It doesn't sound arrogant to me at all, just a different approach. Maybe not that different in the end. The more I think about it I guess I don't really need my written instructions as much as I think I do. But in some cases there may be quite a bit of repetitive testing involved (to get just the right amount of detail into a lightbulb, for example - overly fussy, I admit) and I like to have a "head start" on certain elements the next time I print the image.

It just sounds to me like your process is much more "fluid" than mine. I can't really work that way. It's simply not my nature. Hopefully the end result is the same - a great print, one that is truly satisfying. I think there are different ways of getting there.

As an aside, I'd like to see some of your work one day, and maybe show some of my own prints. Actual prints, not crap scans.

Sorry if this thread got kind of hijacked, but it's an interesting discussion. I wish we had more printing threads. It's my favourite part of the process.

Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post

I know what I am going to say will sound arrogant or flippant.

But in the years I have been printing I have never made a print map.. I don't need one, it was not the way I was taught to print.
I use a dodging tool as the weapon of mass destruction/creative manipulation, with minimal burn. What needs to be done is obvious the moment the first test print comes out.. I cannot think of one thing I would need to be reminded about.

I have worked with hundreds of different printers in my career who were taught the same way, no print maps.

Print maps are in books, that I know, but to think HCB , Towell, Sander, Brassai, Kertez printers followed a map to me does not ring true.
I do not think Helmut Newtons printer would put up with that. Either the printer knew how to make an individual photographers work sing or he/she did not. There are many photographers who are good printmakers, but there are many more who are not. Bill Jay and a Magnum photographer wrote a nice little book about this very topic.
Actually when I see reference to photographers talking this nonsense I just shrug my shoulders and smile, as the amount of photographers who get fired by printers far outweigh the amount of printers who get fired by photographers.. Just the nature of the industry.
I have pointedly not printed for any photographers work that has been done by other printmakers, it just is not what I want to ever do.
I prefer to walk into a darkroom with a clean slate and do the best I can and hope the photographer likes my work. I started Silver Shack in 1991 and I am still walking into a darkroom making prints so I must be doing something right.

The idea I am trying to get across is simple, and I hope not overbearing, but I believe is very important for young printers or young to printing , understand including the OP that use your eyes and make the time at the enlarger as easy as you can, without complicating things.

for example :lets talk about your own work the *Hallway Series* I have seen posted online ( the prints on screen look very good, but I imagine tough to accomplish), from neg's you have processed, contacted and work printed and I assume you have done quite a few, over time it becomes obvious to you what to do in the printmaking stage. I cannot imagine that the moment you see your first test print you need to look at a map to know where to go next. true/untrue?

So I am talking about the physical moments of printmaking, sure you may have mapped out in your mind where you want your highlights and shadows density's to be, but to think you need to look off to a set of notes to tell you what to do next just does not sound logical to me.

I have worked with so many various negatives, that just looking at the negative, gives me the starting points, after my first test print, full sheet, and looking at the easel while I print I know where I am going. If an area needs dodging or burning, I do not need a map to tell me where to go, I use my eyes, and I believe you work the same way. true/untrue? sounds like a good poll question.

To answer your question, I do not need a print plan as there never was one in the first place.
Yes there are many good books that go into that aspect of learning and probably valuable to some, but I think pretty dam obvious to anyone spending enough time in front of an enlarger.
As I write this I am chuckling to myself thinking of Fred Picker and the famous 5x7 master print series that if you were lucky enough to get one and put it up in your darkroom you would see the light and become the next great printer.
Well I fell for this one, and when I got the print, which was by far the worst rendition of snow and water and ice, this Canadian has ever seen I concluded that the only way to make good prints was to look, see what needs to be darker, what needs to be lighter, is the overall density/contrast ok, and make the print.