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Rudgey
29-Mar-2012, 03:30
I fear this maybe a rather open question.

I photograph on 5x4 B&W stock using the zone system to push or pull development or N as required to produce the best neg I can.
I have access to a Flexitight X5 scanner that will scan as RAW files.

Question 1. Will I get as good neutral prints with as wide tonal range on a Epson R3000 printer (using fine art paper) as I do with my fibre wet prints? Would I be best to use the Quadtone RIP with carbon ink set?

Question2. Anyone have any links to workflow for processing film for scanning & digital printing or is it the same as if you use with an enlarger?

Reason, It's becoming differcult to keep the darkroom due to kids comming on the scene.

turtle
29-Mar-2012, 03:44
In response to your title question:

IMHO wet prints are still by far the nicest most of the time. I have produced inkjet prints I am very pleased with, especially for very large prints or where a lot of manipulation has been required to get good separation of tones, but in the majority of cases I still prefer wet prints by a fair margin.

Neutrality is rarely a problem these days.

vinny
29-Mar-2012, 05:06
Way better and archival til the end of time as long as you use the term "archival" in the description.

jnanian
29-Mar-2012, 05:30
even a poorly processed wet print seems to last a long while.
i have some that were on bad rc paper from the 1980s
probably not fixed or washed "long enough" and they look like
i just did them ... in prints seem to shift colors more ( like color prints do )

photobymike
29-Mar-2012, 06:17
even a poorly processed wet print seems to last a long while.
i have some that were on bad rc paper from the 1980s
probably not fixed or washed "long enough" and they look like
i just did them ... in prints seem to shift colors more ( like color prints do )

I would respectfully disagree. I have some stained wet prints. Processed them too fast.... i like wet prints better than inkjet.... but inkjet is easier to make, cheaper also. The right printer, ink and paper combination and you will not see that shift. Mounted and framed you cannot tell the difference without a magnifying glass. I am waiting for epson to increase the resolution of there photo printers before i upgrade my 4800.

jp
29-Mar-2012, 06:41
Judging by the print exchange I just participated in, either system is capable of high end results given proper skill and materials. I'm not going to call one better as there are so many ways to output things on so many materials, etc...

Sorta like judging platinum prints against silver prints; different results with different material. F Holland Day quit photography when platinum became scarce rather than adapt. I think silver is more useful for me and I'd adapt if forced or compelled. But I like wet prints for B&W.

There is a big skill step to change systems. For low volume, digital isn't cheaper, mostly due to the software and the feeding of the inkjet printer. If you try to exactly emulate one particular process with digital, there are going to be differences.

If your parenting is taking time away from your schedule, for the first year anyways, your schedule is gonna be messed up with their shorter unique sleep patterns and you'll have to find sleep when you can. After that time period, you can put the kid/kids to bed in the evening and ignore TV/Internet and hit the darkroom.

Frank Petronio
29-Mar-2012, 07:01
You can do things digitally that are nearly impossible with traditional methods, so many of my digital prints could not exist as analog prints - so in that sense they are better.

I use a baryta paper in an Epson R3000 with the Harrington RIP and stock ink - they look really nice, and under glass or in a portfolio book it would be hard to tell. But side by side, the wet prints have more depth and grain looks better, blacks are nicer, the paper is glossy but the tones seem to be embedded deeper versus ink that sits on top of the paper.

The best I've found is the silver prints made from a Durst Lambda like Bob Carnie will make you at Elevator Digital in Toronto. Not cheap but the best of both worlds.

Otherwise it is best to just say that they are different and each can be very fine and respectable. I much rather have a clean, good inkjet than a silver print full of Spotone and excuses - I hate defects worse than the last bit of tonal density.

Greg Miller
29-Mar-2012, 07:30
You are going to get responses all over the map. It will come down to personal preference. Executed well, you can get very nice (and long lasting) results with either process. Personal taste for qualities of the final print, and preferences for which process is more enjoyable, will determine which way for you to go.

Rudgey
29-Mar-2012, 08:12
You are going to get responses all over the map. It will come down to personal preference.

I suspected I would get a lot in oppersite directions Greg. I guess I was looking at it more from a scientific comparison if they is one, ie from the amount of tonal range / contrast each can produce.
I fully appreciate viewing of prints is totally subjective.

David Brunell
29-Mar-2012, 08:44
I agree that inkjet prints and wet prints are two different mediums as far as comparison methods are concerned. I use an epson 1400 with the Harrison QTR and piezography inkset, wet scanned on an epson v700. This end result is more comparable to a platinum/pladium print on matte paper. I find the result beautiful in tonality. I believe if your goal is to produce archival quality inkjet prints with little metarism and no color cast you would be best served with a dedicated black & white printing system in combination with a third party carbon ink set and quad tone rip software. Scanner/printer/inkset included you are looking at an investment of around $800 and this will give you a couple hundred 8x10's

You will find alot of information on this type of system through the following links:

http://www.piezography.com/PiezoPress/

http://www.quadtonerip.com/html/QTRoverview.html

Good luck.

Ken Lee
29-Mar-2012, 08:59
I was looking at it more from a scientific comparison if they is one, ie from the amount of tonal range / contrast each can produce.

For that, a reflection densitometer will tell you what you need to know. Perhaps someone has the numbers handy.

I have a silver print I made in 1971 on glossy paper that is no longer available, selenium toned, and it has a very rich black. I'll compare it to one of my inkjet prints. My guess is that they are very close in terms of dMax and dMin. Probably indistinguishable.

Rudgey
29-Mar-2012, 09:01
Scanner/printer/inkset included you are looking at an investment of around $800

Thanks David,
Well I have use of a great 5x4 scanner, the Hasselblad X5, I have an Epson R3000 so its just the cost of the inks & rip.
I would imagine the carbon inks replace all the colour set? Would that mean they cannot be reinstalled? as they are new full ones at the moment.
Are you then printing on Epson cold press fine art paper?

IanG
29-Mar-2012, 09:24
It's not too difficult to produce inkjet prints that are exremely close to traditional darkroom prints, the Ilford (Harman) FB Baryta Inkjet papers are superb although a bit pricey.

I've finally bought a decent printer and scanner to digitise some work for publication and made some comparison prints. In fact the negatives were scanned and digital negatives then platinum prints made a few months before I made silver gelatin prints for exhibitions, the Inkjet prints made with my R2400 are comparable both in tonality and image colour to the Forte Polywarmtone versions.

Ian

Kirk Gittings
29-Mar-2012, 09:51
Otherwise it is best to just say that they are different and each can be very fine and respectable. I much rather have a clean, good inkjet than a silver print full of Spotone and excuses - I hate defects worse than the last bit of tonal density.:)

Frank Petronio
29-Mar-2012, 10:05
The big decision is going to be whether you go with a smoother (glossy) approach to your ink jets, which is more akin to the look of traditional photo paper versus the matte, textural papers that are unique to inkjet and some alt processes.

The ability to make something that looks like a giant Platinum print is pretty attractive. I don't want to upset anyone by saying they are as good as Platinum prints, but you can head in that direction....

(I mostly want a traditional glossy look myself, I got my fill of "artists papers" back in the early days of Iris printing and the early, funkier inkjet printers.)

tgtaylor
29-Mar-2012, 10:12
Convenietly a silver print and an inkjet representation is sitting on the viewing station so I made a quick comparison between the two. Dismissing the antiquity of my digital tools I looked for a noticable unpleasantness between the two methods and was immediatly struck with how the border between light and darker tones looked like "cutouts" placed on the inkjet version but were smooth and unnoticable on the silver print. Both were printed on smooth glossy paper. I suspect this is because, as noted above, the ink is deposited on top of the paper whereas in the silver print the silver molecules are imbeded inside the paper.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7112/7027158291_e75e247fa4_c.jpg

Also I split toned the wet print with Kodak Brown and selenium toner which imparted a slight but noticable brown tone to the silver print which is hinted at in the scan above but that may be due to my equiptment/scanning ability.

In sum, then, for me the real silver print rules!

Thomas

Thomas

David Brunell
29-Mar-2012, 10:23
Thanks David,
Well I have use of a great 5x4 scanner, the Hasselblad X5, I have an Epson R3000 so its just the cost of the inks & rip.
I would imagine the carbon inks replace all the colour set? Would that mean they cannot be reinstalled? as they are new full ones at the moment.
Are you then printing on Epson cold press fine art paper?

Yes, the carbon inks replace the color set. You can just swap them out and run a few cleaning cycles if the color set has been installed but not used. If it has been used they sell a flush kit, then you may install the carbon set. You have the choice of using a gloss system with your printer as well!

http://shopping.netsuite.com/s.nl/c.362672/sc.15/category.54255/.f

I am printing on inkpress picture rag warm and cool tone as well as hahnemuhle bright white.

David Brunell
29-Mar-2012, 10:36
Convenietly a silver print and an inkjet representation is sitting on the viewing station so I made a quick comparison between the two. Dismissing the antiquity of my digital tools I looked for a noticable unpleasantness between the two methods and was immediatly struck with how the border between light and darker tones looked like "cutouts" placed on the inkjet version but were smooth and unnoticable on the silver print. Both were printed on smooth glossy paper. I suspect this is because, as noted above, the ink is deposited on top of the paper whereas in the silver print the silver molecules are imbeded inside the paper.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7112/7027158291_e75e247fa4_c.jpg

Also I split toned the wet print with Kodak Brown and selenium toner which imparted a slight but noticable brown tone to the silver print which is hinted at in the scan above but that may be due to my equiptment/scanning ability.

In sum, then, for me the real silver print rules!

Thomas

Thomas

Nice Thomas, BEAUTIFUL tones. I tend to see better "depth" from a wet print, however, the control with the digital workflow is simply more practical for me. Wet printing is a very time consuming in art unto itself and I have a great respect for people who can do it well. I have two small children and can easily take a break from my processing workflow to be with them/tend to their needs. I went with the digital workflow when I compared wet/piezography side by side and have been very pleased with the results thus far.

Frank Petronio
29-Mar-2012, 10:43
....Dismissing the antiquity of my digital tools I looked for a noticable unpleasantness between the two methods and was immediatly struck with how the border between light and darker tones looked like "cutouts" placed on the inkjet version but were smooth and unnoticable on the silver print.

Yeah but... that could be over-sharpening of the digital file and/or the older printer with the coarser droplets, etc. Some papers do better than others with ink and printer combinations, etc. You may just be a better silver printer than a digital one!

Constructing a really good test is really, really hard as the recent attempts to compare a medium format digital back to large format film showed... there are so many variables and operator skill is a huge factor as well.

That's why this has never been (or will be?) definitively answered. A mediocre silver print will be crushed by an expert digital print and vice-versa.

I think it is really a good idea to let go of "the absolute best". There will always be a better profile or scanner or ink set. You could always develop the negative better, the enlarger could be stabler, the chemistry optimal... go with what works to get you 95% there and tweak what is practical to improve within your time and budget.

sully75
29-Mar-2012, 11:21
Yeah I think the important thing is that you can make amazing prints with either method. I recently got an Epson 4900, it's my 4th inkjet printer and the first one that's not totally frustrating. It just seems to work.

On some of the new papers (Canson Infinity papers) I've made some really sweet prints. I haven't made silver prints in a long time and was never very good at it. So I have nothing to compare them to. But I think most "experts" would say they are at least "good" prints.

One advantage with digital is that you can bring all the elements of photoshop and that sort of thing into maximizing your negatives. You can do burning and dodging with a level of precision that I think is unavailable to anyone except the most very skilled digital printers. Since my negatives are all over the place, I tend to do a lot in PS before printing.

If you can't do darkroom printing anymore, I think you'll be able to do inkjet prints and be satisfied with the results. It's a learning curve, like anything else.

Vaughn
29-Mar-2012, 11:26
Are SUVs better than pick-up trucks yet?

If I could make an inkjet print by hand (instead of a machine) on homemade materials, I might actually go with inkjet prints.

Kirk Gittings
29-Mar-2012, 11:32
I have been showing silver prints along side inkjet since 2005 in museum and gallery shows with a great deal of success. At this point I am quite satisfied with both. I don't try to make an inkjet print look like a silver print, but try and make it rich and expressive on its own. I have found that some images print better one way than the other. Generally I try everything shot on film in silver first. If it works there that is where I stop. If not I will have a drum scan done and work on it in ink. Digital capture of course I work up in ink first. I'm very tempted to try Carnies silver prints from digital files and will probably give that a try this coming year.

