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  1. #21

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    I think that a print is successful when you look at it and can say that you wouldn't change anything. I know that technical jargon can enter into an interpretation, but if someone wants to convey something like blazing mid-day desert light like Friedlander did, would you change how he printed? If you wanted to convey the delight in light that Caponigro has, would you give his prints more contrast?

  2. #22

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    Dear Lee,

    I have long said that the naming of Zones was a work of genius, and the very easiest way to convey where you are on the characteristc curve.

    But as far as I am concerned, just about everything else in the Zone System is a restatement of basic sensitometry, and is either over-simplified or over-complicated or sometimes both.

    Cheers,

    Roger

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by NikoSperi
    I dunno... I recall reading Henri Cartier Bresson's printer, hearing HCB say he was expert at judging the light and didn't need a meter, complain that he, pardon, He, overexposed the crap out of everything.
    Maybe, but not all of his negs were. I remember printing some from the early 60's...images of JFK and familly, and they were hardly overexposed. They had about enough exposure I'd say, but under developed...by about a stop. The French are notorious for that style of negs. Then they want punchy prints but detail everywhere....even where it doesn't need to be.

    Drives printers crazy.

  4. #24
    mmcclellan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexis Neel
    "But then their images are so strong that pretty much any print of their negs banged out by a kid in his first 10 minutes in the darkroom will probably be decent!"

    You obviously haven't seen his negatives. And the statement devalues those of who are professional printers. If your statement were true, Salgado would save himself a lot of money by finding the cheapest person he could to print his work. And it would probably be the local FNAC.

    "With a good negative of a strong image in hand, making a "good" print is a piece of cake, fairly mechanical in fact."

    Maybe you just haven't seen a good print then. Its hardly mechanical. Again if it was, and a professional printer wasn't involved in the process, I doubt photographers like Salgado would be selling prints for the amount they are...since they'd most likely look like snapshots.
    You're right that I have not seen Salgado's negs, but I have seen lots of his images -- and they're incredible. Very strong. I was the archivist for Margaret Bourke-White's collection at Syracuse University for a year and studied her negs at great length, as well as printed a few of them. I have also seen a HUGE number of good prints in museums, galleries, and other collections around the world.

    With a GOOD negative, making a "perfect" print is fairly mechanical. If a negative is very difficult to print, then it's different. All that said, when the image in the negative is strong, even if the neg is crappy (e.g., Robert Capa's negs of D-Day or the Spanish soldier getting shot), even a "poor" print still makes for a powerful image.

    Salgado has said several times in interviews and articles that he does not spend time in the darkroom because he prefers to be out shooting. He's not alone in that. Of course, such shooters want good prints from their negs, but there is a wide range of "good" prints that can be made out of their negs, interpreting the images in a variety of ways.

    Recognize rhetorical speech for what it is and don't take things so literally, okay?
    Michael McClellan
    Documentary Photographer
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    http://www.MichaelMcClellan.com

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