Saw the show!
After all the noise, I decided to walk over to the Evans show this afternoon. Those of you who are boycotting on principle are depriving yourselves of a treat.
The show is limited to Evans's work in 1935 and 1936. It has Evans's work in a variety of media. In addition to the inkjet prints, it has signed silver gelatin prints, gravures, and halftones in books.
As for the inkjet prints: I thought they were a mixed bag. They were "warmer" not in a romantic way, as others here have speculated. Rather, they were slightly warmer in tone, as most archival inkjet sets are. I hate to say it, but when put behind glass in a frame on the wall, I don't think I could distinguish the smaller inkjet prints from silver gelatin ones.
The larger inkjet prints were another story. Some of the big inkjet prints (e.g., Joe's Auto Graveyard (1935), http://www.morehousegallery.com/prin...ania/5459.aspx) had texture issues that made them look like, well, inkjet prints from image files that had been oversharpened. But then there was a big print of a family (Bud Fields and Family (1935), http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pnp/ppmsc/00200/00234r.jpg) and it was staggering. I was drawn at once to their gnarled, dirty fingernails and toes, and the wisp of a starved black cat under the bed -- details that I would have missed in a smaller version.
In the end, I have a hard time getting upset about the use of inkjets to reproduce Evans's work, so long as the media is disclosed by the exhibitor. There is the different and more troubling question of posthumous printing of Evans's photographs -- but that, to me, is an issue whether they be inkjet or silver gelatin prints. The (brief) exhibit catalogue argues that Evans sold his negatives when he was near death, and so must have expected others to print his negatives. The catalogue also notes that the production of these prints was overseen by Evans's own printers, in accordance with Evans's written corrections to galley prints of his photographs in books of his work.
If you can get yourselves to Sixth and 51st, go see the show before condemning it. It is quite something to see.
Thanks. If the prints were a little too warm, they are probably using one of the older ink sets. The newest set from Piezography is basically colorimetrically neutral on certain papers. And as you commented, even high end (high priced) digital can be good or it can be bad, really depends one the person using the printer, more than the hardware itself.
In reading all of the posts it seems like the "debate" really zeros in on an important aspect of photography as an art form - dimension.
Arguably a photograph is more than an image. The way that image is sensed by the viewer is not only by the eye but by the entire sensory system.
The texture or look of the paper or media on which it is displayed makes a difference in how the image is experienced. So, there is a huge difference between standing in a gallery in front of an original Ansel Adams print and viewing the same image on a high resolution monitor.
The question then becomes one of priority. Is it of equal importance to see the image & feel it from a physical perspective, or is the visual of the subject the top priority? Can we get the same experience from art just by looking at it or do we need to be totally witnessing it in its form of origination?
Not everyone can go to the Louvre. Can you experience the paintings there by looking at them in a book, on a computer, etc.?
I believe it may be compared to live music vs. recorded. Recordings can convey the interpretation, the performance quality, and the sound of the piece, but the live concert will add a dimension not found on the recording.
Aren't both of value? The work itself is the priority in my opinion. I can't go to hear Beethoven play his own piano sonatas but I can sure enjoy them listening to many others perform the works. Ok, you may argue that the print is part of the "composer's" work and must be linked with the image to be most effective...but, does that really take away from the value of the work in any way?
Lots to ponder.
I spent many years seeing every day I was in a darkroom, one of Walker Evans approved posters from his time. What I have read here is that this current exhibition has changed the way that poster was printed into someone elses interpretation of what they thought the photo should be. The basis of this comes down to the artistic view of the orginal artist when recreating his work. This obviously has not been done. The poster I was greeted with constantly was dark and moody. Nothing warm about it nor was there bringing out the hidden details in all parts of the photograph. Since this could have been fixed for that poster back then, why wasn't it? Seems that is how Walker Evan evisioned it. To me it is a sacrilige to change what the artist wanted and still stick his name on the exhibit. If Walker had wanted those photos to look like that, he would have printed them that way.
I saw an original Edward Weston print of Shell No. 30 many years before I bought one of Cole's prints from the negative. The original didn't have the full tonal range of Cole's print, but had better shadow detail. For me, the ideal would be somewhere between the two. There is a certain pride of ownership of even Cole's prints, but the perfect inkjet print might be more pleasing esthetically.
Originally Posted by severian
If we only had actual audio recordings of Beethovan's late attempts at performing and conducting! They would be priceless to scholars, conductors, and performers. For most listeners, almost any new recording would be better.
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