i think people who are interested always know who the printer of a photograph is. some printers are well known
and some are lesser known, but just the same people who do are known for doing.
One of the aspects I noticed reading through this thread is the fact that print/process orientated photographers speak of putting their own emotional interpretation into the finished print. So perhaps one of the main differences here is that HCB is showing us the emotion of the moment/subject and not of the photographer. A selfless Zen approach.
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
I think that purposful, considered, camera work normally shows us what the photographer wants us to see.
Originally Posted by cliveh
As photographers we pick what the world gets to see, we are in full control of the context, or lack thereof, that we choose to show the world.
I fully believe that HCB had a very clear idea of what, in an artistic sense, he wanted to "draw", what he wanted us to see. I also belive that this was a business decision, not Zen; when he photographed (made an instant drawing of) the places and the people that were his subjects he was looking for the decisive iconic moments/scenes that would evoke enough emotion in viewers that they would want to buy the prints.
Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
I was thinking about a piece I saw in some photography magazine years ago in which the same negative, a landscape I think, was given to several veteran printers and each then explained how he would interpret the image in a final print. The four results were quite distinct. While I agree few of us would be willing to turn over our negatives the way the writer turns over a script, still I wonder what another printer, backed up with more experience and skill than I have, or just a different artistic sensibility, might produce with one of my negatives which may be a better interpretation than the one I had in mind. And of course there is never just one way to interpret a negative. Lillian Bassman, the great fashion photographer, has radically re-interpreted a lot of negatives she made in the prime of her career (I think she is still alive). And ultimately we have no choice but to give up control of our negatives so someone else might find them and make art with them. I'm thinking of Vivian Maier, and the negatives of Capa, Taro, and Chim hidden for so many years in the Mexican Suitcase.
Originally Posted by BrianShaw
Originally Posted by Dan Henderson
It helps in a number of different ways.
First, there is the obvious advantage of volume. If you are printing for others, you are probably printing a lot, so you gain more experience.
Second, it forces you to verbalize your thoughts about the process, and enter into discussions about the options. Having to make your thoughts/vision clear and communicable tends to improve those thoughts/that vision.
Third, approaching a negative without the preconceptions built up at the time it was exposed tends to make it easier to consider and maybe implement a lot of options, and you avoid being disappointed by the negative not turning out the way you "thought" it was going to.
Fourth, the original photographer is available to supply at least one other set of ideas about how best to realize the potential of each negative.
Fifth, the original photographer is available to supply an informed critique of your work; and
Sixth, if you are doing it for money, someone else is paying for your darkroom materials .
Not necessarily in any particular order.
In general, I guess I'm saying that printing tends to improve when it is part of some sort of collaboration, rather than a strictly solitary process.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
The only "Truth" in this is that there is No Universal truth to be found. It might have been better as a poll question. Who does and who doesn't consider making the print to be part of their art.
I have wondered to myself if you can conclude that a 35mm photographer generally doesn't put great emphasis on printing.
I saw a major HCB show 20 years ago and found all the 11x14 neutral toned prints to be run of the mill uninspired prints. Just good commercial prints. They said at the show that HCB didn't print his own.
The art in printing is different from the art of walking the streets, seeing and framing.
An interesting thing is that I do both. I print my own and I print for other artists. It is a completely different mind set. For myself I keep an open mind and am interested in unusual prints. For others I need to keep the cost down so I can make some money and my goal is to make a print the photographer won't be able to refuse on grounds of bad printing.
Regarding Penn, people saying he didn't do his own. He was very hands on involved in making the prints that were important to him. Take a look at his book "A Notebook at Random."
Thanks for that comment -- printing is not a mindless mechanical task for me.
Originally Posted by dpurdy
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.
All very true. I've only had two people print my "important images". One did exactly what I asked. His prints were OK. Sometimes only good enough. But it was my limited vision since he only did what I asked. The second guy (RIP) did what I asked and always suggested alternatives. Those prints were always better after collaborating with him. A third printer may be just as good but different... who knows.
Originally Posted by ostgardlaw
Speaking of Bassman... a long time ago I saw an exhibit of St. Ansel's images and that was the point of the exhibit: how he reinterpreted over the years. FASCINATING! I imagine a lot of the reinterpretation had someting to do with who was printing for him at the time, but that wasn't specifically addressed.
If he were the only photographer to feel it... Duane Michals has also the same feeling. Does it make him a non-photographer? No unless you have a very restrictive definition of photography (in this case, I would consider Duane Michals as a uber-photographer).
Originally Posted by baachitraka
Last edited by Dali; 01-09-2012 at 09:08 AM. Click to view previous post history.
This very interesting question sent me back to the books yesterday. I just told someone, yesterday also, that basically I've been heavily influenced by HCB and W Eugene Smith. Looking through books, I realized my work is a little like HCB printed by WES. :-) I found the HCB prints very disappointing; mundane, even. Smith, extreme in the other direction. Somewhere in the middle strike me as a good spot to be.