Re: The value of the handmade

From: Judy Seigel ^lt;>
Date: 03/15/05-01:53:50 PM Z
Message-id: <>

I repeat every word of Dan's message because every word is true, true,
true. Thanks Dan!

But one other aspect of digital... I find it creeping into my own STUDIO
work -- a scanned digitized copy of a drawing will be inserted into a
print, or vice versa. Trying to scotch the purely digital is a kind of
purism that no longer flies (to mix a few metaphors). It's a kind of
opening Pandora's box -- you mean I can do THAT !? Wow, what if I try


On Tue, 15 Mar 2005 wrote:
> Which part of the get-the-image-onto-paper process took hours and hours?
> If they are describing decisions they made in Photoshop, then I
> personally feel that time is just as worthy as the time a classic printer
> might spend exploring different interpretations under an enlarger or UV
> lightsource as they play with contrast, diffusion, flashing,
> burning/dodging, toning, etc. John Sexton once said it was not uncommon
> for him to spend 40 hours on a new negative until he had resolved the
> first fine print. On the other hand, if the "hours and hours to make the
> print" is owing to a poorly calibrated monitor or lousy printer profile,
> that's another story and certainly has nothing to do with skill or
> artistic exploration.
> Did these digital printers tell you "my hours and hours of work make my
> prints relate to a handmade image" or is this your interpretation? It's
> hardly a "digital" phenomenon for someone to correlate effort with value.
> A few years ago a student of Jack Spencer (the terrific southern
> photographer) brought work to me for a critique. She showed me a finished
> silver print that had lots of problems. She then showed me the mask
> (emulating the methods that Jack uses so expertly in his own silver
> printing) that she used to make the print. "I spent 20 hours on this
> mask" she proudly exclaimed. Since she was already making handmade prints
> (silver gelatin) it was hardly "an attempt to relate the work to a
> handmade image." Rather, she was suggesting, since she'd spent so much
> time and effort on the image, that somehow this made it "better" than if
> she'd been able to make it quickly. Of course, it didn't. A bad print is
> a bad print no matter how long it takes.
>> I find the distortions of gelatin silver that carries
>> through to the printing process to be natural looking whereas I think
>> younger folks adapt more readily to the more linear images one can pull of
>> an inkjet printer. To me there is a sense of sterility to the "perfect"
>> inkjet image.
> Couldn't agree with you more about the silver print. More silver gelatin
> prints take my breath away than prints from any other process. As for
> sterility, I know what you mean. It's much like the static
> I'll-put-my-camera-here-because-nothing-will-move look that infects so
> much large format photography. "I lugged this big camera up the mountain
> for hours and hours so it must be a great photograph." You know what I
> mean.
>> I am also appalled at the historic ignorance of folks who keep insisting on
>> calling inkjet prints carbon prints or pigment prints. Not to name names,
>> but I have corrected a number of photographers on this issue but they
>> continue the practice. There was even a set of cartridges being sold as
>> "platinum black" and Patrick Alt informed me that a gallery in Elay was
>> selling the prints as platinum prints. Seems the guy had even put brush
>> marks on them with Photoshop.
> When I was struggling over what to call my
> non-handmade-inkjet-printer-produced prints, a gallery owner I respect
> had sound advice. I'd already explained my reluctance to call them
> "giclee" because that term is just a smidge too fancy and besides, it's
> already being over-used to describe everything involving ink on paper.
> She said DO NOT call them "inkjet prints" because this sounds too much
> like you went down to Office Max, grabbed a $49 printer and started
> cranking out prints. I adopted her "Pigmented Ink Print" terminology
> because it's accurate, non-pejoritive and has a nice ring to it without
> getting flowery.
> I don't have a problem with an ink manufaturer's calling a product
> "platinum black" any more than with Grumbacker's calling a color "Ivory
> Black." It's a decriptive device and nothing more. On the other hand, if
> someone sells prints from those inks and has the gall to call them
> "platinum prints," they should have sensitive body parts squeezed firmly
> in a bench vise.
> For what it's worth.
> Dan
Received on Tue Mar 15 13:54:04 2005

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