Re: Re: Re: The value of the handmade

From: [email protected]
Date: 03/16/05-12:14:35 PM Z
Message-id: <>

We should probably call ourselves "print makers" and then describe the process. That would eliminate all confusion about "historic" vs "almost historic" vs etc.


>From: Richard Sullivan <>
>Date: Wed Mar 16 09:02:33 CST 2005
>Subject: Re: Re: The value of the handmade

>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 12:14:47 2005

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