These things do happen, but nonetheless, using that nice Mr. Epson's products, I do find that if I return to a file I processed in the past and print on the same printer, paper and inks, results are consistent. Mr. Epson would never do anything as vulgar as let his heads clog - that is the purpose of all the programmed cleaning cycles, not to waste ink, no, no, no!
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera
My own opinion is that process is very important because it is part and parcel of the final image. If the form did not matter we would be reduced to evaluating images merely on their content, which could be done on the web in cyberspace so prints would not be necessary.
So that my views will be clearly understood I am going to repeat something here that I wrote a long time ago that was part of an introduction I did on pictorial photography. I have modified it slightly for this forum.
In his book “The Death of the Author” Roland Barthes, repeating a concept expressed nearly a century earlier by the French poet Mallarmé, wrote: “it is language which speaks, not the author.” Although Barthe’s observations were directed toward illustrating the concepts of the “signifier” and the “signfied” they remind us of the artificial separation between form and meaning that has characterized much of western art and literature since the age of Romanticism. Artificial in my opinion, because the vessel into which meaning is placed inevitably alters the meaning itself. Artificial, too, because it is an axiom that meaning without form is only potential. These concepts, pertinent even to the more traditional art forms such as painting and sculpture, are especially important for a more technologically derived medium such as photography.
How does a photograph speak, i.e. communicate? Like all art and literature a photographic print communicates through a language which may be called its syntax. The language of syntax relates to the manner in which information is recorded on the photographic emulsion (camera syntax) and how it is subsequently transformed into a print (printmaking syntax). Both types of photographic syntaxes are limited as to what, and how, they convey visual information because unlike other art forms photography always starts with what “is”. Camera syntax is therefore fairly limited. For this reason photographers have tended to place greater emphasis on the syntax of printmaking, so it is primarily through the syntax of printmaking (texture, sheen, contrast, image color and tonal scale) that meaning is conveyed. Photographers use the syntax of printmaking in the same manner and for the same purposes that poets use words and painters use brushes: to present in individual and subjective interpretation of nature.
William Crawford, in The Keepers of Light, presents an extremely interesting section on the subject of photographic syntax. It is worth reading even if you never plan to do any type of printing other than digital inkjet.
In the grand scheme, nothing matters, except to yourself. You can have opinions, beliefs, hopes, plans, methods, intentions, etc. and yet all those things matter only to you, in the truest senses. You might think it matters to other people, but what actually concerns them is what they think, from their perspective, which you will never truly understand. If you think you do, you are fooling yourself.
I like traditional process, and process matters to me. More than once I have seen an image that had allot going for it, and was saddened that the method and medium fell far short of the what would have been possible, had a better method and medium been employed. I don't have any problem with ink as a medium, but I do have trouble understanding the mindset that seems to often go with it, and I have gotten to the point where I just pretty much ignore it, because the signal to noise ratio is, for me, unbearable.
Decide what is important to you, and follow yourself.
Sandy, I think that Scott summed it up best with his succinct comment on the first page of this thread--that it matters more to photographers than to anyone else.
I just finished reading a NYT story in which Errol Morris was in pursuit of the exact camera location of Fenton's "Valley of the Shadow of Death" shots. A great deal of debate centered around the light and shadow composition on the cannonballs themselves, and other such trivia. This is just another rehash of Sontag's authenticity debate in "On Photography."
We care because it's how we relate our art. At the least common denominator, technical details in photography are akin to talking to your mechanic and having him rave about the performance of his latest BlackHawk wrench set and how it expedited the repair of your vehicle. Driving down the road, others care little about the mechanic or his tools.
I challenge anyone in this list to gather together 10 people completely unknown to them and exhibit 5 photographs all made using different techniques. These folks are not collectors or trendy souls who must roll in the cachet of "fiber based, archival, gum bichromate, or any other elite buzzword.
Similar, show the same 10 people 5 other artistic images created with brush or pen. Make sure that they are representations of famous images easily recognized and ask them what medium they were originally rendered in. Very few care--rather it is the image and to use the pomo deconstructionist language that this thread has adapted--its narrative which displaces any physical contextual or artifact syntax that the philosophic soul may attach.
KISS, it's the image that matters to the viewer--not what developer or paper we used to derive it. These are matters for the artist, scholar, and the overly pretentious.
Last edited by Pragmatist; 10-07-2007 at 05:26 PM. Click to view previous post history.
something witty and profound needs to be inserted here...
But that would be true for any art. The word craftmanship of a poem is primarily understood and appreciated by other poets, the ability to play a violin is most appreciated by other violinists.
Originally Posted by Pragmatist
The problem with photography is that the entry requirements to comment about it are very low. So people who don't understand anything about photography feel that their opinion is as valuable as that of any other person.
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Not everyone who views (or otherwise senses) a work of art can articulate why it affects them the way that it does (or doesn't, as the case may be). It's not necessary to understand the process to be affected by it, and even if one does understand the process, the understanding may be quite separate from one's emotional reaction.
Indeed, I have witnessed this while anonymously eavesdropping at my own exhibition last year. Some people might really get it, some didn't. Some made up really amusing analysis of my work and what I was "trying to say" that was dumbfoundingly far from any reasonable interpretation.
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
The work was most genuinely appreciated by other photographers, and they were also the only people really interested in the process.
I did have an amusing experience with one patron, a gentleman in his 80's with a DSLR hanging around his neck, who knew they were 8x10 contact prints, called me a "dinosaur"
Last edited by JBrunner; 10-07-2007 at 07:35 PM. Click to view previous post history.
No absolute answer except to a degree. If someone is selling their work as special because it is a special process then I call BS and say the the process has to be justified in the aesthetics. If someone is saying they care nothing for process, only the concept, then I call BS again. There has to be intent and craft for it to be honest.
If you bill your exhibition as Platinum prints, you will get people who are interested in Platinum prints. If you bill your exhibition as Art, you probably will only get your friends to come.
I am having an art show. What kind of art? Good art. What is the medium? I don't think process matters. But what do you do? I make art.
Welcome to my show. Oh now I see you are a photographer, I thought you made art.