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  1. #1
    Colin Corneau's Avatar
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    Magnum photo agency, and the lost art of contact sheets

    A really interesting story about how contact sheets make one think differently about one's work, and photography in general.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/p...-contacts.html
    "Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, you're a mile away and you've got their shoes."

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    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    I would also suggest 3 short documentaries on contact sheets: Contacts Vol 1, 2, and 3. Though dated, the material is very insightful, personal, and poetic, many of the photographers narrate their own accounts and philosophies.

    I truly recommend it to anyone with even the slightest interest in photography or history.

  3. #3
    mooseontheloose's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link Colin -- a nice read.

    On a personal note, as I have little to no access to a darkroom 99% of the time, when I do get into one, I always start by making contact sheets. It lets me get back into the flow of things (after months, or even a year) before working on specific images. I don't know when I'll ever get the chance to work on so many of the images I've taken, but at least I can look at my contacts for proof of the photos I've taken and the places I've been.
    Rachelle

    My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus

  4. #4
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Since the invention of the film roll, all photographers worked with the contact sheet,
    If you check out Lustrum Press "Contact" you see that well-known photographers use many different techniques rather than contact printing, such as, many small pictures, enlarged 35mm pages with 8x10 enlarger, a loupe with a clear negative sheet, etc.

  5. #5
    CGW
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    Thanks, Colin. Several friends rigourously keep digital contact sheets but most don't. Sorted through a box of recent proofs yesterday from the summer and spent most of the time swearing at myself for dumb errors. It actually helps cut down on the frequency of making the same mistakes.

  6. #6
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    I don't print myself, and so I don't feel entitled to write to the journalist.
    If I did, I would.
    I would just amicably stress that contract sheet printing, and traditional printing, is not a "lost tradition", is something that is quite alive and well. Traditional photography is still alive. These kind of articles contribute to build the idea that traditional photography is something of the past. No surprise people asks if they still produce film.

    Although I can feel a certain "sympathy", in the writing, for traditional photography, it is just another nail in the coffin. Raising, in the news world, awareness that traditional photography is still alive might help. A newspaper article like this could have been written with less "pathos", the "où sont les neiges d'antan?" rethoric, and could have raised in the reader love, respect and curiosity for a technology which is still perfectly actual.

    Fabrizio
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
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  7. #7
    Colin Corneau's Avatar
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    I agree with you, Fabrizio, but this is a mainstream newspaper article -- for most people, a photograph is something they take with their phone or a digital point-and-shoot; among professionals they mostly use digital even though they know people are still happily using film.
    Therefore, I think this article is useful for bolstering the use of film -- it shows it's still being used to people who probably would not have known that. Also, it presents a big advantage of using film, and it does so in a sympathetic way of writing.
    "Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, you're a mile away and you've got their shoes."

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  8. #8
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Corneau View Post
    I agree with you, Fabrizio, but this is a mainstream newspaper article -- for most people, a photograph is something they take with their phone or a digital point-and-shoot; among professionals they mostly use digital even though they know people are still happily using film.
    Therefore, I think this article is useful for bolstering the use of film -- it shows it's still being used to people who probably would not have known that. Also, it presents a big advantage of using film, and it does so in a sympathetic way of writing.
    I think it also shows how serial, multiple images of a given subject can enhance perception/understanding of the subject and how the contact sheet uniquely enables that. I just finished reading Errol Morris's wonderful "Believing is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography." It's a long series of riffs on the interplay between photographers, their subjects and the truth--again, something the contact sheet helps us understand.

  9. #9
    marciofs's Avatar
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    I just watched the video on YT and it is great!!!
    Thanks.

  10. #10
    Miskuss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newt_on_Swings View Post
    I would also suggest 3 short documentaries on contact sheets: Contacts Vol 1, 2, and 3. Though dated, the material is very insightful, personal, and poetic, many of the photographers narrate their own accounts and philosophies.

    I truly recommend it to anyone with even the slightest interest in photography or history.
    I second that recommendation..

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