to be or do both.
There are many many excellent photogorpahers who know that either they aren't that good in the darkroom (even though their photography may be of the highest order) in both B&W and colour work and know it makes either financial (and time) or creative sense to turn to a master printer to do that work. Conversely there are probably a greater number of excellent darkroom technicians and even master pritners who think they are also good photographers. Wish it were that they had the same sense to know their limitations... :-)
I am sure you are correct and there may be photographers who are allergic to the chems or don't have the space or are affraid of the dark. I don't place moral, ethical, political or dietary reasons for photographers to do their own printing. Nor, frankly do I care if a photographer does his own printing or not.
My points are that the printing process is a part of the larger creative process; the artist knows, or should know best what the final print should look like; that if you can justify the time to do a FB print (up to an hour dry to dry) then I have a hard time understanding how you can argue against doing your own colour work based upon time (maybe 10mins dry to dry); and finally it is either ignorance or arrogance that would dismiss the printing as not being worthy of the artist's time.
I should point out that I am not talking about proof prints or probably even package prints for a wedding or portrait (although I do my own portrait work) and I realize not everyone is going to be adapt at it.
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So does this mean the final work should be signed by two then?
A photographer is a photographer and a printer is a printer.
photograph name... photograph by John Doe print by Joe Bloggs
photograph name... photograph by John Doe print by Imaging Company name
If people are making a firm distinction between the photographer and the printer, then it seems only fair the printer gets due recognition as well depending on his involvement..
Good point Sean.
Originally Posted by Sean
Not at all - if you sign your prints in that way it probably indicates some sort of aspirations towards being an "artist" or "creator" - in which case, in parallel with most other similar art forms, the printer is viewed as a craftsman working under the direction of the artist (e.g. in some US States which have laws governing the sale of art and about what exactly is or isn't an "original", what is an edition and so on, that is how it is defined).
Originally Posted by Sean
You could equally in some ways ask why it is that most photographers don't coat and use their own plates? (convenience?) But some photographers do. Does that make Sally Man that much more of a true photographer because she coats her plates, exposes them and makes the image, and then develops and prints them? Presumably she is more of a photographer than someone who just buys their film from a store?
In part I think it's tied up with the perhaps excessive fetish for the print as an object in and of itself in photography.
Yet a good (however you want to define that) photograph should be able to stand on it's own - whether the printing is mediocre or excellent. Good printing can,perhaps add something to it, but it isn't the most essential elements. Who was it that said any good photograph should be able to stand as a Xerox? (before the days of laser copiers). There is some truth to that. I have an old 1970 cheap paperback of Let US Now Praise Famous Men - the text pages are yellowed. The front sections which holds the photographs has screening so large you can just about see the dots from normal viewing distance. Yet the strength and meaning of the images still comes through clearly. Or look at Atget. If you've ever studied any of his original prints you'll generally find they are pretty workmanlike - yes, he was working with basic materials in those days - but the prints generally aren't especially polished and the work is often a little slapdash. Truth is, they don't really need to be perfect - the content of them just doesn't require it. The photogorpahs are so much much more than just the particualr print
For me, it's the content of the photograph which is primary, not it's presentation - which can take numerous forms (nor what film it was shot on or what camera or format was used). Yes - wonderful printing does add something - I just bought a lovely Pd Print because it was so attractive - but it should never be the essential component of the photograph.
A good photograph may often by aided and possibly even improved by excellent printing - but it should never be essential to it. A bad photograph can never be made better by even the most wonderful of hand printing. Every photographer wants their work presented int he best possible way and for it to be as close to their vision as possible. It's up to any individual photogorpaher whether they chose to do that themselves, or find someone who can do work with them to that for them.
What's that hoaky old St. Ansel quote - the negative is the score and the print is the performance? No analogy is ever entirly accurate, but not every composer plays their own work (or can even play their
What's that hoaky old St. Ansel quote - the negative is the score and the print is the performance? No analogy is ever entirly accurate, but not every composer plays their own work (or can even play their own work). (and Ansel was probably a far better performer than ever he was composer).
It seems to me that there is a fault in this logic. If we follow this, then: "Printing is a separate element... and should/ could not be considered as an integral part of the image itself"?
Originally Posted by tim atherton
To me the idea of seeing a photograph and reacting with the response, "This printing is abysmal; but the image is really good - therefore it is a "fine" photograph", is incomprehensible. The photograph is, and of necessity, MUST be, considered as a whole.
There are certainly great photographers who do not print their own. They have found alternate means - printers whose results satisfy their internal criteria. I have no problem with that: the photographer - artist STILL has ultimate and complete control of the final result. I, so far, have NOT found an external printing source that DOES satisfy "what I want" ... for a number of reasons ... therefore I do it myself - my CHOICE.
More simply put ... I'll repeat what I wrote before: "The entire taking - printing - is an integrated process, resulting on one whole photograph, no matter who does what."
Surely, you are not taking issue with those who do print ... and it is only your opinion that as far as you are concerned, that "time is wasted in printing, when one could be out taking photographs".
A valid opinion. Meanwhile ... I'll carry on...
Ed Sukach, FFP.