Brian Ellis
29-Mar-2012, 11:36
I printed in a darkroom for about 15 years, mostly b&w but some color. I've been printing digitally for about 9 years, b&w and color. I've exhibited darkroom and ink jet prints side by side in various exhibits and nobody has ever noticed any difference, or if they have they haven't said anything about it. I've shown both type of prints in portfolio reviews at photography workshops and neither the instructors nor the participants have realized they were two different types of prints until I told them. I happen to prefer ink jet because I can do so much more in Photoshop than I can in a darkroom and because so much time in a darkroom is spent doing drudge work (mixing chemicals, jiggling trays, cleaning up, etc.) rather than actually working on a print. Others prefer darkroom prints and that's fine for them.

Merg Ross
29-Mar-2012, 12:11
While this thread still remains civil, I will comment. Yesterday, Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee were at the house for lunch and an afternoon of conversation. Those familiar with their work, will appreciate their years of dedication to the silver contact print on Azo and Lodima papers, developed in Amidol.

I never thought that I would live to see them take on the digital printing process. They have in a big way (and with big prints)! In their judgement, their ink prints are indistinguishable from their silver prints. It has not come easily, with months and years of perfecting the process. They are in fact perfectionists, and their conclusion carries a lot of weight in any such discussion.

tgtaylor
29-Mar-2012, 12:32
I tend to see better "depth" from a wet print, however, the control with the digital workflow is simply more practical for me. Wet printing is a very time consuming in art unto itself and I have a great respect for people who can do it well. I have two small children and can easily take a break from my processing workflow to be with them/tend to their needs. I went with the digital workflow when I compared wet/piezography side by side and have been very pleased with the results thus far.

By all means, David, do work with that method which is practical for you. Although I don't particarly care for setting up the trays, cleaning them when through, and drying the RC prints with a hand dryer or setting up the screens for the fiber, the silver print is the most practical method for me since I am currently a better silver printer than digital printer.

But lets face it: How many images are you really going to print regardless of the method? True if you are an accomplished software jockey you can probably work thru a successful print quicker than in the darkroom but the savings in time shouldn't be all that great as it takes the printer time to print the negative just as it takes 3 to 3.5 minutes to process an RC or Fiber print. You have to dry the wet print – about another 2 or 3 minutes with a hand dryer for RC but you have to wait for the ink to stabilize too (Epson says to wait at least 15 minutes before touching the print). The real savings in time comes when you need to print several copies of the same image. With digital you simply tell the printer to print x copies and can walk off; with wet prints you must print each one personally which, if you made careful notes of how you arrived at the final working proof, is simple but monotonous. You're just a machine at that point. You can't just walk away from it at that point like you can with digital. But how often do you do that?

Perhaps more compelling is the need to work with hazardous chemicals in the wet darkroom – the “fume room” so many have complained of. Using a citric acid stop bath and TF-5 for a fix I have eliminated practically all the fumes except from the Dektol which in my case is minimal as I process the paper in a separate room which is ventilated by an exhaust fan. I'm only in there 3 or 3.5 minutes at a time depending on the paper I'm printing on.

Finally I find silver printing more straight-forward and intuitive than digital printing where it is necessary to master the software which has the tendency to change. For example a certain keystroke on PS Version X may not produce the same result on Version Y with printer Z.

Thomas




Yeah but... that could be over-sharpening of the digital file and/or the older printer with the coarser droplets, etc. Some papers do better than others with ink and printer combinations, etc. You may just be a better silver printer than a digital one!

Constructing a really good test is really, really hard as the recent attempts to compare a medium format digital back to large format film showed... there are so many variables and operator skill is a huge factor as well.

That's why this has never been (or will be?) definitively answered. A mediocre silver print will be crushed by an expert digital print and vice-versa.

I think it is really a good idea to let go of "the absolute best". There will always be a better profile or scanner or ink set. You could always develop the negative better, the enlarger could be stabler, the chemistry optimal... go with what works to get you 95% there and tweak what is practical to improve within your time and budget.

Agreed - especially with the last paragraph.

Thomas

George Pappas
29-Mar-2012, 12:36
After 20+ years of intensive silver printing in the darkroom and 8+ years learning digital and exploiting the evolving offerings, I have also come to the conclusion that both mediums have equal expressive quality. Like Frank, I have preferred the "traditional" B&W fiber-based look in my digital printing. After 2 years of working with Cone's K6/K7 inks for glossy papers, I have found the look I want with digital printing. The thing that put it over the top for me was using the glossy inks on glossy papers with a gloss overcoat made the image appear to be "in" the paper rather than "on" the paper that I found using matte inks/papers. This is the same look that I have enjoyed with darkroom prints for years.

To the OP's other question, I have found that the density range with glossy ink/paper/overcoat is greater than what I accomplished in the darkroom. For reference, my old Zone VI Brilliant paper (that I loved) had a max density range of approx 2.3 log. With either Canson Infinity Baryta or Cone5 and gloss overcoat, I find my max density range is 2.6 to 2.7 log. This can make a difference depending on the density range of the image you are printing and the way you are trying to print it. Another large difference, besides productivity, is that you can more easily use the entire tonal range in digital due with all of the tools available.

for the OP, I would say that they are both of equal quality and will provide an equal quality of expression - however they are still subtly different - to a knowledgeable audience that is looking for it.

Kirk Gittings
29-Mar-2012, 12:39
While this thread still remains civil, I will comment. Yesterday, Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee were at the house for lunch and an afternoon of conversation. Those familiar with their work, will appreciate their years of dedication to the silver contact print on Azo and Lodima papers, developed in Amidol.

I never thought that I would live to see them take on the digital printing process. They have in a big way (and with big prints)! In their judgement, their ink prints are indistinguishable from their silver prints. It has not come easily, with months and years of perfecting the process. They are in fact perfectionists, and their conclusion carries a lot of weight in any such discussion.

Merg, I knew that was happening with them. It is not surprising at all to me given the response I have personally gotten from top notch "old school" silver printers, and knowledgeable curators. I do think however that printers with a background in fine silver printing have a distinct advantage when they take up ink printing.

IanG
29-Mar-2012, 12:49
Merg, I knew that was happening with them. It is not surprising at all to me given the response I have personally gotten from top notch "old school" silver printers, and knowledgeable curators. I do think however that printers with a background in fine silver printing have a distinct advantage when they take up ink printing.

I think you raise an interesting a valid point there, my 40+ years of darkroom printing has certainly made if very much easier for me to make digital prints as well.

Ian

David Brunell
29-Mar-2012, 12:52
Yes, good points Thomas. I think it boils down to being comfortable with your system enough to produce repeatable and predictable results that satisfy the most important critic, oneself!

Kirk Gittings
29-Mar-2012, 12:57
Merg, I knew that was happening with them. It is not surprising at all to me given the response I have personally gotten from top notch "old school" silver printers, and knowledgeable curators. I do think however that printers with a background in fine silver printing have a distinct advantage when they take up ink printing.

I think you raise an interesting a valid point there, my 40+ years of darkroom printing has certainly made if very much easier for me to make digital prints as well.

Ian

Easier probably, but I think it is more about knowing what a good rich print is.

Jay DeFehr
29-Mar-2012, 13:04
Yeah I think the important thing is that you can make amazing prints with either method. I recently got an Epson 4900, it's my 4th inkjet printer and the first one that's not totally frustrating. It just seems to work.

On some of the new papers (Canson Infinity papers) I've made some really sweet prints. I haven't made silver prints in a long time and was never very good at it. So I have nothing to compare them to. But I think most "experts" would say they are at least "good" prints.

One advantage with digital is that you can bring all the elements of photoshop and that sort of thing into maximizing your negatives. You can do burning and dodging with a level of precision that I think is unavailable to anyone except the most very skilled digital printers. Since my negatives are all over the place, I tend to do a lot in PS before printing.

If you can't do darkroom printing anymore, I think you'll be able to do inkjet prints and be satisfied with the results. It's a learning curve, like anything else.

While I'm no expert, I would agree Paul's ink prints are very good.

I made several prints yesterday on Ilford Art 300 paper, and today I'll tone them in various toners, and see what the materials give me. Darkroom printing seems to me a bit more passive in this respect, compared to a digital workflow, or another way to put it might be, generous, depending on one's perspective. I'm not a great printer, able to wring a beautiful print from a junk negative, or to bend and contort my materials into delivering whatever my imagination dictates -- I try too keep things within range from the beginning so I can make an essentially straight darkroom print. If I get everything right, my prints are as good as the materials they're made with, so I try to chose the best materials I can find. This commits me to the processes and problems we most generally discuss here -- fitting the scene onto the film, and the film onto the paper, with all the little details and controversies along the way, but all of this is within the context of the materials.

So, the way I read the OP's question is: are inkjet materials as good as silver materials? This is a far simpler question than one about comparisons of prints, or workflows, though I don't pretend to have a definitive answer to it. I will say that the best prints I've ever personally seen are carbon prints, which might have more in common with inkjet prints than with silver prints, and I suspect that digital prints will inevitably eclipse all other varieties by any objective metric.

Drew Wiley
29-Mar-2012, 13:08
Marty Knapp is a reasonably well known traditional black and white printer in this area making strictly cold tone prints. When he lost his lease on the darkroom he started printing
inkjet and the results would probably look identical to the average observer. But he knew
exactly what he wanted and worked hard to precisely replicate the look previously achieved in the darkroom. With the specific kind of toning I happen to do in the darkroom
I think would be impossible to replicate that way; and if I was oriented toward inkjet I would simply select images better suited to that approach. But from a teaching standpoint,
I think there is still a big advantage when people learn to pay their dues and slow down,
and learn to see, and learn to evaluate image tones. Both a view camera background and
traditional darkroom skills are helpful in this respect, regardless where you finally land.

tgtaylor
29-Mar-2012, 13:13
Reflecting of the digital vs analogue discussions that pop up on this forum with regularity, it strikes me that they all seem to be universally brought by the digital crowd as if they are seeking a personal and public vindication for their decision to spend zillions of dollars on a technology that at its best faithfully reproduces the old. You never see an "analogue is better than digital" thread started by the analogue crowd but always the opposite in which the latter, few that we are, spring to the defense of the analogue as if a knee-jerk reaction.

Thomas

bob carnie
29-Mar-2012, 13:16
The latest development (no pun intended) coming out of our darkroom is enlarged silver gelatin film that is then contacted onto emulsions.

A year ago we tested onto carbon and platinum with results we were pleased with. As of the last couple of months we have scanned negatives from a series of work that is part of a very large neg- enlarger -silver-wet- print project.(Ilford Warmtone)

Just for fun we scanned a difficult negative from this series , that had a extreme lighting ratio in the original scene.( this enlarger print was a root canal type of print to make but in PS not so bad)

First go around we made negs for platinum print and as expected when we laid the film on Ilford Warmtone the print was not correct.
Second go around we softened the curve in PS and outputted a second film... We then contacted on Ilford Warmtone, the negative was the same size as the enlarger final print.( We did have some difficulty and if I was to tweak I would lower the contrast another grade in PS)
But to our eyes the print was pretty dam good. We then matted the digital rendition and inserted the print with the larger body of work for the client to judge without any prior knowledge to what we were doing.
Conclusions were that the prints from enlarger and print from digital film were both equally appealling and the client really would not have been able to pick one over the other blind test.

There are some differences and yes a good tech can pick out digital artifacts and a good tech can pick out enlarger artifacts.
I am lucky enough to be able to see daily various outputs from different printers, Ink , RA4 , silver lambda and enlarger, and I have to say that certain projects benefit with more than one type of process and trying to pick on over the other is tough call.
We spend a lot of our time showing clients tests in various end printing medias and basically let them make their choice.

I have seen a few of Jon Cones Ink prints in direct comparison to my silver lambda prints , and for the images I saw I would have chosen his prints.
We are setting up a dedicated printer for Cone Inks (Piezo) and by doing so have pretty much all the end processes at our fingertips. Our clients benefit from this but it does make me work 7 days a week.

Personally I prefer an enlarger wet silver print, over any process, but I do see the day where I will split my time between that and tri colour carbon and gum , that are generated from digital capture or scans of colour film.

The best lay down of ink on paper that I have seen that rivals a silver print would be the Hannamuhle Bartya or the Exhibition Fibre. I think these prints could be intermixed with a silver wet print show and very few would be able to tell the difference.

