Re: The value of the handmade

From: Richard Sullivan ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 03/16/05-09:37:28 AM Z
Message-id: <>

And again I agree with Judy.

If I had my druthers I teach digital photography by turning off all the
artistic type filters in Photoshop. They only lead the innocents to sin.


At 12:53 PM 3/15/2005, you wrote:

>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 this?
>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
>>>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.
Received on Wed Mar 16 10:49:20 2005

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