Quote Originally Posted by blansky View Post
As I alluded to on my previous post that on this site there seems to be some sort of mythology of the master printer spending countless hours toiling over a hot tray in his darkroom making his one off masterpiece, which he may or may not decide to cheapen himself by offering it for sale.

The other myth is that digital is the process of snapping off a hundred shots, to get one, and then downloading it to his computer and hitting print and making a hundred identical soulless inkjet prints to flog out to an unsuspecting public.

Any fine art or even decent printer in analog does almost the same process as does a decent or fine art digital photographer. As has been said here many times, the process is just "different".

In both cases, he has to expose in the camera properly. He has to develop properly and in digital, developing /processing is more intertwined than in analog where the developing is a different and separate process.

The process in the computer is not much different that what the printer in analog does. He burns and dodges, he manipulates exposure in certain areas, and he executes the decisions that he first made in the viewfinder and on the "contact sheets". I've often spend many hours on a single image in photoshop, sometimes going back the next day to change it again.

Now for printing, with a computer you have to balance your computer screen with your printer and keep and maintain this relationship. You have to have different setting for different papers, and test often for taste. Your first print is rarely a keeper. Often you go back into photoshop and make changes to the image and you tweak printer settings.

This same process in analog is making test prints, tweaking contrast, tweaking burn/dodge, tweaking exposure.

But now comes the big difference. The earth shaking moment. The holy dipping of the fingers in the fluid filled trays. The sliding of the rigid paper into the wet welcoming receptacle. Is this it?? Is this the magical moment, that transcends digital, in fact life itself. Is this the critical element when one medium attains the cherished level of "art". I'm feeling faint.

As for making multiple prints. In analog I could make lots of prints that were identical one after the other, in not much of a different way than I do with inkjet. The only real difference is that if I were to go back in a week or year, the digital file would be closer to the original than an analog print would be. But in both cases, I'd probably tweak them slightly because I'm not the same person I was back then.

So maybe we should quit kidding ourselves that the processes are much different at all. They both are a manifestation of a vision we had when we looked at our original subject.
You make perfect sense, and you are indeed correct in your views. The question though, and that's where things break down, is the "perception" of value by collectors/buyers. We are talking photography within the "fine art" (hate those words) realm, after all. Reality is that an inkjet print, for as beautiful as it may be, is simply not as valuable. I'm not trying to minimize the work that goes into or be a snob, because I have printed plenty using Piezography inks and the best from Epson, but it just isn't the same. Personally, I have always felt that I wasn't accomplishing anything, which also made it difficult to market and present myself properly. Trust me, I wish it was different so I wouldn't have to dip my fingers (with gloves) into potassium dichromate, but it isn't. It may change, but I seriously doubt it.