I only like the rag cotton papers for colour work, at this point yet, I am playing with Exhibition Fibre to see if I can beat my RA4 colour prints.

Kirk Gittings
29-Mar-2012, 13:19
Bob, I want to give one of your silver prints from digital file a spin later this year. Do you have a profile for soft proofing such?


The latest development (no pun intended) coming out of our darkroom is enlarged silver gelatin film that is then contacted onto emulsions.

A year ago we tested onto carbon and platinum with results we were pleased with. As of the last couple of months we have scanned negatives from a series of work that is part of a very large neg- enlarger -silver-wet- print project.(Ilford Warmtone)

Just for fun we scanned a difficult negative from this series , that had a extreme lighting ratio in the original scene.( this enlarger print was a root canal type of print to make but in PS not so bad)

First go around we made negs for platinum print and as expected when we laid the film on Ilford Warmtone the print was not correct.
Second go around we softened the curve in PS and outputted a second film... We then contacted on Ilford Warmtone, the negative was the same size as the enlarger final print.( We did have some difficulty and if I was to tweak I would lower the contrast another grade in PS)
But to our eyes the print was pretty dam good. We then matted the digital rendition and inserted the print with the larger body of work for the client to judge without any prior knowledge to what we were doing.
Conclusions were that the prints from enlarger and print from digital film were both equally appealling and the client really would not have been able to pick one over the other blind test.

There are some differences and yes a good tech can pick out digital artifacts and a good tech can pick out enlarger artifacts.
I am lucky enough to be able to see daily various outputs from different printers, Ink , RA4 , silver lambda and enlarger, and I have to say that certain projects benefit with more than one type of process and trying to pick on over the other is tough call.
We spend a lot of our time showing clients tests in various end printing medias and basically let them make their choice.

I have seen a few of Jon Cones Ink prints in direct comparison to my silver lambda prints , and for the images I saw I would have chosen his prints.
We are setting up a dedicated printer for Cone Inks (Piezo) and by doing so have pretty much all the end processes at our fingertips. Our clients benefit from this but it does make me work 7 days a week.

Personally I prefer an enlarger wet silver print, over any process, but I do see the day where I will split my time between that and tri colour carbon and gum , that are generated from digital capture or scans of colour film.

The best lay down of ink on paper that I have seen that rivals a silver print would be the Hannamuhle Bartya or the Exhibition Fibre. I think these prints could be intermixed with a silver wet print show and very few would be able to tell the difference.

I only like the rag cotton papers for colour work, at this point yet, I am playing with Exhibition Fibre to see if I can beat my RA4 colour prints.

Drew Wiley
29-Mar-2012, 13:23
I personally like all high quality prints. I do have my personal preference for my own images, my own skill set, and my own budget (so see no point in investing in a whole new
way of doing things). I know people who can do really incredible digital printing with an
overhead of a about 10K per month and millions of dollars invested in their gear. Do these
images (undeniably competent) inspire me any more than the platinum prints than Julia
Cameron made in a chicken house? No.

sully75
29-Mar-2012, 13:48
For an added point for discussion: to me the difference in quality between digital and silver printing is much different from the difference between digital and silver photography. Not saying that film is better than digital for taking a picture, but I think the difference between a picture taken on film and one taken on digital is much greater than the difference between silver and digital prints of a scanned B&W negative.

sully75
29-Mar-2012, 13:50
PS thanks to Jay for making my day, again.

Obviously digital prints are coming from somewhere...at least, mine are. I'm trying to chimp the look of really good printing. Mostly I've seen really good repros in books, so that's what I'm trying to copy. I have a couple of books with superior reproductions and I'm just trying to get that look. I haven't had my hands on too many great wet prints (have a really nice one from Jay though), but I'd like to, just so that I have something more to shoot for. I'm tempted to buy one of Peter Turnley's prints from the sale coming up on the The Online Photographer, just to have a really great inkjet print from a master printer in my hands. But man...I've been blowing some money lately.

bob carnie
29-Mar-2012, 13:58
Kirk and others interested.

We are starting a press and go service on the lambda silver prints, every second Friday we will be running this paper. ( we of course would run every day if you wish, but the amount of chemicals required limits the run times) I will send anyone interested the specs for printing at bob@elevatordigital.ca ... It will be a minimum four feet of paper .. two sizes 30 inch roll and 20 inch roll by minimum four linear ft. As well we will look at doing a test and printer judgement. Usually I would make a 12 inch on the longest side test full image, make my call and print. I will have the prices nailed down soon, and we have found this type of service is very popular with our clients.

One thing to remember ... this is a tray , rolled process and is not the same as a machine print... we are rolling 8-10 ft at time and there is Human variances, printer (me) is part of this process and I will use my best judgement... Our first go around may not be perfect or could exceed your expectations.

A sample bartya ink print or any kind of print is always a good thing for us..... Adobe 1998 is our profile mode of choice and setting your L channel numbers to min highlight and min shadow points are critical for good lay down of tones. will be explained in my emails.

tgtaylor
29-Mar-2012, 14:18
Not saying that film is better than digital for taking a picture, but I think the difference between a picture taken on film and one taken on digital is much greater than...

Absolutely! And that's the reason why many Hollywood directors have been slow to move to all digital photography notwithstanding the cost to digitize film which runs as much as $4 per frame!

Thomas

Kirk Gittings
29-Mar-2012, 14:24
Thanks Bob.

Oren Grad
29-Mar-2012, 15:32
I'm tempted to buy one of Peter Turnley's prints from the sale coming up on the The Online Photographer, just to have a really great inkjet print from a master printer in my hands.

The Peter Turnley prints in Mike's special offer are silver prints made by the master printer Voja Mitrovic. You'll have to look elsewhere for inkjets.

Drew Wiley
29-Mar-2012, 16:00
Gosh what crap! Do you want to hand a trumpet player a violin or visa versa, and then
ask which is best? It all relative to the printmaker and the image itself. One man's medicine
is another man's poison.

Jay DeFehr
29-Mar-2012, 16:39
Gosh what crap! Do you want to hand a trumpet player a violin or visa versa, and then
ask which is best? It all relative to the printmaker and the image itself. One man's medicine
is another man's poison.

I don't think it's crap at all. I remember a time when the question wold have been answered definitively in favor of wet prints, and now even die hard darkroom evangelists like yourself don't answer at all, preferring to claim apples and oranges relativity. That's crap.

Drew Wiley
29-Mar-2012, 18:20
So how do you define it, Jay? Let's take an analogy. One image might look
wonderful on silver gelatin but bland in Pt/Pd, while another might lose all
its subtlety the other way around. Is one or the other inherently "better"?
And the even bigger variable isn't even the medium, but the individual
printmaker's affinity to it. And a high level of skill with anything isn't instantly learned. Is oil painting "better" than watercolor? Define better.

sully75
29-Mar-2012, 18:51
Absolutely! And that's the reason why many Hollywood directors have been slow to move to all digital photography notwithstanding the cost to digitize film which runs as much as $4 per frame!

Thomas

I'd like to know where I can get a frame digitized for $4. That sounds like a good buy!

sully75
29-Mar-2012, 18:53
The Peter Turnley prints in Mike's special offer are silver prints made by the master printer Voja Mitrovic. You'll have to look elsewhere for inkjets.

urps. Yeah. I knew that. I don't know why I said inkjet. I meant an awesome silver print. I'd like to have a few for comparison.

I bought a couple of Brooks Jensen's prints for the same reason. I think he's a good photographer but an awesome printmaker. His digital prints are or were $25 and were really, really nice. Done on inkjets, I believe. I have 2 squirreled away somewhere. I should get them out and have them near my desk.

P

welly
29-Mar-2012, 19:52
Bottom line for me is that if you are doing digital printing to save money you are fooling yourself. If you are doing it because it offers you the fine control you seek and you like the results..., go for it and produce ever better work. The proof is in the prints and if you are good or use a good lab the results can be as good an anything out there.

There is a lot of room for creative work and no one way is right.

Unfortunately for me, room and resources dictate my printing method. I would absolutely love to get into wet printing but my only option is an expensive ($22/hour) dark room. I stumped up the cash for an Epson v700 scanner and 3880 printer. Personally, I'm blown away by the results of both but then I'm doing this for my own personal enjoyment and not selling my photography. Plus, I haven't been in this for long so have seen few real high quality prints :)



Both work well but digital is far more expensive over time than the darkroom. I can still print from glass plates to 20x24 negatives. I can't even get most zip disks to open any longer, same with a number of other types of older storage media. Too many CD's have developed glitches too quickly to be relied on without the image transfer every 3 years or so - just one more ongoing expense. Yes, you plan for it but most I know don't get it going til they lose a few images or files and then they have a rush project on their hands.


Who uses CDs or Zip disks for archival purposes anymore? If you do, you're crazy. Cloud storage is cheap, solid and reliable now. Archiving your digital images with services such as Amazon's S3 storage costs pennies. And surely Zip disks will hold a handful of images these days, if that. Sure, that doesn't help you if you've got a bunch of old zip disks and CDs that you used to use but my advice would be to get it off those and onto some form of Cloud storage immediately.

Jay DeFehr
29-Mar-2012, 20:38
So how do you define it, Jay? Let's take an analogy. One image might look
wonderful on silver gelatin but bland in Pt/Pd, while another might lose all
its subtlety the other way around. Is one or the other inherently "better"?
And the even bigger variable isn't even the medium, but the individual
printmaker's affinity to it. And a high level of skill with anything isn't instantly learned. Is oil painting "better" than watercolor? Define better.

You decided the question is "crap" because you interpreted it as being about subjective qualities, even though the OP's question was specifically about objective measurements. Rather than answer the question posed, you answered the one you prefer, and then call it crap. I don't have an answer for the OP because I don't know much about digital printing, but I assume there is an answer, as opposed to just dismissing the whole subject out of hand to feel superior.

tgtaylor
30-Mar-2012, 07:57
The one difference between the two that will always differentiate them is that inkjet prints are machine-made and wet prints are man-made. The common expectation is that the latter are more valuable and should cost more than the former because a human being was fully engaged in its creation and was not the output of an automated mass production line of machines.

Thomas

Greg Miller
30-Mar-2012, 08:18
The one difference between the two that will always differentiate them is that inkjet prints are machine-made and wet prints are man-made. The common expectation is that the latter are more valuable and should cost more than the former because a human being was fully engaged in its creation and was not the output of an automated mass production line of machines.

Thomas

Well, they are both mad made. The artist just has the ability to be more consistent with the output in one. That can be good or bad. One can easily make a point that inkjets are more valuable because each print most closely represents the artist's vision (less variation due to tighter control over the process). I know for my digital prints I am fully engaged in making the print look the way I want it to. And I like the fact that each print looks exactly the way I want it to. And I respect the fact that you may find that less appealing than I do. You personally may find that variation in wet prints make them more valuable, but it is very subjective and others will have different opinions. Just like most things photographic, it is highly subjective and personal. I personally do not care either way - I just want to see prints that the artist is proud and that move me in some way.

This never ending debate over how one process is superior over the other is tiresome. Find a process that works for you. Love your process, and let others love theirs.

Drew Wiley
30-Mar-2012, 08:22
Yeah Tom ... I've heard exactly the same argument made of silver prints versus something
like carbon or pt/pd which are hand-coated. Some people also refer to dye transfer prints
as handmade, but others not, simply because they can be serially replicated using one set
of developed matrices. So it's all relative. Darkroom work is certainly more tactile than seeing things spun off an inkjet printer or Lightjet, and that is rewarding to many of us.
But it all involves some form of technology, even if it's just an enlarger lamp turning on due
to billions of dollars of energy infrastructure in place.

Drew Wiley
30-Mar-2012, 08:27
Jay, I don't want to get into an endless semantics feud with you, so I'll simply state it this
way. Inkjet is best when that is what the specific photographer or his choses lab happens
to do best, and which more closely replicates his concept of how he wants a specific image to look. Darkroom, in whatever chosen paper or technique, is best when it happens
to give the desired look and dovetail into that particular photographer's skill set. Agreed?
It's all so damn evolved at this point, that one can pick and choose. But if people want to
do art, they've been quite successful at it for over 30,000 years now.

Jim Noel
30-Mar-2012, 08:49
Question#1 - No, not even close

Vaughn
30-Mar-2012, 08:54
Greg, I agree that one should use the medium that one can best express him or herself with. But there is an artistic tradition, most highly refined in Japanese art, that values the imperfections that are in a piece made by a master of that art form. Repeatability never enters into it at all -- in fact, repeatability would be the antithesis of this artistic tradition.

