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?
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.
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.
Originally Posted by NikoSperi
Drives printers crazy.
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.
Originally Posted by Alexis Neel
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?