Re: Re: The value of the history of photography

From: Richard Sullivan ^lt;>
Date: 03/16/05-12:00:04 PM Z
Message-id: <>


Actually it was not a book I was planning but a college course but now that
you mention it........!


At 11:48 AM 3/16/2005, you wrote:
>Interesting history book proposal, Richard. I had this big argument with
>A.D. Coleman about the recording of the history of photography. His books
>are simply glossaries of types of pictures, images; but not anything to
>show the evolution of the process nor cameras.
>In a conversation with Mr. Reno, president of the company that
>manufactures the Packard shutter, it seems that was the first mechanical
>shutter for the camera, invented in 1843. Even with the shutter, many
>photographers optioned not to use it. The Packard who invented it remains
>a mystery person. No one seems to know who that was.
>The history and evolution of processes as Rijui suggests is a topic to
>trace in a history of photography nobody ever took time to research.
>Good luck with your book.
>Steve Shapiro, Carmel, CA
>----- Original Message ----- From: "Richard Sullivan" <>
>To: <>
>Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2005 7:02 AM
>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 mind.
>>--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 negs).
>>>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
>>> >
>>> >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 13:12:06 2005

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