Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
Thomas, I agree that the final print holds tremendous value for the viewing experience for many people and in some cases even me. By final print, I assume you mean a silver or wet print.

When Beethoven wrote one of his symphonies he may also/or not have conducted the orchestra to play it. This could be said to be unique, as it his original score and his interpretation of his score to performance. However, someone in the future may conduct a version of this symphony that most people consider better, but both versions come from the original score. This does not detract from the value of the writer’s original interpretation, but let us also remember that the original orchestrated by writer of the score, was also performed with the instruments and technology available at the time. Future technology may allow a better interpretation not available to Beethoven at the time.

Does this help, as I also am not trying to start an argument, it is just my opinion.
When I view other people's prints, I am not judgmental with respect to what type of print it is. I enjoy inkjet prints, photogravures, silver gelatin prints, and RA4 prints with the same enthusiasm. For my own purposes, definitely a silver gelatin print, mostly because of how pure the process is; for me there is a very direct link between subject matter as I see it, and the final print with silver gelatin.

Re: Composers - I don't think the comparison is fair. A negative should be compared to the sheet music in my opinion, and a print, which is an interpretation of the negative, should be compared to a musical interpretation of the sheet music. We cannot listen to something that Beethoven conducted, obviously, but luckily there are many talented conductors that can. While we can never know exactly what Beethoven's preferences were, other than historical records, at least we have the sheet music.
With a photographic print, we're still in an age where prints made when the artists were still alive can be viewed, as a testament to their preference and decisions made while they printed them, and that is of tremendous value in my opinion. For example, I forget the name of that New York photographer whose negatives they found recently, documenting the city over decades. Finding those negatives holds tremendous value, but I think if they had found prints also, that would have been even more valuable. That would have been equal to knowing how Beethoven would prefer that his musical scores were performed.

I agree that future technologies may take us places we haven't even imagined yet. I have no idea whether I will like it or not. Only time will tell. Opinions change and vary with experience, that's for sure. I'm only 40 years old, and have been through many changes already, and I'm curious to find what the future holds.