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  1. #101

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    Most of the people who buy my work do so for how the image was seen and shot, not printed, that goes for my buying of work too. I usually end up with prints I like in a short period because how the final prints looks is 90% dependant on how I shot it. I am very consistent in my development, only changing times or dilutions in very rare cases.

    I don't think I will ever be a "Master Printer" because I like to spend as little time as possible printing so that I can spend as much time as possible out shooting. The print is merely the device in which people view the photograph I made, the effort in the darkroom is always highly secondary to the effort I put into the camera...

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by PKM-25 View Post
    The print is merely the device in which people view the photograph I made, the effort in the darkroom is always highly secondary to the effort I put into the camera...
    Wow... I completely disagree with this. I don't see how you can separate the two, or give less effort in one. If your printing isn't to high standards, you'll never convey whatever it is you're trying to bring to the viewer.

    PS- from the images you've posted, it appears as if you do make an effort in the printing stage.

  3. #103

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    Quote Originally Posted by eddie View Post
    Wow... I completely disagree with this. I don't see how you can separate the two, or give less effort in one. If your printing isn't to high standards, you'll never convey whatever it is you're trying to bring to the viewer.

    PS- from the images you've posted, it appears as if you do make an effort in the printing stage.
    It's not that I don't want to be a good printer, I do and will have to master it to a large degree over time. It's that the printing stage is not where most of the work is for me, it is out in the field, pre-exposure. I use somewhat of a journalistic ethic in all my "Fine Art" work so coming home with great negatives really makes the job on the printing side a lot easier, more consistent. Like others have said on here, I keep it as simple as possible, including using only one paper for the final and RC for quick and dirty eval prints, hand outs for friends.

    I like to keep the percentage of darkroom time to shoot time at around 25%......I loathe being indoors...

  4. #104
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    OK. I get what you're saying. I think we all try to put the effort into getting the right negative, to simplify the printing process. I got caught up in your use of "merely" and "always highly secondary" as being dismissive of the printing part of the process.

  5. #105

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    Quote Originally Posted by PKM-25 View Post
    It's not that I don't want to be a good printer, I do and will have to master it to a large degree over time. It's that the printing stage is not where most of the work is for me, it is out in the field, pre-exposure. I use somewhat of a journalistic ethic in all my "Fine Art" work so coming home with great negatives really makes the job on the printing side a lot easier, more consistent. Like others have said on here, I keep it as simple as possible, including using only one paper for the final and RC for quick and dirty eval prints, hand outs for friends.

    I like to keep the percentage of darkroom time to shoot time at around 25%......I loathe being indoors...
    +1. In the past, it had always been my habit to put off my darkroom work as long as possible. I, too, prefer being out of doors - shooting, hiking, canoeing, cycling, etc. (I can say with pride that I have never owned a television set - I make a lousy spectator). Returning home to the Left Coast last fall the habit re-emerged with vigor, underwritten by the reminder of the return of the rainy season (I spend a disproportionate of my leisure time from late October to early April developing negatives and printing).

  6. #106

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    How do you guys do THAT? Average scene has something like 12 to 14 stops of shade, often more. Film captures way over 10 stops of light. The visible part of paper is only about 7 stops. If we simply lowered the contrast and print, it'll end up with very flat print. If we printed with normal contrast, parts of the image will be blow out or blocked. It's absolutely necessary for most prints to have some manipulation.

    So far, I only have ONE print that didn't need any manipulation and it was quite satisfactory. By necessity, to make a print I end up spending quite a bit of time in my darkroom.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  7. #107

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    While 12-14 stops might be average for a lot of the stuff I photograph , it is not average for most photographers, textbooks etc. That is a wide subject brightness range. But if that is the luminance range you are working under, then I would totally agree that substantial burning and dodging (and potentially other controls) are pretty much always required to secure a good print. And that is the right way to do it too. Because trying instead to make the "correct" negative with N-6 or extreme compensating procedures will lead to crud prints - although they'll be easy to make.

    With scenes of average contrast, less work is typically required, unless there is a lot of tonal balancing to do. There are often still a large number of local burning and dodging adjustments, but they are each less severe and are for balancing, interpretation, and fine tuning.

    Some people do a lot of print manipulation even with straight forward negatives, and some people are much more minimal in their printing manipulation approaches regardless of the negative. It depends on your subject matter, aesthetic preferences, and your general philosophy regarding the importance of the print. As long as the approach is honest (rather than being the result of laziness or lack of skill), there's no right or wrong. Some people honestly feel it begins and ends with the image and the print is of relatively minor importance. For others, the craft of the print is critical to finishing and communicating the original visualization.
    Last edited by Michael R 1974; 07-08-2012 at 08:00 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #108
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    Great discussion, thanks. I have to agree with Michael, that a lot depends on the purpose of one's photography, and so on its final output. If a print is the primary output, I suppose it is necessary to become a good printer. Sure, I wish I could print like the respected masters, but I realise I am unlikely to achieve that dream. The alternative, however, or simplified printing has not satisfied my goals, hence the constant learning. Perhaps, if the primary purpose was just the act of taking of a photograph, maybe to be shown just once, as it seems to be for most people, I would not care so much about printing. Even with digital, I do not like sharing pictures without some level of adjustment, to make them communicate the feelings, or observations, which I wished to share, when I took them.

    John Sexton once joked (or was he being serious?) that if he had a negative that would print straight, he would find an area of it to dodge, and then to burn it back in.
    Rafal Lukawiecki
    See rafal.net | Read rafal.net/articles

  9. #109

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    Devil's advocate here...

    If you look at a printed photograph who's impact is undeniably in the subject matter, framing, timing, lighting, the seen mastery of it all and it looks great in print, but printed super easy, perhaps just needing the correct contrast filter and no dodging and burning, is it not a great print?

    What is a great print then, a sheet of silver gelatin paper that has been labored over that just happens to contain a photographic image, boring, incredible or otherwise...?....or simply a *great* photograph well printed..?

    I only ask this because if I were to spend hours on a print only to see a boring photograph afterward, it would not be a great print, even if "Masterfully" printed.

  10. #110

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    Well?

    I've printed such an image. Stick the paper, put in #2 1/2 paper, set it to f/8 and 19 seconds. Dev, stop, fix, fix, HCA, and wash! Great print!

    But most of the images I have require quite a bit of manipulation to bring out the best.

    The way I see it, I'll have to have an image with a great potential first. Then it'll be up to me, either a straight print or a month long trial and error to put that on paper.

    Technique alone won't make a great photograph - or any art. Sometimes I have to remind myself of it.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

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