Sorry if the title offended anyone. I have to admit that I honestly don't know about other fine art printing lab, my ignorance is to be blamed and it is very good to know that there are still other labs operating in Paris.
It is also very good to know that the other existing printing lab is flooded with orders. Same thing happened here.The market is small but might be enough to support very small professional lab. And I think it's a good thing.
I edited the title of my thread, again, sorry for any misunderstanding.
Thank you for your post, printing is taken very seriously in different parts of the world and I like the idea that there are other great workers still making hand prints, and hopefully being financially rewarded for their efforts.
Mike C - I started my silver lab in 1991 after 15 years apprenticing and learning after school in larger commercial labs. My dream was always to silver print for others but I wanted a good fundamental background in lab business.
I was glad I went this route, but I have to admit I missed the hey days that a lot of other printers experienced,financially and volume wise. What happened to me was a lot of photographers came to me and asked me to match prints of other printers work , which I refused and basically started in 91 with a whole new crop of emerging artists, that did not have a history, 20 years later I have a nice crop of photographers who believe in my work and are giving me all I can handle.
My question to you is this, printers like Mike Spry for example who IMO made Anton Corbjins work succeed, and you probably could name many printers in your area who were the driving force in the work of many famous photographers, were they rewarded well enough , specifically now that fibre printing is not a workflow common to the magazines, or did the commercial/fashion photographers dump them like hot potatoes,
I would hope that Mike Spry and other printers were rewarded by being given the task of making / printing out all the editions of the images that made the careers of many photographers.
To me this is an interesting question as I get close to 60, I am completely revamping my lab to allow me to print edition work, and I am carefully choosing photographers I like as well willing to have me retire by printing out their collections. I actually see this as the final reward for a printer and I wonder how this played down in your town..
My gut feeling is that most printers who did not prepare for the digital world were abandoned and to me this is sad.
It is very interesting to hear your story. I'd like to invite you to share more on this topic - which kind of photographer you prefer, and what is your philosophy of art making, etc.
I think there's a huge distinction between printers as well - this printer I worked with was not picky of his customer, as long as it's not fashion or advertisement. He strictly restricted his works within the realm of fine art. The photographer he hated are those who do not know what they want; but if you know what you want down to detail, he will do it down to perfection regardless of how the photographer calls their style.
This suited me very well since I always firstly make a digital exemplary in my own digital dark room, and let him duplicate my work in gelatin silver process. I find this work flow very economic and satisfying. I'm a 29 years old fine art cityscape/ low fi style photographer, I make unconventional and creative images out of regular negative. This means that the printers who stick to their ways won't or can't do my work.
Bob, do you follow the photographer, or rather guide them? The relation between me and my printer is that I supervise strictly his work, and that he fully understands my requirements. He often stressed to me that he's a pair of hands to hire, not a producer who should guide artist.
This topic is so interesting...
BTW, his dark room is also equipped with Imacon X5 and another printer who does all the digital printing. This digital printer's task is to duplicate his works in digital. In short, in their work flow, wet dark room reign over digital dark room. However both type of their work is nearly impeccable, that's how their production D'apres Nature got the Nadar Prize of 2010...
I prefer a photographer who has a unique vision or story to tell, who uses material and equipmet to best capture that idea on film or file.
I work in many genres and am not specific to any one style. I prefer the photographer to show me the style of print they are looking for and I then mimic in the darkroom and if both parties like the result we continue.
I am as proficient with digital PS now as I am in the darkroom so in my shop I do all the image making.
I will only work with photographers who leave their ego at home and give me room to work.
I have not met a photographer yet who knows how to work a darkroom better than myself or other professional printers.
So I am extremely picky of my clients... I also do not like working on one image from different photographers and call that a day.. I only work full day rates and multiple cohesive images from the client.
I am very happy to let a client leave my shop for a printer who more suits their needs.
There is always two parties in a relationship and both should be happy.
Most of my current clients have been with me for over 10 years.
I follow the photographers lead, show them some prints and do not allow someone to show me how to print. When I first started my small business I would allow this, but always lead to huge problems
If that is the case they should print their own work rather than hire me.
Just to be clear there are many many stlyes and a good printer is like a chamelion who can change to the style.
I am making digital silver negs on a large Lamda Image setter for pt pt and multiple register alternative work , and in my shop both rule..
hope this helps.
Originally Posted by slight
I think that's a question you would have to ask Mike! All I can say is that it's a bit trickier trying to make a living from printing now than ten or fifteen years ago. Of course, when there was film to process from commercial photographers, (and there used to be so much lovely film to process), it was easier to make a decent living out of a lab in the UK. I think there are now about ten of us in London still printing BW and the majority are one man bands. (I don't mean we go busking, though that could be more profitable.) My printing is now split between the darkroom and the computerr and the computer gets the majority. I would say that my best clients are photographers who were firmly film based but are now working digitally. Otherwise, I get to work in both mediums for the same clients. And they are the ones that didn't drop us like hot potatoes! Would firmly agree the importance of printing in different styles. A printer has be able to print to suit the client's tastes.
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
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Originally Posted by Philippe Grunchec
yes, fenêtre sur cour / nathalie l. is still running her traditional darkroom, making beautiful prints the traditional way!
has a video of her at work ...