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  1. #11

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    Flaw(ed)

    I go to some of the big name gallerys in NYC and sometimes I'm in shock at what I'm looking at. Usually it is a very famous but very dead photographer whos work is being pawned off on the unsuspecting public. In one particular it was the work of Charles Pratt; a very deeply moving photographer. (if you are not familiar with his work you should check it out) I was in total shock. The prints on the wall were easily third rate and were extremely flawed. Pinholes; marks;scratches; you name it! Apparently someone found a box of rejects and now they were being sold as fine art. And we're talking thousands of dollars here! I think Charles
    would have had a coronary.
    There is NO such thing as a perfect print. That's the beauty of what we do. It's not all that hard to make flawless prints. Just use good technique; try to work as fast as possible;and pray that the dust bunnies are out of town that day...

  2. #12

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    thank you joe
    you said
    what i was not able
    to put into words myself.

    --john

  3. #13
    Sjixxxy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smieglitz
    That perfect digineg print was a turning point for me. Now I do wetplate collodion and each plate is uniquely flawed. Sometimes there are development streaks or "comets", sometimes the plate is fogged or veiled, sometimes the pour is too thick or thin or absent in "islands" altogether, or the developer rips part of the image from the plate, etc. None of them are "perfect." I love the flaws and the uniqueness of each plate.
    Probably my most well received photo I took in college, and still one of my favorites that I've taken was enhanced by such a flaw. I'd explain more, but I've already done that in the gallery posting for it. --> CLICK!
    Gear: Camera, Brain, Light.
    Website - FB

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lachlan Young
    Hear, hear

    I normally print 35mm negs to 5x7.5 inches and medium format to 8x8 inches - the tonality is glorious and you can get away with some truly shoddy technique! Besides the paper cost is less and you use less chemistry.

    Lachlan
    Dear Lachlan,

    Are you asking for an f/64 fatwah?

    Everyone knows that the purpose of photography is to purify the soul through suffering, not to take good pictures!

    Cheers,

    Roger

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Schrager
    The prints on the wall were easily third rate and were extremely flawed. Pinholes; marks;scratches; you name it! Apparently someone found a box of rejects and now they were being sold as fine art.
    Dear Peter,

    I had a similar experience a few years back at Arles. I love Rodchenko's work -- but the prints of his on show must have been his rejects. Technically, Rodchenko's print often left a certain amount to be desired, but these were his aesthetic failures too. If these were all the Rodchenko pics I'd ever seen, I'd wonder what the fuss was about. The same with the Drtikol prints I saw in (as far as I recall) a major Swiss museum.

    In fact -- here's some heresy coming up -- I suspect that some of the 'greats' (including even Ansel Adams) are so highly regarded because their work reproduces so well, and their original prints are surprisingly often a let-down.

    Cheers,

    Roger

  6. #16
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
    In fact -- here's some heresy coming up -- I suspect that some of the 'greats' (including even Ansel Adams) are so highly regarded because their work reproduces so well, and their original prints are surprisingly often a let-down.
    I do not think that is heresy - at all. I was stunned to see an (THE?) original of Edward Weston's "Nude, 1936" at the MFA in Boston.

    In all honesty, if it was mine, it would go to the circular file, and I'd make another print, with more contrast, using fresher chemistry ...

    I'm not trying to establish myself as a better printer than Weston ... but... Possibly there was much more attention given to content than technique then, or modern materials are ... gasp!! ... better ... or the print had degraded over time...?

    in any event, the printed reproductions, in many cases CAN be better - at least technically, than the originals.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  7. #17
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Ed Sukach]. . . I was stunned to see an (THE?) original of Edward Weston's "Nude, 1936" at the MFA in Boston.

    In all honesty, if it was mine, it would go to the circular file, and I'd make another print, with more contrast, using fresher chemistry ...
    QUOTE]

    That was also my impression of the only pepper image printed by Weston that I've seen. Unfortunately, thanks to his reputation, any Weston print is treasured just because it is his, and may be displayed in otherwise discriminating galleries. After Weston's death some of his prints were sold for as little as $25. At those prices his sons may not have carefully culled them.

  8. #18
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
    ... the purpose of photography is to purify the soul through suffering, not to take good pictures!
    If so, then I'm well on my way to salvation.

  9. #19

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    I had a similar experience having seen the book on Charles Jones I then went to the exhibition at Hamiltons Gallery in London and was dissappointed that the reproductions were better than the original prints in many cases, but wonderful images all the same.

    enjoy and be well

    Seamus
    www.seamusryan.com

  10. #20

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    As photographers it is easy to get ones nose up to a print and find the flaws and most prints will have them unless the negative is "cleaned" digitally and an inkjet made. And even then I have seen minor flaws of banding if one looks close enough.

    But most non-photographers don't look at a print and search for the flaws. This is a weird quirk among photographers I suppose due to the technical nature of the medium, wanting to compare ones own skills to a master and be able to say "look his print has the same flaws mine have". Sometimes I think that folks think a perfect, "sterile" print with no flaws in the technical aspects is the ultimate in photography. We should strive for the best possible print but obviously Weston and Adams were not obsessive about it and it has not hurt their reputations.

    It is when we stand back and look at the master's print at a normal viewing distance should we make comparisons. At that distance it is not quite so easy to say his work is just like mine. At a normal viewing distance it is the image as a whole that we see not the technical aspects of the image.

    If you want flawless prints, photoshop the negatives and print out new ones with all the corrections and then make your enlargements.


    But I will add that I saw some Robert Frank prints several years ago and they had lots of badly spotted marks and dust.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

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