When I was making silver gelatin prints, they had to be "perfect". One of the many aspects of carbon printing that I have grown to appreciate is the opportunity to leave this concept of "perfection" behind and craft an art object that best expresses what I see and feel -- to take my use of photography beyond just image-making. Inkjet printing (or having Bob Carnie print out a chemical print from a digital file) just would not satisfy my needs and desires.

But I also realize that inkjet printing can satisfy the needs and desires of other photographers/artists.

I am curious if an inkjet reproduction of a painting will ever fetch the same price as the original. After all, if it is all about the image, then that could happen. But it is unlikely.

Brian Ellis
30-Mar-2012, 09:05
The one difference between the two that will always differentiate them is that inkjet prints are machine-made and wet prints are man-made. The common expectation is that the latter are more valuable and should cost more than the former because a human being was fully engaged in its creation and was not the output of an automated mass production line of machines.

Thomas

When I printed in a darkroom I took film (made by others) out of my camera (a machine), put it in an enlarger (a machine), put a sheet of paper (made by others) in the enlarger, turned on the light for a while, removed the paper, put it in trays (made by others) of chemicals (made by others), jiggled the trays for a while, then put the paper in a washer (made by others), let it sit there for a while, and then placed it on a drying screen (made by others). The only thing "hand made" about it was the likelihood that I dodged or burned using my hands while sometimes holding a wire or some other tool under the enlarger light.

When I make an ink-jet print from film I take the film (made by others) out of my camera (a machine), scan the film in a scanner (a machine) while using my hands to manipulate the tools in an editing program (made by others), then with another editing program (made by others) in a computer (made by others) I use my hands to manipulate numerous different tools included in the program. Then I send it to a printer (made by others) and get a print.

Where's the difference from a "hand-made" standpoint between that and what I did in a darkroom? The only difference I see in terms of being "hand-made" is that in one case I use my hands under an enlarger light to effect changes in the print and in the other I use my hands to manipulate tools in a program to effect changes. But in each case I'm the person using my hands and my own creative efforts to make a print. And I'm at least as "fully engaged" in the creation of a print digitally as I was in a darkroom.

I'm not aware that your "common expectation" is in fact a common expectation. It may be the way you think things should be but from all I've read here and elsewhere, people don't generally pay more for a print solely because it was made in a darkroom.

As far as mass production is concerned, I see no difference between making multiple copies of the same print in a darkroom and making multiple copies in an ink jet printer except that there's no physical drudge work involved in doing it digitally. But once the first print is made neither method involves any further creative effort, it's just a matter of moving things around in a darkroom vs pushing buttons in a printer.

Frank Petronio
30-Mar-2012, 09:16
The one difference between the two that will always differentiate them is that inkjet prints are machine-made and wet prints are man-made. The common expectation is that the latter are more valuable and should cost more than the former because a human being was fully engaged in its creation and was not the output of an automated mass production line of machines.

Thomas

Every time I used to drive by Kodak I saw the slaves laboring over the paper coating stadium, pushing the clay slurry over the steaming wood pulp and then transferring it to giant drying screens, in the early stages of making "man-made" photo paper. I think it was their sweat and juices that made the paper so good.

Greg Miller
30-Mar-2012, 09:23
I am curious if an inkjet reproduction of a painting will ever fetch the same price as the original. After all, if it is all about the image, then that could happen. But it is unlikely.

To make an inkjet reproduction of a painting, you would have to scan the painting. In photography, I don't think any one is scanning inkjet prints to make more inkjet prints - each print comes from the same master file.

tgtaylor
30-Mar-2012, 09:31
Stop and think about what some of you are saying: that a handmade object has no more added value, nor is it valued, over the same object that is machine made. Is that in your “common experience?” If you went into, say, a furniture store and there were two seemingly identical tables, one hand-made by an artisan and the other machine made by XYZ corporation, which one would you expect to have the higher price tag?

Further consider the posters that Ansel Adams created and sold during his lifetime. Did he sell them for more than he sold the print or were they priced the same?

Thomas

Ken Lee
30-Mar-2012, 09:56
"Stop and think about what some of you are saying"

To determine whether something is made by hand, is not an absolute Yes or No proposition. It's akin to claiming that something is "natural" or "locally made": merely a reflection of our definition of the term.

As Brian pointed out so well, we hold tools in our hands, and those tools may have been made by other tools, or by hand. To stop and think about it, we often discover that things aren't as simple as they appear.

There are many contexts where tools are welcome, even preferable. For example, if we are getting surgery, most of us would rather pay the surgeon to use a sharp metal scalpel than tear us open with his teeth or bare hands. At the dentist, we'd rather pay for anesthetic than be clubbed into unconsciousness.

Whether someone charges more, is not always in indication of artistic value. Artistic value is only loosely coupled to price - just as an individual being famous is not always a reliable indicator of the quality of their work. Price fluctuates. Today something or someone may be very popular: tomorrow you can't give their work away.

There are some things in life that are absolute, but many are relative, a matter of perspective. In fact, perspective is one of the reasons we like photography :cool:

tgtaylor
30-Mar-2012, 10:06
It shouldn't be too hard to see the reason why the value of the photograph print has plummeted in the digital age: The photographic artist that embraced it have taken pains to “educate” the buying public that the machine print is just as good – nay better – than a “darkroom print;” that the hand work of the artist has no more value than that done by a machine.

Thomas

Kirk Gittings
30-Mar-2012, 10:11
This is how I view this subject. It comes from a long career in photography immersed in the milieu of "art photography".

The "machine" ie the camera, computer, enlarger, printer is just a tool and no more relevant to artistry than a chisel or brush. Throughout the long history of art, artistry has been defined by the control an artist exercises over the tools of art production rather than the tool itself. Sometimes those "tools" were assistants who actually did some of the painting and stone carving under the direction of the master.

Some of you may not have been around long enough to actually experience the fight for recognition of photography as an art form. It was still going strong (though waining) when I was an undergraduate at UNM in the 60's studying with Beaumont Newhall and Van Deuron Coke et al. The exact same arguments expressed now about digital processes were then aimed at analogue photography by painters, stone lithographers etc.-"Photography is not art. It is machine made" I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that in my youth. Fortunately that ship sailed along time ago and fell off the edge of the known flat world.

The amount of control one exerts making a digital art print is extraordinary-down to a nearly microscopic level of image manipulation. But I frankly have no problem finding the artistry in analogue methods that allow for little control of the materials such as Polaroids.

Merg Ross
30-Mar-2012, 10:15
One thing to remember is that those collecting photography in 2012 are quite a different crowd from those who collected in the 1950's, 60's, 70's 80's and even 90's. This I have learned from those who make a living selling their personal photography. Values and acceptance change as a new generation makes the purchasing decisions, be they for personal or institutional collections.

As photographers, we may have a preference for process, and therefore place a different value on our work than is borne out by the present market. Process alone is no longer the determining factor of value.

However, the OP was not about value.

tgtaylor
30-Mar-2012, 10:15
Then answer the question:

If you went into, say, a furniture store and there were two seemingly identical tables, one hand-made by the artisan and the other machine made by XYZ corporation, which one would you expect to have the higher price tag?



Thomas

Vaughn
30-Mar-2012, 10:25
...Some of you may not have been around long enough to actually experience the fight for recognition of photography as an art form. It was still going strong (though waining) when I was an undergraduate at UNM in the 60's. The exact same arguments expressed now about digital processes were then aimed at analogue photography by painters, stone lithographers etc.-"Photography is not art. It is machine made" I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that in my youth. Fortunately that ship sailed along time ago and fell off the edge of the known flat world...

Sorry, Kirk, but that ship is still plunging ahead at full steam. Perhaps not labeled as non-art, but as a lesser art and when budgets are cut, or more space in limited facilities is wanted by the painting instructors, the photo programs, along with print-making (seriography, lithography, etc) are looked at as non-essential and disposable. Humboldt State established the third photo program in the USA that was under a Department of Art. Yet even with that history, when the art historians and painters take over the department, traditional photography and printmaking are treated as an undesirable friend of a unknown relative.

Kirk Gittings
30-Mar-2012, 10:28
Vaughn, My view may be skewed because at the universities where I went to school and teach photography is king.

Kirk Gittings
30-Mar-2012, 10:30
2 of top 3 most expensive photographs of all time (Gursky) are "machine made prints" scanned film, digitally exposed C-prints run through a processor. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_photographs

or inkjet prints for a paltry 300-500k apiece-Eggelston's inkjet prints http://www.petapixel.com/2012/03/14/william-eggleston-digital-pigment-prints-fetch-5-9-million-at-auction/


Then answer the question:

If you went into, say, a furniture store and there were two seemingly identical tables, one hand-made by the artisan and the other machine made by XYZ corporation, which one would you expect to have the higher price tag?



Thomas

Greg Lockrey
30-Mar-2012, 10:33
Sorry, Kirk, but that ship is still plunging ahead at full steam. Perhaps not labeled as non-art, but as a lesser art and when budgets are cut, or more space in limited facilities is wanted by the painting instructors, the photo programs, along with print-making (seriography, lithography, etc) are looked at as non-essential and disposable. Humboldt State established the third photo program in the USA that was under a Department of Art. Yet even with that history, when the art historians and painters take over the department, traditional photography and printmaking are treated as an undesirable friend of a unknown relative.


Vaughn, My view may be skewed because at the universities where I went to school and teach photography is king.
At Bowling Green State University in Ohio where I went, photography is part of the "Digital Art" program which includes Visual Communications and Fine Art.

Old-N-Feeble
30-Mar-2012, 10:33
Sorry if this has been addressed before but...

Don't many great sculptors cast bronzes from their originals? Don't those bronzes bring in lots of revenue? Don't painters have machine prints made of their orginals and sign limited edition copies for a healthy profit? It seems that singly-printed digital prints would fall somewhere in that duplication-of-the-original realm. Sure, wet prints will always be more hands-on and likely will fetch higher prices. But... are those wet prints originals? No, not in my opinion. The film images are the originals. Wet prints are still "duplications" of those originals... they're just more closely handled by the "artist".

tgtaylor
30-Mar-2012, 10:40
What? Cat's got the collective tongue? Well I pose an "easier" one to consider:

If you went into, say, an art gallery and there were two seemingly identical photographic prints, one hand-made in the darkroom by the artisan and the other machine made by an inkjet printer, which one would you expect to have the higher price tag?

Thomas

Greg Lockrey
30-Mar-2012, 10:46
What? Cat's got the collective tongue? Well I pose an "easier" one to consider:

If you went into, say, an art gallery and there were two seemingly identical photographic prints, one hand-made in the darkroom by the artisan and the other machine made by an inkjet printer, which one would you expect to have the higher price tag?

Thomas

Which one will have the higher profit margin? If it's color, inkjet will probably sell first all things considered equally. B&W hand made has a slightly better appearance, but inkjets are catching up. What can be tolerated in a color wet print because of limitations imposed by color of light/film and processing chemicals and temperature will NEVER be tolerated with an inkjet and digital image that can be color controlled and corrected not to mention in getting down to the pixel in making spot corrections. (Inkjets only look easy because they can be taken so far.)

Greg Miller
30-Mar-2012, 10:46
Then answer the question:

If you went into, say, a furniture store and there were two seemingly identical tables, one hand-made by the artisan and the other machine made by XYZ corporation, which one would you expect to have the higher price tag?

Thomas

Your question does not accurately describe the photographic situation. you could also ask about tables hand made from a blue print by anonymous workers at xyz corp. Vs. tables made by an artisan using tools that allow for repeatability of results.

A more accurate question migh compare 10 wet prints in a series made by artisan A vs. 10 inkjet prints in a series made by artisan B.
the value of those prints is more about the vision, design, and execution of the artisan than the tools used to make the print.

Drew Wiley
30-Mar-2012, 10:57
Kirk it really depends. I think those Gurskyesque sales are really about conspicuous consumption and don't apply to us mortals. I've talked to gallery owners who themselves
didn't have a clue about technique or archival issues, and maybe their clients didn't either.
By contrast, virtually every single print I've personally ever sold was to someone fairly well
educated in this respect, and technique, uniqueness, and permanence were all important
issues to them. But many of my own prints are one of a kind, and many of the client have
either been photographers themselves or people who had a long track record of buying from well known traditional West Coast printmakers. I've never sold a print to a tourist,
and they probably wouldn't care much for my style anyway. It's a complicated question
overall with many niche possibilites - one just plays in the niche they wish to.

