Of course, Clive, maybe my words came across the wrong way. The "real" value is not in the time itself (although, from a business standpoint time is money). I used 3 hours, but it could be two minutes, or whatever it takes to achieve a great print and one that the artist (and potential buyers/viewers) can be satisfied with. Now, from a "perceived" value standpoint, this could be looked at differently. Let's say I have a very difficult negative, of a great image, that I really want to bring out in print. Such negative may require extended time and a few somersaults in the darkroom. That final print may have more emotional value to me because it required extra time and effort, and a great result giving a higher sense of accomplishment. Now, if I can transfer that same notion of value to a viewer (or again, maybe a potential buyer), I have achieved my goals, an even greater sense of satisfaction, and "real" tangible value.
Originally Posted by cliveh
Clive what do you think of the Straight Print (2) vs the Fine Print (8) at the below?
Do you really believe your quote below to be true after seeing the steps (ie time) involved to get from step 1 to step 8?
Originally Posted by cliveh
Last edited by zsas; 02-28-2012 at 05:17 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: fix quote
What I'm saying is that the medium is obviously important BUT not as important as the impact of the content.
Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson
The OP asked about value. A beautiful negative and exquisite print with a mediocre subject is like a beautiful woman with no soul.
So to me, VALUE is about impact and not pretty prints.
The "lookiing through the glasses" is not the print, it's the subject.
I think you're still talking about the 2 dimensional print and I'm talking about the transcendent subject matter.
Last edited by blansky; 02-28-2012 at 05:36 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
And then there is the middle ground.
I craft a fine print from the negative I carefully created as the result of the seeing I did in the field (I mostly work in the landscape).
But my prints are full-frame (no cropping) and with no dodging and no burning. I make my own materials (okay, I don't actually make the paper base, nor render the pigs/cows to make the gelatin, nor ground up the pigments, not grow/refine the sugar, nor make my own Ammonium dichromate from scratch -- and I buy the acetone).
I adjust the print contrast thru the exposure and development of the negative and by adjusting the pigment concentration I add to the gelatin and the dichromate amount/concentration I use to sensitize the resulting carbon tissue. I determine print color by the pigments I choose to mix with the gelatin and sugar.
So the music score and performance model does not fit exactly to the way I work. Instead I walk thru the landscape until I find the light that will convey my experience of the moment and then attempt to place that light via the negative onto paper in such a way that will express that experience to me and hopefully to others.
So there is no score, there is no music, there is only the relationship with the light I experienced.
PS -- the time it takes to make a print? It can sometimes be measured in days.
PS#2 -- For me, the image and print are just the two sides of the same coin.
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.
No. I don't think we understand each other. A print is enhanced by someone who prints very well. But of course you have to start with a good negative. One does not exclude the other.
Originally Posted by blansky
Neg = important
Print = important
Vision, content, subject matter = all is important. But, and this is my point, that good picture really comes alive in a great print. I really don't see how anybody could disagree. How does a great print of an already interesting picture detract from it? Could it?
"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
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'Fine art' photography and the 'fine print' are two terms I've grown very tired of, relatively quickly. I like to think that's because my appreciation of photogaphy lies with the image - that thing that stays in our mind once our eyes have been averted - which many, many, many people here constantly skirt around in pursuit of nuance, which because of a tradition delusion, is linked to image value, but actually quickly forgotten by the viewer. What's left is a completely *unmemorable photograph with a memorable price tag.
There's something inherently defeatist about the traditional 'fine art' photographer, almost a dissasociative personality disorder. They know full well their work, because of its label, has been restricted in its universalities and impact, but the label brings them comfort for their shortcomings, a tradition to blindly follow and a small audience. I'm offering some provocative outside thinking with that estimation, as I'm young enough to have broken the 'fine art' habit before it defined my photography and open minded enough to have a broader appreciation of photography as art. As much as I favor traditional materials, my value judgment isn't restricted to their use and my image making isn't restricted to the tradition of its use in representation (and presentation), which because of associated literature, has become blinkered. I want my work to have value outside of this cult of tradition and won't deny myself the possibility.*
I think by adhering to an aesthetic that sells the work has only attained an illusion of value. That's 'fine art' photography and that's all that's being discussed here unfortunately.*
To illustrate the value of seeing a print in person, a print that does not come across on the web is...
Edward Weston, William Edmonson, Sculptor, Nashville.
When I saw this print in person, I was drawn to the textures of the earth, toes, the drapery. These come across ok on the web. But his eyes are awry. It setup an odd tension that I felt and that made me remember this print. You can't see his eyes clearly in this depiction. In the print it feels like a hot dry day. The print does not feel dark like the online presentation.
If you have excellent vision, content, subject matter.
Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson
Then Neg and Print do not need to be great. This is where you are Cliveh.
When Neg and Print are great but vision, content and subject matter are lackluster.
Then we all know this does not create value. We can only hope our prints do not fall in this category.
Elevated quality in a variety of these areas makes interesting photography.
Viewing a print produced by the artist...
Originally Posted by Maris
You can compare where you stand in relation. You can say to yourself... "I can do that!"... "I could do that if only I learn how to use Farmer's Reducer!"... "No wonder his Cibachromes look better than mine, he used 4x5 while I used 35mm"... "I could never do that so I will stand here in awe!"... "I could come close and that by itself would be an achievement!" You can see specific areas where you need to improve.
This is where vintage work has exceeding value to me! I try to see something human, an error perhaps, in early work of a highly-regarded photographer. Not to put down or feel high and mighty, but to feel more in touch with the artist as a person. What were they like when they themselves were just learning?
After viewing vintage prints I often feel this emotion: "Now maybe I can't take it as far as the mature artist did, but I can see that the young artist was a lot like me."
Sorry to have hijacked this thread, but after a long run of Contrast Index discussion, this is real exciting.
Cliveh, you have plenty of cred. I am the one who needs to put some prints on the line so you can get to know me.