How do you define a 'master printer'?
It's one of those terms that's thrown around a great deal in photography writing and discussions, nearly always in reference to a photographer known for using the zone system. Why is it that we consider John Sexton a master printer, but not Wynn Bullock or Harry Callahan or Minor White so much? Does the person in question always have to be a landscape photographer? Can Cartier-Bresson be described as a master printer or is he merely efficient? Can a (dare I say it here) colour photographer be called a 'master printer'? Eliot Porter and Charles Cramer produced (or did produce) some of the most beautiful fine art prints anyone has seen - I haven't personally, but it's not too controversial to say that this is a fact. When we call a photographer a 'master printer' is this actually a polite way of saying 'not so masterful photographer'? I think John Sexton is a master printer without question, but I've never considered his images... compelling photography, as such, certainly not compared to one of his British 'master printer' contemporaries, John Blakemore. Can we only call an artist a master printer when most of his creative energy is focused in the darkroom? Does the term in this way actually refer to a sub genre of fine art photography, meaning in essence, great 'darkroom art'? To stir the water a little (a lot), do you think we will ever have a master digital printer? Just to lay down some ground rules for that one, Andreas Gursky is not ;)
Please tell me who you consider a master printer and why.