Kirk Gittings
30-Mar-2012, 10:59
And collect-ability. I sell 16x20 inkjet prints for $850. The guy hanging on the wall next to me with silver prints may not be as collectable and sell for allot less regardless of vision or craft issues.


Your question does not accurately describe the photographic situation. you could also ask about tables hand made from a blue print by anonymous workers at xyz corp. Vs. tables made by an artisan using tools that allow for repeatability of results.

A more accurate question migh compare 10 wet prints in a series made by artisan A vs. 10 inkjet prints in a series made by artisan B.
the value of those prints is more about the vision, design, and execution of the artisan than the tools used to make the print.

Greg Miller
30-Mar-2012, 11:04
No need to get snippy.

I personally would not care. I just want a well executed print that moves. truthfully i would take the inkjet because i know it matches the artist's vision. a wet print in a series might be the one that the artist liked least of the bunch.

(this was in reply to post71, not kirk).

Drew Wiley
30-Mar-2012, 11:05
Indeed Ken. But supply and demand kick in once an image or artist becomes particularly well known. Just before AA passed away you could just walk in some place and purchase a nice 16X20 Moonrise for 16K. Then he passed and a couple auction houses bagged around
40K for the same thing. But he made something like 350 prints of this. So at that point,
a number of folks owning this image started salivating, and a whole bunch of them came
onto the market at the same time. I think the typical priced dropped down to about 7K.
Has obviously climbed back up to a certain extent. But in the long run, value is related to
quantity. But I do get a kick when photographers start numbering editions of things they're
lucky to sell a single print of.

tgtaylor
30-Mar-2012, 11:10
You guys are dancing all around it without directly answering the question. What's the matter? Are you afraid of admitting that the individual work of the craftsman is worth more than the craftsman’s machine output of the same piece?

Kirk: WikiPedia identifies both Gursky prints as Chromogenic C-Prints, which implies that they were created in the traditional darkroom. Suppose, though, Gursky did himself create a traditional darkroom print of the same image. Which one would you suppose to have the greater value: the darkroom version created by Gursky or the “machine made print” in your statement? If you were the buyer, which one would you buy (price not a consideration).

Thomas

Kirk Gittings
30-Mar-2012, 11:35
Thomas, C prints can be done in a wet darkroom or they can be digitally exposed and run through a processor (like the Chromira process). I believe from an article I read a couple of years ago that Gursky's large prints (which those referred to are), are printed from scanned 8x10 film exposed digitally and run through a processor.

Thomas I buy images first and foremost, but all things being equal, same artist, same image, same quality I would always buy the more archival print regardless of the method of processing. If the choice was between a C print and an inkjet. I would buy the inkjet (more archival depending on ink and paper). If it were between a C print hand dipped or from a processor I would likely buy the processor print. Having printed C prints myself for 25 years, I think a processor C print, properly maintained, timed- etc. is more stable-less chance of cross contamination. Between a machine silver print and a hand done archival processed silver print>the hand done because AFAIK there are no silver print machines that are set up archival process silver prints (two fixers hypo clear proper washing etc.).

Drew Wiley
30-Mar-2012, 11:37
Tom - an analogy - perhaps the most infamous painter at the moment - Hirst the polka dot
man, who allegedly made 22 million in sales in a single day - claims his machine made wall
panels are far better than his hand-painted ones. But the latter sell for a much higher prices. I'm admittedly a darkroom guy, and like Stieglitz, only think there is one best of any
print. Later on I might learn to print it better, but the idea of making one print after another just the same not only fails to interest me, I just don't think I could do it. In fact,
I'll tweak each version with a little different time, or dodging, or toning. After they are all
dry I'll select one as best, another to sell, and most likely throw away the rest. There's
often just a little extra magic or spice or whatever separating a good print from a great one. Maybe most people wouldn't even notice; but it does matter to me.

bob carnie
30-Mar-2012, 11:40
I am not sure of this but I think that a 72 inch lambda device is used to create his prints. I will check on this. This would require scan and PS work.

I do know about making 72 inch x longer c prints off an enlarger,as I have done them myself , there are very few labs in the world with C print capability at this size.



You guys are dancing all around it without directly answering the question. What's the matter? Are you afraid of admitting that the individual work of the craftsman is worth more than the craftsman’s machine output of the same piece?

Kirk: WikiPedia identifies both Gursky prints as Chromogenic C-Prints, which implies that they were created in the traditional darkroom. Suppose, though, Gursky did himself create a traditional darkroom print of the same image. Which one would you suppose to have the greater value: the darkroom version created by Gursky or the “machine made print” in your statement? If you were the buyer, which one would you buy (price not a consideration).

Thomas

Drew Wiley
30-Mar-2012, 11:42
Kirk - from an archival standpoint, a C-print done from fresh one-shot chemistry done in a
drum and thorougly washed afterwards would probably be the best. I wash my prints about
three times as long as one run through a roller processor, with six changes of water. But
any C-print is going to eventually succumb to yellowing from residual couplers. I don't have
a problem with that, because I don't know how anyone could stand to look at the same
thing on a wall anyway for fifty years. For archival nitpickers and portfolio boxes in the dark, there are better choices.

Drew Wiley
30-Mar-2012, 11:46
Bob - I know folks who could easily do this optically, and did so for years. The paper is the
same, the roller presses for mounting are the same. But the market has changed. Most big
prints went to store displays, and they're going to switch out things every few months.
C-prints are much cheaper to make per materials than inkjet, but most retailers really don't
give a damn about the quality.

Kirk Gittings
30-Mar-2012, 11:46
Drew you may be right when talking about a careful worker. I just know from watching students work the opposite is true. :)

bob carnie
30-Mar-2012, 11:49
Metro Imaging in London can do 72 inch paper prints Kodak product.. others are out there.

I am not sure of this but I think that a 72 inch lambda device is used to create his prints. I will check on this. This would require scan and PS work.

I do know about making 72 inch x longer c prints off an enlarger,as I have done them myself , there are very few labs in the world with C print capability at this size.

Brian Ellis
30-Mar-2012, 11:52
Nobody is dancing around anything. You're simply wrong in your notion that a digital print is made by a machine except in the most literal sense (and in that most literal sense, a darkroom print is also made in a machine). Since your basic premise is wrong everything that follows from it is also wrong.


You guys are dancing all around it without directly answering the question. What's the matter? Are you afraid of admitting that the individual work of the craftsman is worth more than the craftsman’s machine output of the same piece?

Kirk: WikiPedia identifies both Gursky prints as Chromogenic C-Prints, which implies that they were created in the traditional darkroom. Suppose, though, Gursky did himself create a traditional darkroom print of the same image. Which one would you suppose to have the greater value: the darkroom version created by Gursky or the “machine made print” in your statement? If you were the buyer, which one would you buy (price not a consideration).

Thomas

Drew Wiley
30-Mar-2012, 11:54
Gosh Kirk - I'd panic if one of my cats snuck into the darkroom. Students will eat things a
cat would never touch. The four former labs in this area which could do really big C-prints
were meticulous about running process control strips thru their processor daily and keeping
the replenishment exact. I could take over their mothballed gear if I wanted to, but really don't like my own work enlarged bigger than 4X. And I also really want to gear down in
anticipation for retirement. A 30x40 print is plenty big for my occasional clients. But the
best Kreonite or Hope processor in the world isn't any good if the party which inherits it
doesn't have some analogous level of process control, or uses out-of-date chemistry.
But wheter a formal lab or an individual, one is ultimately reliant upon their personal integrity.

Oren Grad
30-Mar-2012, 12:32
You guys are dancing all around it without directly answering the question. What's the matter? Are you afraid of admitting that the individual work of the craftsman is worth more than the craftsman’s machine output of the same piece?

There's nothing to "admit", because as a universal rule it's not true.

If the items are truly identical, then no, I won't pay more just because it's hand-made. If they're not identical, I'll decide on a case-by-case basis whether the distinctive attributes of the hand-made version make it worth more or less to me, or don't make any difference. Other people will make different decisions.

tgtaylor
30-Mar-2012, 12:34
HaHaHa, consider Rembrandt being brought back to life via DNA cloning (which may, all jokes aside, be possible in the not too distant future). He paints a masterpiece which he scans and prints on an ink-jet and then puts both up for auction. Which one do you think will command the higher market price?

Now Ansel Adams is also brought back via DNA cloning, makes another darkroom masterpiece which he also scans and makes an ink-jet copy of and puts both up for auction. Which one do you think will command the higher market price?

Now let's take you! You create a darkroom masterpiece, scan it and make an ink-jet copy. Like Rembrandt and Ansel you also put yours up for auction. Which one do you think will command the higher market price. Suppose instead that you put both up for sale in your studio gallery. Which one are you going to price the higher or are you going to price both identical?

Thomas

Oren Grad
30-Mar-2012, 12:42
HaHaHa, consider Rembrandt being brought back to life via DNA cloning (which may, all jokes aside, be possible in the not too distant future). He paints a masterpiece which he scans and prints on an ink-jet and then puts both up for auction. Which one do you think will command the higher market price?

Now Ansel Adams is also brought back via DNA cloning, makes another darkroom masterpiece which he also scans and makes an ink-jet copy of and puts both up for auction. Which one do you think will command the higher market price?

Now let's take you! You create a darkroom masterpiece, scan it and make an ink-jet copy. Like Rembrandt and Ansel you also put yours up for auction. Which one do you think will command the higher market price. Suppose instead that you put both up for sale in your studion gallery. Which one are you going to price the higher or are you going to price both identical?

Thomas

You're conflating two different questions. Inkjets have neither the same look-and-feel nor the same stability characteristics as silver prints or as paintings. One might prefer one or the other for reasons that have nothing to do with machine- vs hand-made.

Let's make the hypothetical more precise. Suppose Ansel had a mad-tinkerer friend who built for him a darkroom robot which did the drudge work of shoving the paper under the enlarger, doing the dodging and burning, and stuffing the paper into the processing trays. Assume that the resulting prints are literally identical to - indistinguishable from - those that Ansel made the hard way. Assume also that he signed both of them, indicating that he considers both to be valid expressions of his creative intent.

Would I pay more for the non-robotic one? No.

Vaughn
30-Mar-2012, 12:52
...Now Ansel Adams is also brought back via DNA cloning, makes another darkroom masterpiece which he also scans and makes an ink-jet copy of and puts both up for auction. Which one do you think will command the higher market price?Thomas

Actually, besides the cloning part, the AA Gallery is doing this and selling them at the gallery, and yes, of course they sell for considerably less than the original printed-by-AA prints. For a matted 16x20, unframed, is $480. They are very well done. I think about $130 for an 8x10.

Greg Miller
30-Mar-2012, 12:53
HaHaHa, consider Rembrandt being brought back to life via DNA cloning (which may, all jokes aside, be possible in the not too distant future). He paints a masterpiece which he scans and prints on an ink-jet and then puts both up for auction. Which one do you think will command the higher market price?

Now Ansel Adams is also brought back via DNA cloning, makes another darkroom masterpiece which he also scans and makes an ink-jet copy of and puts both up for auction. Which one do you think will command the higher market price?

Now let's take you! You create a darkroom masterpiece, scan it and make an ink-jet copy. Like Rembrandt and Ansel you also put yours up for auction. Which one do you think will command the higher market price. Suppose instead that you put both up for sale in your studio gallery. Which one are you going to price the higher or are you going to price both identical?

Thomas

More false premises. A scan of an original is a reproduction, and therefore probably has less value. Scanning a negative and creating an original print digitally would be an original.

You apparently feel that darkroom skills have more value than Photoshop skills. Which is perfectly fine, but doesn't make it a universal truth.

Drew Wiley
30-Mar-2012, 13:15
Oren - Ansel did have drone/robots running around mass producing his work, and those
prints still aren't worth much, even though those particular students eventually became
very respected photographers in their own right. My brother remebers when ten darkroom
prints sold for forty bucks at Best Gallery in Yosemite. They were made to Ansel's specifications. But the value versus a print he made with his own hands is overwhelmingly
different today. Same goes for a contact print made by Edward Weston and one made by
his son Cole, even though it might be difficult to even visually tell them apart.

Old-N-Feeble
30-Mar-2012, 13:24
IIRC, AA often had interns print his images for resale. How does this affect silver-based print value of his work? Didn't many of the greatest classical painters had their students replicate much of their work for resale?

