Printing for another person's taste vs your own taste
Been printing again for the first time in many years and after many months I think I found the paper and toning regimen that I most enjoy that fits my aesthetic, wooohooo, right? My wife on the other hand (who also loves photography but does not print), prefers a different printed aesthetic, but loves my images. So I find myself printing for me and her taste, which is a joy because I am seeing a neg in a different light too. I just wonder if there are others who have this dichotomy too? Do you print, say one night for your spouse/partner/BF/GF/whomever and another night for you? I really enjoy talking to her about warmth, grade, finish, etc. What is amazing is I can print the same neg on every combo I can find (neutral, WT, matt, gloss, MG1 through MG4 1/2, toned sepia, toned cold, etc, etc) and she will always pick the same aesthetic, where I go another way. I know many situations dictate different approaches but I suspect we all have a certain aesthetic that resonates within that we gravitate to? Or will I read this post in 5, 10, 20 years and realize gosh how could I have liked that aesthetic back in 2012....
I always print to my own liking with my own negatives. But I don't try to sell prints to others either; I stopped pursuing that a long time ago. Somebody wants to spend money on one of my prints - fine, I'm grateful. But I'm still making it my way and do not take requests other than print size.
So, if you're making prints for others from your own negatives, I still think you should make it the way YOU like it. Else you are not true to your own vision, which I hope is important to you. If your wife's vision is important to you, you may feel differently.
I've printed a fair amount of other photographers' negatives, and there I feel it's about reaching something that the customer is happy with, especially since I would get paid to do it. But if I, say, print my girlfriend's negatives, it's compromise. She picks matte paper (good girl!) and I go to town with interpreting the negatives, as long as it isn't so dark that it's gloomy or so bright that it lacks weight.
So - my pictures I print any way I please. Just because I feel I burn myself out if I listen to others, and I'm in it to satisfy myself for the most part.
Other people's pictures can, and should, have more discussion, in order to reach a result they would like to pay you for.
My two cents.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
Outstanding thoughts Thomas! I think what I have here is what you dont, I prefer a nice matt print and she is a glossy fan. The house is filled with both (well 2/3 matt really) and the variety is good I think because the same print might be in two parts of the house with a different finish; what I enjoy abt that is seeing the glossy reaffirms my enjoyment of matt, but at the same time I enjoy that she has a print fitting her preference too. For a months I printed only in matt working thru my process then when I came to my aesthetic I asked if there was anything she wanted printed and she kindly asked for X in glossy, I happened to have a box and the rest is history....
I believe we have a name for people who can print to someone else's aesthetic. If they're really good at it, we call them "Master Printers." You may be started down that road! Keep the Mrs. happy, and yourself too. If it works for you and your wife, continue to print both ways. Nothing wrong with that!
When placed behind a glass in a frame, I'm finding paper texture doesn't make all that much difference....
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
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I always print my own negatives to suit me, but I print for several other people who don't have DR's. I have to have a good working relationship with them to print what they want for their vision. I'm sure Bob Carne would agree that you have to really listen to the customer to achieve that annd have return business. Years ago I used a custom printer for my color work, he listened well, and made alot of money from me, and I made much more from my clients.
when i print for myself i always interpret for me .. but like you, i can and do wear the other hat sometimes.
i used to do a lot of printing for other people ... a lot of my work used to end up in the newspaper and you learn when
you print for other people ( their wall ) or for publication sometimes you have to put your own likes aside and print for
that other - stuff. its great that you are able to interpret things differently and you are enjoying printing for others !
you never know ... maybe you will put an ad in the local free paper and advertise yourself as a commercial printer
don't forget to have fun !