Re: Re: The value of the handmade

From: Richard Sullivan ^lt;>
Date: 03/16/05-09:02:33 AM Z
Message-id: <>


All the terms are a somewhat inaccurate in many cases. Historic to me is
the least objectionable. If by process we mean the printing process then
the digital neg is not a problem in the terminology. Even a newly developed
process like the Ziatype is in a sense an historic process even though it
is only 10 years old. Alternative is alternative to what? Non-silver leaves
out Kallitype, Van Dyke, POP, albumen, etc etc. Post factory -- good
heavens who dreamed that one up? Walk into a gallery with post factory prints?

I am developing a class called "Hands-on Photographic History." I am just
now formulating the basic ideas but the title should give you a hint. It's
a precursor to an idea for some seminars that I plan for curators and art
historians that I want to give through the Center for Photographic History
and Technology.

I also want to mention that Dusan Stulik will be doing a session at APIS
this year. Normally we don't repeat speakers but since Dr. Stulik is the
Chief Scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute I figured we cut him a
little slack.<grin> I've even given him carte blanche on what ever he wants
to talk about. I was tickled last time when he pointed out that several
Stieglitz's at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum listed as platinum had plate
marks on them and were actually copper gravures. Love a man that speaks his

--Dick Sullivan

At 11:52 AM 3/15/2005, you wrote:
> I think we agree that film and silver are becoming historic
> processes. Digital is the norm and film and silver are yesterdays standard.
>I like "historic process" except most of the work done in "historic
>processes" is actually a blend of old (gum, Plt/Pld, etc) and new (digital
>As to calling ink jet prints "pigment" prints I suppose the most accurate
>description is "pigment ink" prints and "dye" ink prints. "Giclee" to me
>is, if not a misrepresentation, certainly a coverup of the real process,
>inkjet printing. The only thing wrong with inkjet printing is it got off
>to a bad start. We need to rehabilitate the term "inkjet prints".
>In the end, we all put images on various surfaces using various methods
>and show them to others.
>As to the guy selling inkjet prints as Plt/Pla, he should be reported to
>the consumer fraud authorities and arrested.
> >From: Richard Sullivan <>
> >Date: Tue Mar 15 10:30:09 CST 2005
> >To:
> >Subject: Re: The value of the handmade
> >At 09:00 AM 3/15/2005, you wrote:
> >
> >Ryuji,
> >
> >>Would you ditch process photography and use
> >>photography?
> >
> >I kind of switch around between using processes and made
> >photographs. Alternative just doesn't cut it with me, sounds too much like
> >acupuncture or homeopathic medicine and has sort of a Mickey Mouse
> >connotation now.
> >
> >Historic processes will soon add gelatin silver to its terminology as it is
> >coming to mean just about anything but digital.
> >
> >
> >>Another point. Quite a few digital printers use techniques to make the
> >>prints look handmade. Gluing prints on canvas and smear wax over the
> >>image, etc. Maybe the name needs to be style handmade
> >>photography?
> >
> >Yeah Jack MacDonald years ago wrote a book called Old Fashioned
> >Looking Photographs. If he is the same MacDonald, long gone, that started
> >the Tri-Mac Photographic School where I studied in the late 60's, he was
> >also a teacher at Mortensens school in Laguna Beach Ca in the 30's and 40's.
> >
> >UK Bromoil folks are fond of old looking photos too.
> >
> >
> >>I think the value is connected to the history and small scale
> >>methodology of processes to make the image and the print, not so much
> >>to the photoreactive chemistry. In my view, different appearance of
> >>the finished prints from those of Polymax dipped in Dektol or inkjet
> >>prints may be an epiphenomenon, although it may be more intuitively
> >>obvious distinction to average people.
> >
> >That connection to history is also important and something I was just
> >writing about yesterday. Today I am mostly thinking about survival and
> >getting home. We had about 16 inches of snow last night and it melted a bit
> >this a.m. and a new cold front is moving in and the slush is freezing. Ah
> >the Santa Fe drought is over but eeek.
> >
> >I see the digital printed image as a form of publishing. That really turns
> >me on. The quality is there only lack is the speed and cost. Once we can
> >print 10,000 8x10's in a couple of hours at a dime a piece we can publish
> >our own books. We just need a small scale binding system to make the
> >package complete. What effect will this have on digital print prices I
> dunno.
> >
> >The one argument I hear referring to a digitally printed imageis took
> >me hours and hours to make that print Some how this is an attempt to
> >relate the work to a hand made image. To an extent this is true, a hand
> >made Tabriz carpet may have in fact taken a family of 4 two or three years
> >or more to make. There is certainly a sweat equity factor in the value of
> >some art items. I do find that much digital photography is over fiddled
> >with. This of course can eat up lots of time just trying this and then
> >trying that. Whether this equates to sweat equity is another question. I
> >think not. It does not equate to a made image. The output printer
> >could be on another planet and that is hard to conceive of as handmade.
> >
> >I am 65 years old and have been looking at photographs for most
> >of those years. 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
> >inkjet image.
> >
> >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
> > 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.
> >
> >--Dick Sullivan
> >
> >
> >
> >>--
> >>Ryuji Suzuki
> >> believing is all right, just don't let the wrong people know
> >>what it's all about. (Bob Dylan, Need a Woman, 1982)
Received on Wed Mar 16 10:14:29 2005

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