Yeah, all other things being equal, I think hand-made prints should be and are usually more valuable if, for no other reason, the extra time involved. But, again, hand-made wet process silver-based (or platinum or whatever) prints are still NOT the original artwort. The film image is. I doubt anyone here would sell their one-of-a-kind film image, one which has an expected potential to make $10K in print sales, hand-made or inkjet, for less than those total sales and would probably probably want even more than that $10K. So... let's say any type of REPRODUCION (print) of that film images is worth $500. The ORIGINAL film image is worth $10K++.

Inkjet or silver/platinum/palladium... all reproductions of the original artwork.

Oren Grad
30-Mar-2012, 13:28
Oren - Ansel did have drone/robots running around mass producing his work, and those
prints still aren't worth much, even though those particular students eventually became
very respected photographers in their own right. My brother remebers when ten darkroom
prints sold for forty bucks at Best Gallery in Yosemite. They were made to Ansel's specifications. But the value versus a print he made with his own hands is overwhelmingly
different today.

Were they signed and sold identically as Ansel's own prints?


Same goes for a contact print made by Edward Weston and one made by
his son Cole, even though it might be difficult to even visually tell them apart.

These are signed "Edward printed by Cole", or something to that effect, no?

Oren Grad
30-Mar-2012, 13:32
Yeah, all other things being equal, I think hand-made prints should be and are usually more valuable if, for no other reason, the extra time involved.

I.e., the more inefficient the production process, the more the product is worth. It's not hard to carry this to a reductio ad absurdum.

tgtaylor
30-Mar-2012, 13:36
More false premises. A scan of an original is a reproduction, and therefore probably has less value. Scanning a negative and creating an original print digitally would be an original.

You apparently feel that darkroom skills have more value than Photoshop skills. Which is perfectly fine, but doesn't make it a universal truth.

Greg,

Rembrandt doesn't do negatives. As far a negatives are concerned see the post by Vaughn and Drew above. Finally, please note that I am not drawing a distinction between the different skill sets - both are valuable - but I do place a higher value on human time as compared to machine time to which I think most of the general public (i.e., the market place) would agree. Again, and taking the table analogy above, if you posed that very same question to the general public most would say that they would expect to pay more for the hand-made table. Many of the respondents here would seem to disagree and dismiss the time it takes an artists to hand produce a work, whether in the darkroom or studio, and deny any resulting increased valuation/desirability of the work resulting therefrom. I disagree. Photography seems unique among the arts for such self-denial.

Thomas

Old-N-Feeble
30-Mar-2012, 13:36
Oren... you took one tiny part of my post to make an argument with. Not to worry... I missed others' posts too resulting in me simply repeating others' observations, e.g., AA's "robot printers".

Drew Wiley
30-Mar-2012, 13:40
Even in Old Masters paintings, the role of the apprentice would be to grind pigments, maybe put a base layer, etc. Big fights go on about these things among art sleuths. It
can made tens of millions of dollars difference whether #1 or one of his assistants actually did the topcoat. With a name-brand silver print, it might make thousands of dollars of difference. But as far as the notion of the film itself equalling the "original" - nonsense.
There are endless ways to print a neg or chrome, and until that point, the image on the
film is inert. I certainly wouldn't want anyone else printing my own shots. When you get
the neg or chrome developed, the work just begins, if it's worthy of a print at all.

Oren Grad
30-Mar-2012, 13:41
Oren... you took one tiny part of my post to make an argument with. Not to worry... I missed others' posts too resulting in me simply repeating others' observations, e.g., AA's "robot printers".

I disagree with the rest of your post too. I just chose not to grind that particular axe right now. :)

Drew Wiley
30-Mar-2012, 13:43
Oren - yes the prints would have to be annotated or signed differently. There are laws in
some states stipulating that kind of thing, as well as what constitutes an orginal print or
an edition. Otherwise, fraud enters into the definition, no matter how good the image looks, or how closely it mimics a vintage print. But that doesn't seem to stop plenty of
tourist galleries from committing fraud, and sometimes getting indicted.

Old-N-Feeble
30-Mar-2012, 13:46
Drew... I understand your point and must admit that you're right... to a degree. However, the film image is still the original basis for the final print and, more often than not, there's essentially a 1:1 correlation between (film image : print image).

Oren Grad
30-Mar-2012, 13:50
Oren - yes the prints would have to be annotated or signed differently. There are laws in
some states stipulating that kind of thing, as well as what constitutes an orginal print or
an edition. Otherwise, fraud enters into the definition, no matter how good the image looks, or how closely it mimics a vintage print. But that doesn't seem to stop plenty of
tourist galleries from committing fraud, and sometimes getting indicted.

Fine. Once again it means that the comparison is contaminated by a separate issue. In my hypothetical, specifying that Ansel signed and blessed both products is intended to remove from the equation everything but the question of machine-made vs hand-made.

Oren Grad
30-Mar-2012, 13:52
...more often than not, there's essentially a 1:1 correlation between (film image : print image).

I don't understand what you mean by this.

tgtaylor
30-Mar-2012, 13:53
Oren has probably never encountered the handiwork of a true artisan to appreciate the difference between that and the mass produced. He, like some of the other respondents, would benefit by visiting galleries and museums where such works are displayed.

BTW, you can buy an Andy Warhol mass produced knock-off for realtively little money. But the original artwork is going to cost you big time!

Thomas

bob carnie
30-Mar-2012, 13:59
This thread is starting to sound like the old ... the print made by the photographer is better than one made by others...

I know that I have a lot of images hanging on my wall that I printed that I would never hang if I let the photographer print it...

tgtaylor
30-Mar-2012, 14:02
Don't get paranoid Bob.

Oren Grad
30-Mar-2012, 14:02
Oren has probably never encountered the handiwork of a true artisan to appreciate the difference between that and the mass produced. He, like some of the other respondents, would benefit by visiting galleries and museums where such works are displayed.

Huh? I've spent many an hour in museums and galleries, grain-sniffing original prints, most recently a couple of weekends ago. (Atget at the MOMA was wonderful.*) And since you asked, I've done the same in shops that sell high-end, hand-made, so-called artisan furniture, too.

*PS: the Atget show included both vintage POP and albumen prints as well as albumen prints made later from the original plates by Chicago Albumen Works. Re the vintage prints, I have no idea whether Atget made his own. They were all wonderful.

Old-N-Feeble
30-Mar-2012, 14:06
...more often than not, there's essentially a 1:1 correlation between (film image : print image).


I don't understand what you mean by this.

What I mean is that most folks aren't doing extreme artsy stuff such that the final print only resembles the original film image... although I do realize that some are. What I'm trying to convey is that, other than basic contrast control and burning/dodging most prints from film images are virtual copies of the original film image. So, to a large degree, the prints are just copies of the original... albeit they're subtly or sometimes more-than-subtly improved. Think about it for a moment. Who here would sell their one-of-a-kind film image for the same price as they'd sell one of the (limitless quantiy?) prints made from it?

tgtaylor
30-Mar-2012, 14:06
Then you know that you will pay far more for that table "...in shops that sell high-end, hand-made, so-called artisan furniture..." than you will at Ikea.

Thomas

Drew Wiley
30-Mar-2012, 14:07
The correlation with high end woodworking or furniture is a valid one, and I understand this
too because I supply that trade. An incredible well made intricate piece done exclusively
with hand tools by an unknown artisan might sell for considerably less than it cost to make.
A designer piece made with hundreds of thousand of dollars of automated equipment in a
shop with a high reputation might itself sell for tens of thousands. A one-of-a-kind piece
by a famous woodworker is likely to sell for way more than something he had mass produced, but it all depends on the specific design and its current popularity. In other words, there is no just one relevant pattern to this, but several. I play by my own rules,
but if I was a gallery operator, I would certainly want to understand the foibles of the
crowd I was marketing to.

tgtaylor
30-Mar-2012, 14:14
An incredible well made intricate piece done exclusively
with hand tools by an unknown artisan might sell for considerably less than it cost to make.


Highly unlikely unless the poor fellow was truly starving and had no other recourse. Like anything else, hand made true works of art cost more. Except in Photography where the artists has indoctrined the buyers that the machine is just as good as the hand - even better!

Thomas

Oren Grad
30-Mar-2012, 14:14
Then you know that you will pay far more for that table "...in shops that sell high-end, hand-made, so-called artisan furniture..." than you will at Ikea.

Not if they're identical with a machine-made version, I won't. In fact, though, Ikea isn't selling identical products whose only difference is that they're machine made. You keep setting up straw-man comparisons that don't actually support the point you're trying to make.

Rudgey
30-Mar-2012, 14:15
Well thanks for the lively discussion to my post folks, it looks like I have created a monster!
I think this could go on forever.
Lets stop now and start making great work on Silver or Ink.

Greg Miller
30-Mar-2012, 14:16
Greg,

Rembrandt doesn't do negatives. As far a negatives are concerned see the post by Vaughn and Drew above.

You utilized a scan of a painting and a scan of print for valuation compared tot he original painting and an original wet print to make a point about valuing an inkjet print. Who makes scans of originals and then tries to sell them for the same price as the original? It is difficult to make a logical argument based on a premise that nobody would do.

My reference of scanning a negative was to point out what people actually commonly do.

tgtaylor
30-Mar-2012, 14:17
Silver for me!

Thomas

Oren Grad
30-Mar-2012, 14:19
This never ending debate over how one process is superior over the other is tiresome. Find a process that works for you. Love your process, and let others love theirs.

+1


Lets stop now and start making great work on Silver or Ink.

+1

tgtaylor
30-Mar-2012, 14:24
You utilized a scan of a painting and a scan of print for valuation compared tot he original painting and an original wet print to make a point about valuing an inkjet print. Who makes scans of originals and then tries to sell them for the same price as the original? It is difficult to make a logical argument based on a premise that nobody would do.

My reference of scanning a negative was to point out what people actually commonly do.

I was trying to point out that the market price for a painting by a famous painter who, like some photographers,also produce off sets of the original work, is always much higher than the offset.

Thomas

tgtaylor
30-Mar-2012, 14:35
Silver for me!

Thomas

More particularly the Kallitype II process. I mixed sentizers A & B on Tuesday and they should be "ripe" by now and ready to go. I have the paper, new Hake brush, the "right" negative, and everything else.

Thomas

Lenny Eiger
30-Mar-2012, 15:29
I read this whole thread with disgust. Oren's post, two or three before this one is the only intelligent comment that can be made. Where's that beating the dead horse image?

I spent lots of years in the darkroom. I spent lots of years doing platinum. I recently spent a decade perfecting my ink set and my skills for inkjet. Personally, I don't think much of silver prints. I don't think they can hold a candle to any alternative process print or a good inkjet print. I don't think much of digital capture, either. But way more than those opinions is the one that I am so very sick of talking about it. All the same people espouse all the same opinions. Over and over again.

Everyone should just do what they want to.

I would like to suggest a new forum rule, that when a moderator sees a comparison of film vs digital or darkroom printing vs inkjet, that they stop the thread.


Lenny

Drew Wiley
30-Mar-2012, 15:33
Yet you did put in your two cents worth, Lenny. So we've got at least one vote for inkjet.
But my gosh ... what's the point of a forum without a good food fight from time to time?

Ken Lee
30-Mar-2012, 15:42
http://www.kenleegallery.com/images/forum/deadhorse.gif

I think you mean... this one :cool:

I like the idea of banning discussions on digital versus analog.

Drew Wiley
30-Mar-2012, 15:51
You can't use that particular dead horse, Ken. It's hybrid - a traditional lithographic image
with the moving stick digitized. I think you're supposed to use yet another thread once
hybrid gets added to the mix.

Ken Lee
30-Mar-2012, 16:10
Yes, but he's beating the horse "by hand", isn't he ?

Seriously, they say that there are no dumb questions. If people have the patience to answer, then more power to them.

We always can choose to ignore such threads.

Old-N-Feeble
30-Mar-2012, 16:14
So now we're thinking of censorship because some are tired of or disagree with certain reasonings? I don't own this forum but I'm here because I like the discussions and the information. When information is limited to a few opinions or when unreasonable censorship is induced then forums shrink. Maybe that would be better for the moderators anyway. I do recognize what a tough job they have. Still... censorship?

We're smack-dab in the middle of a revolution: digital vs. analog. And you think all discussions on the topic should end? Really? Okay... it's a revolution. Choose your side and covertly fight to the death. But don't dare speak your opinion lest it fall on the wrong ears.

MODS: The above is tongue-in-cheek. Mostly...

Greg Y
30-Mar-2012, 16:15
"I would like to suggest a new forum rule, that when a moderator sees a comparison of film vs digital or darkroom printing vs inkjet, that they stop the thread" ? Really Lenny?

I like to remember this: "Just because you have silenced a man, doesn't mean you have converted him"... :)

Gem Singer
30-Mar-2012, 16:24
To add a PS to Greg Y's post:

"Just because you argued a man down, doesn't necessarily mean that you won the argument".

Here's another vote for the inkjet print.

emh
30-Mar-2012, 16:37
Unsurprisingly, everyone extols the method they've chosen to produce their images as "the best". Neither is superior, or inferior, if one takes the time to master their tools. The important thing is to do the finest job you can with the method you've chosen.
I prefer the work I produce in the darkroom because I LOVE being in the darkroom (well... OK, processing film... not so much). I dislike sitting at a computer, so PS is not my cup of tea, and any work I produce on a computer will have to be inferior, as I don't have the requisite passion for producing it.
Regardless of how you produce your work, be passionate about it, and give it your all. All of these superior/inferior arguments are just personal justifications for the choices we've each made...

Frank Petronio
30-Mar-2012, 16:45
Wasn't all this hand-made versus machine-made debated to death 100-plus years ago too? All those unemployed painters put out of work by those mechanical devil photographers with their plates and emulsions and chemicals... all those fine art galleries not accepting photography until "modern" times....

Vaughn
30-Mar-2012, 16:46
I read this whole thread with disgust. Oren's post, two or three before this one is the only intelligent comment that can be made...
Lenny

Dang, I thought I was making well-thought out and intelligent posts without every saying that either media is better than the other.

Back into the cellar for me...:o

Old-N-Feeble
30-Mar-2012, 16:54
Wasn't all this hand-made versus machine-made debated to death 100-plus years ago too? All those unemployed painters put out of work by those mechanical devil photographers with their plates and emulsions and chemicals... all those fine art galleries not accepting photography until "modern" times....

No... that debate did not end. The bitter debates of any topic never end. Throughout the ages arguments never change. Only the tiniest (insignificant) parts of the overall ideals change... not the broad (important) ideals themselves. We will always fight over the small stuff and will constantly be in battle of old vs. new. We are human beings and, as such, have closed minds. We limit ourselves to what we've been taught and what we see two inches in front of our noses.

Unless we can, as individuals, STFU and listen... and open our eyes and see, then we're all deaf and blind to reason. I, for one, battle that limitation constantly. Try as I might, I can't always STFU and open my eyes. Perhaps this is one of those times but my tiny mind isn't telling me so.

Old-N-Feeble
30-Mar-2012, 17:09
Okay... I think I need to stop posting tonight. Every time I begin to think I'm being philosophical I make a complete fool of myself. Goodnight to you all and may God speed...

Barry Kirsten
31-Mar-2012, 01:34
By all means, David, do work with that method which is practical for you. Although I don't particarly care for setting up the trays, cleaning them when through, and drying the RC prints with a hand dryer or setting up the screens for the fiber, the silver print is the most practical method for me since I am currently a better silver printer than digital printer.

But lets face it: How many images are you really going to print regardless of the method? True if you are an accomplished software jockey you can probably work thru a successful print quicker than in the darkroom but the savings in time shouldn't be all that great as it takes the printer time to print the negative just as it takes 3 to 3.5 minutes to process an RC or Fiber print. You have to dry the wet print – about another 2 or 3 minutes with a hand dryer for RC but you have to wait for the ink to stabilize too (Epson says to wait at least 15 minutes before touching the print). The real savings in time comes when you need to print several copies of the same image. With digital you simply tell the printer to print x copies and can walk off; with wet prints you must print each one personally which, if you made careful notes of how you arrived at the final working proof, is simple but monotonous. You're just a machine at that point. You can't just walk away from it at that point like you can with digital. But how often do you do that?

Perhaps more compelling is the need to work with hazardous chemicals in the wet darkroom – the “fume room” so many have complained of. Using a citric acid stop bath and TF-5 for a fix I have eliminated practically all the fumes except from the Dektol which in my case is minimal as I process the paper in a separate room which is ventilated by an exhaust fan. I'm only in there 3 or 3.5 minutes at a time depending on the paper I'm printing on.

Finally I find silver printing more straight-forward and intuitive than digital printing where it is necessary to master the software which has the tendency to change. For example a certain keystroke on PS Version X may not produce the same result on Version Y with printer Z.

This thread has taken off like a fire, and I haven't finished reading it yet. I'd just like to comment that Thomas's work speaks for itself, regardless of the debate about which process is better. It's all about the end result in my opinion, method doesn't really enter into it.

welly
31-Mar-2012, 06:33
I read this whole thread with disgust. Oren's post, two or three before this one is the only intelligent comment that can be made. Where's that beating the dead horse image?


http://edge.ebaumsworld.com/picture/Rizzor/beatingadeadhorse.gif

LF_rookie_to_be
31-Mar-2012, 08:25
You apparently feel that darkroom skills have more value than Photoshop skills. Which is perfectly fine, but doesn't make it a universal truth.

My drawing and painting skills bought me a used Mac with Adobe software. Later my Photoshop skills earned me most of the cash to buy the equipment for my darkroom and pay the rent for it. I spent countless hours there so far and managed to make a few good 36x50" C-prints in a drainage pipe, 20x24" FB prints in trays and develop C-41 4x5" sheets.

Vaughn
31-Mar-2012, 08:29
...It's all about the end result in my opinion, method doesn't really enter into it.

I am one of those -- "Its all about the journey." types -- so how I get there is as important as what is there at the end of the journey.

In other words, the process I use to make a print is as important as the print itself...from loading the film holders to framing the print. And this journey is just a side trip on the larger journey I make through life.

But I certainly do not expect others to make the same journey as I do -- and their journey is equally as important, and valid, as mine.

sully75
31-Mar-2012, 08:56
You guys are dancing all around it without directly answering the question. What's the matter? Are you afraid of admitting that the individual work of the craftsman is worth more than the craftsman’s machine output of the same piece?

Kirk: WikiPedia identifies both Gursky prints as Chromogenic C-Prints, which implies that they were created in the traditional darkroom. Suppose, though, Gursky did himself create a traditional darkroom print of the same image. Which one would you suppose to have the greater value: the darkroom version created by Gursky or the “machine made print” in your statement? If you were the buyer, which one would you buy (price not a consideration).

Thomas

I think people are not responding to you because you are being annoying and seem utterly convinced that you are correct. So it's not interesting and not really a conversation.

Personally images are important to me. There are photographers far greater than myself who use digital cameras and print digitally and do an amazing job of it. I'd be happy to have one of their prints. I also see a lot of crappy silver work, and people who seem to justify their existence based on the fact that they think they are doing something "pure". Anyway, whatever works. I want some emotional response to a photograph (or film/video/music/conversation/etc). I don't really care what form it comes in. I use the LF camera because I find that the working method has helped me make better pictures and I've learned a lot through the process. I print digitally because it works for me, my living situation, the amount of time I have, my workflow, etc. If there was to be no more film tomorrow, I'd probably continue to make pictures, with a digital camera, and hopefully I could make some good ones.

Anyway, I think you are flogging a horse here that no one is interested in watching you flog.

Re: Gursky, I know nothing about chromogenic prints, but I believe you can make a Digital C print.

Personally if I were the buyer of a Gursky print (which for the record, I'm not likely to be, although I like him, I'm a little short on dough) I'd probably want the one that struck me a bit more emotionally. I'm guessing that whoever does his printing does a pretty good job, whatever the form, so probably his digital and (if there are any) darkroom prints would both be pretty darn good.

Preston
31-Mar-2012, 09:15
I am one of those -- "Its all about the journey." types -- so how I get there is as important as what is there at the end of the journey.

In other words, the process I use to make a print is as important as the print itself...from loading the film holders to framing the print. And this journey is just a side trip on the larger journey I make through life.

But I certainly do not expect others to make the same journey as I do -- and their journey is equally as important, and valid, as mine.

Vaughn's comment pretty much sums it up for me. I did a lot of traditional B&W developing and printing in the 80's when I had access to a darkroom, and I truly enjoyed the entire process. Today, I print digitally and I enjoy that process, as well. Is one process and result better than the other? I haven't a clue, and it doesn't really matter: I enjoy photography and the work of others regardless of how it was done.

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he marches to the beat of a different drummer" Henry David Thoreau

Make photographs! Have fun!

--P

LF_rookie_to_be
31-Mar-2012, 09:51
Re: Gursky, I know nothing about chromogenic prints, but I believe you can make a Digital C print.

Depends on your definition of "make". You can make a darkroom print of a C-41 negative originating 100% digitally, exposed on an LVT machine or some other type of film recorder. So it's "digital" and a "C-print".


Personally if I were the buyer of a Gursky print (which for the record, I'm not likely to be, although I like him, I'm a little short on dough) I'd probably want the one that struck me a bit more emotionally. I'm guessing that whoever does his printing does a pretty good job, whatever the form, so probably his digital and (if there are any) darkroom prints would both be pretty darn good.

Gursky ran his own colour darkroom until the mid-Eighties. Since around 1988, Grieger in Düsseldorf does all printing for him, and until 1995 or so they were all traditionally enlarged. Afterwards all his prints are exposed on a Lightjet-type machine (the real "digital C-print"). Some consist of two 60x170" sheets, but under ONE piece of acrylic glass. It has to strike you emotionally at least a bit when you see it in person.

But to be honest, a striking B&W FB print is a much more demanding task, creatively and technically.

Brian Ellis
31-Mar-2012, 10:05
HaHaHa . . . Now let's take you! You create a darkroom masterpiece, scan it and make an ink-jet copy. Like Rembrandt and Ansel you also put yours up for auction. Which one do you think will command the higher market price. Suppose instead that you put both up for sale in your studio gallery. Which one are you going to price the higher or are you going to price both identical?

Thomas

A serious photographer making a serious print doesn't "scan it and make an ink jet copy."

HaHaHa - would you sound like less of a fool if you actually knew something about printing digitally?

sully75
31-Mar-2012, 13:55
But to be honest, a striking B&W FB print is a much more demanding task, creatively and technically.

To a large extent, I don't really care how stuff is made. Unless I'm trying to imitate it. I mean, I'm interested in the process that it took to make something, but as far as passing value on how it was made vis a vis the creativity of the maker, that's not that interesting to me.

I've done a lot of woodwork, and have met a lot of people who do it professionally (furniture makers and boatbuilders). It can be financially crushing, and I'd never diminish someone's creativity because they used a power tool over a hand tool.

Lenny Eiger
31-Mar-2012, 15:22
"I would like to suggest a new forum rule, that when a moderator sees a comparison of film vs digital or darkroom printing vs inkjet, that they stop the thread" ? Really Lenny?

Greg,
Yea, after some thought I would stick to my contention.

We don't have to be nasty about it. Moderators can just say the the topic has been discussed at length and there is a difference of opinion, and at this point a matter of religion...

We should also include mac vs pc arguments. And a couple of others...

Lenny

Old-N-Feeble
31-Mar-2012, 15:43
We don't have to be nasty about it. Moderators can just say the the topic has been discussed at length and there is a difference of opinion, and at this point a matter of religion...

We should also include mac vs pc arguments. And a couple of others...

Ooopphh... low-belly punch. But the argument is NEWER than PC vs. MAC... ermm... I think.

OMG... OMG... OMG... OMG... OMG... umm which IS my God?? ME FORGETS!!!!!!

My Precious... He wantses to TAKE THEE from me. We wont's LET Him!!

Jay DeFehr
31-Mar-2012, 17:24
If it's not worth arguing about -- passionately -- it's probably not worth discussing at all.

Old-N-Feeble
31-Mar-2012, 17:26
^^^ My point precisely. :)

All you analog SOB's need to take a short run off a long pier...

All you digital SOB's need to take a long run off a short pier...

Me? I'll just sit here drowning in my sorrows.

tgtaylor
31-Mar-2012, 18:42
Quotes From the Funnies


I spent lots of years in the darkroom. I spent lots of years doing platinum. I recently spent a decade perfecting my ink set and my skills for inkjet. Personally, I don't think much of silver prints. I don't think they can hold a candle to any alternative process print or a good inkjet print. I don't think much of digital capture, either.


A serious photographer making a serious print doesn't "scan it and make an ink jet copy."


To a large extent, I don't really care how stuff is made. Unless I'm trying to imitate it.

Thomas

David Aimone
31-Mar-2012, 18:46
Like both
Do both

:rolleyes:

mdm
31-Mar-2012, 18:53
The difference between a good print and a bad print, is the person doing the printing. I am an expert on making bad carbon transfers, if you want to know how to cock it up, just ask me. No process is best except in one persons hands.

Old-N-Feeble
1-Apr-2012, 08:18
Oops... forgot the smileys after my comments in post #145. I HOPE all understand I was JOKING... well, attempting to anyway. :D

paulr
1-Apr-2012, 08:28
http://edge.ebaumsworld.com/picture/Rizzor/beatingadeadhorse.gif

I really like that this guy's wearing a short sleeved shirt and a tie. Gets the tone just right.

sully75
1-Apr-2012, 20:13
I really like that this guy's wearing a short sleeved shirt and a tie. Gets the tone just right.

I believe that's taken from Office Space where the guy is beating the copier. A genius scene.

Ok maybe not but it's still awesome

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dN3v0drnTdQ&feature=related

That's how I feel about people who argue at length about the superiority of film or digital.

Bill Burk
1-Apr-2012, 23:23
I believe that's taken from Office Space where the guy is beating the copier....That's how I feel about people who argue at length about the superiority of film or digital.

So funny, love the bare hands. I notice that he's not demolishing an enlarger, UV light source or sink.

sanking
2-Apr-2012, 09:39
We don't have to be nasty about it. Moderators can just say the the topic has been discussed at length and there is a difference of opinion, and at this point a matter of religion...

We should also include mac vs pc arguments. And a couple of others...

Lenny

The thread is entitled "Inkjet better than wet prints yet"? Given the fact that better is obviously subjective, and can not be treated without offering an opinion, I am more than a bit surprised that some believe the subject itself should be simply taken off the table. Opinion is constantly evolving about the question of digital versus analog and I personally believe that truncating such threads would result in a very sterile environment.

If one is not interested in such threads they should exercise their right to keep their fingers off the keyboard.

Sandy

Drew Wiley
2-Apr-2012, 11:38
Nobody has gotten hurt by a little Jello splatter. And nobody has thrown rocks, that is, I
haven't seen a single remark critisizing another person's actual work or even their personal
judgment for choosing one media versus another. Logistical decisions are determined both
by inclination and convenience (or lack thereof), and esthetic choices are largely subjective. I like what I like for my own images based on both the above, but my choices certainly might not be the best for the next guy. For one thing, I enjoy darkroom work, so why should I print otherwise? Some people don't like it, or do fine contracting a hired gun
for their printing needs. That's fine too.

evan clarke
2-Apr-2012, 12:17
Problem is that "better" is subjective.. Better for selling? Better for wiping your butt? Better because they make better subject material from what you saw? I see many comments about inkjet prints being easier but to be honest, the easiest thing is not to make prints at all..Just cruise the web and look at pictures, even easier, just roll up and die..Take with a grain of Devil's advocacy..EC

Vaughn
2-Apr-2012, 12:38
I think nothing looks better than a wet print -- then the dang things dry.

Drew Wiley
2-Apr-2012, 12:50
I screwed up a Cibachrome pretty bad once. Was recalibrating for a new batch of paper and the color balance was way way off. Then I printed a very nice one. Threw the first one in the trashcan. A fellow wanted to come over to look at prints. Turns out he was
partially colorblind. After looking at some stuff he was unsatisfied, then spotted this print
in the trash, still unwrinkled. He was thrilled. I mounted and framed it for him, and got paid.
I don't think I ever signed the thing.

Tyler Boley
2-Apr-2012, 14:22
Yes the thread title is totally subjective and no comparison criteria is given, and also worth keeping open for discussion no matter how dogmatic some opinions, because everything is constantly changing. However, the actual original post, despite it's title, does state some criteria. It's impossible to review the entire thread, perhaps the issues have shifted since inception.

regarding "as good neutral prints"... very few silver papers were actually technically neutral, perhaps the question has more to do with attractive hue consistency up and down the scale. Given how hard this was in the early days of inkjet it's a valid question. The answer is in technique for inkjet and your standards. The ABW driver will satisfy many, extremely good profiles with the RGB driver as well, and the next step up is QTR to fine tune hue in different parts of the scale. "Neutral" tends to be an impression, few respond really favorably to technically neutral prints, including in silver. Wider tonal range to me means just that, not density range, and again it's an impression more than anything else. In digital, given good technique, I can get much more tonal range than I could in the darkroom fighting toe and shoulder compression. Whether or not more levels of gray are actually possibler from glorified halftone processes than from light sensitive continuous tone processes, technically, remains hard to test. Given excellent work habits and tools, the "impression" of continuous tone between the 2 is hard for me to differentiate, though the nod does to light sensitive materials for me, only on some days, with some prints, and just barely..
This issue brings in the next step up in ink techique to me, that is multi density mono ink sets, like Cone, they dramatically increase the impression, and the reality, of more differentiated levels of gray.
Regarding links to processing workflow I have none, but tend to process films as I did for the darkroom anyway, minus a touch, and have not had a problem with drum scans. With the flextight it may be wise to under develope a bit, for it's capturable density range.
Tyler

Old-N-Feeble
2-Apr-2012, 14:32
Tyler... Piggy-backing on your "under develop a bit" to keep tones off the curve shoulder comment... When I did B&W a million years ago I overexposed (to keep the shadows above the toe) and underdeveloped (to keep the highlights below the shoulder) then selenium-toned to bring the contrast back up. This was definitely more linear than depending on exposure/development alone. I printed on Gallery #3 to bring contrast back and selenium-toned the prints too. My 2C...

That was a long time ago though and, in future, will rely on color negs with two exposures (one for shadows and one for highlights) and digital workflow. The same could be done with B&W but I need to keep things simple these days.

Tyler Boley
2-Apr-2012, 15:14
Tyler... Piggy-backing on your "under develop a bit" to keep tones off the curve shoulder comment....

actually that was not why I suggested that.. it was more to keep film densities within the Flextight's capture range ability. I doubt shoulder and toe issues relate to scanners, it's just gonna chop something off, or get noisy, if it's capture range ability is exceeded...
But, I do know what you meant.

Kirk Gittings
2-Apr-2012, 15:27
;)
I think nothing looks better than a wet print -- then the dang things dry.

IanG
2-Apr-2012, 15:35
I think nothing looks better than a wet print -- then the dang things dry.


;)

Come on now Vaughan, except when it dries to be one of Thomas Joshua Coopers prints 3 million shades of dark grey and black :D

Ian

Kirk Gittings
2-Apr-2012, 15:49
I love Cooper's prints-he was graduate student when I was an undergraduate at UNM. i used to go to his critiques. VD Coke used to jack him up "photography doesn't need a third generation of b&w landscape photographers". Cooper just kept his mouth shut and did his thing.

Greg Lockrey
2-Apr-2012, 16:32
I think nothing looks better than a wet print -- then the dang things dry.


Yep... but what doesn't look too far off is a gloss laminated ink-jet. It has that "sparkle" too.... ;)

Old-N-Feeble
2-Apr-2012, 16:34
MY dad's inkjet can out-gloss your dad's inkjet.

Jay DeFehr
2-Apr-2012, 16:36
I love Cooper's prints-he was graduate student when I was an undergraduate at UNM. i used to go to his critiques. VD Coke used to jack him up "photography doesn't need a third generation of b&w landscape photographers". Cooper just kept his mouth shut and did his thing.

I'm not sure I'd agree with Coke outright, but I feel photography doesn't need another 1st or second generation of B&W landscape photographers.

erie patsellis
3-Apr-2012, 20:09
Some of you may not have been around long enough to actually experience the fight for recognition of photography as an art form. It was still going strong (though waining) when I was an undergraduate at UNM in the 60's studying with Beaumont Newhall and Van Deuron Coke et al. The exact same arguments expressed now about digital processes were then aimed at analogue photography by painters, stone lithographers etc.-"Photography is not art. It is machine made" I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that in my youth. Fortunately that ship sailed along time ago and fell off the edge of the known flat world.

Sadly, it's still going on, the dept. chair at my school (a painter), doesn't consider photography a valid art form. The better you become at your art, both aesthetically and technically, and the less respect he has. So much so that I failed my BFA review solely based on my chosen media being photography. I don't care about a BA vs. a BFA, but the attitude is still prevalent among many.

Drew Wiley
3-Apr-2012, 20:34
Actually, I think photography would benefit if the word "art" was completely erased from our vocabulary. That way idiots could spend their
money just because they are idiots, with no esthetic justification whatsoever; and "art critics" would have to find legitimate jobs like delivering pizzas. But oh, we'd sure miss all the memorable food fights
the expression inevitably generates. And now we have ink as well as gelatin to toss!

Daniel Stone
3-Apr-2012, 22:58
interesting video on TJC

http://vimeo.com/16311451

-Dan

mdm
4-Apr-2012, 00:32
That was good. I wonder where he went to make the black ones?

Steve Smith
4-Apr-2012, 02:02
Actually, I think photography would benefit if the word "art" was completely erased from our vocabulary.

It would also be good if people stopped confusing art with the medium/craft used to create it.

e.g. Photography is not art but some photographs are. Painting is not art but some paintings are.


Steve.

5063
4-Apr-2012, 08:11
Never will be. Silver will always be more desirable than ink. It's the same with furniture. Solid mahogany will always be better than particle board with a vinyl surface.

Jay DeFehr
4-Apr-2012, 08:26
Never will be. Silver will always be more desirable than ink. It's the same with furniture. Solid mahogany will always be better than particle board with a vinyl surface.

I would take that bet, provided by desirable, you don't mean desirable to you. The furniture analogy isn't very good, either, since some plywood, or even plastic furniture is more generally desirable than some mahogany furniture is, if we go by market value and placement in important collections. Furniture made from exotic hardwoods doesn't have the same cache' it once did, and many ecologically conscious buyers prefer more sustainable materials, and are willing to pay a premium for them.

Kirk Gittings
4-Apr-2012, 08:34
Never will be. Silver will always be more desirable than ink. It's the same with furniture. Solid mahogany will always be better than particle board with a vinyl surface.

Based on materials it is a particularly weak argument. You can do injet prints with pure carbon inks on 100% rag paper-not much different than lithography or gravure.

Vaughn
4-Apr-2012, 08:44
I think nothing looks better than a wet print -- then the dang things dry.

Come on now Vaughan, except when it dries to be one of Thomas Joshua Coopers prints 3 million shades of dark grey and black :D

Ian

I know, I know. Man, do I know. I do not know if I should praise him or blame him for what he did to me. His little dark prints and his teaching gifts continue to influence me some 30 years after he was my teacher and mentor.

Vaughn

Kirk Gittings
4-Apr-2012, 08:50
Vaughn, Where did you study with him? In Scotland?

sanking
4-Apr-2012, 08:55
Based on materials it is a particularly weak argument. You can do injet prints with pure carbon inks on 100% rag paper-not much different than lithography or gravure.

Market value today finds Silver is $31 per gram, gold $1619 per gram, platinum $1514 per gram, palladium $637 per gram. And have you priced pure cocchineal? So if price of materials were the issue we would print with gold, palladium, platinum, or pure cocchineal, not silver.

Sandy

tgtaylor
4-Apr-2012, 09:11
Well they certainly are cheap to make. Not labor intensive either. Just make one, store it in the computer and, when someone wants to purchase it, you just need to hit the print button and out one (or 100!) comes! How easy is that? You don't even need storage: the computer will store zillions of them using not more than a cubic foot of floor space. Cheap!!! But I wouldn't tell your clients how easy and cheap it is if I were you. No sir, I'd tell them how much better they are than the "old" silver process, how you slaved for years (was that 6 that I heard?) to learn to print with the inkjet, how expensive that ink really is...because you sure don't want to go back to the silver process when you have it so easy, do you?

Thomas

Drew Wiley
4-Apr-2012, 09:14
But basically, inkjet paper without any precious metal or gelatin sells for as much or more as what we traditionally pay for papers with them. It's an obscenely profitable commodity.
But that's a comment about corporate marketing and has nothing to do with quality per se.
The furniture comments are ludicrous. I know guys making retro Formica 50's-look pieces
over particleboard that are selling to NY "art" furniture houses for 40 to 70K per piece.
Then I know guys who will spend two years meticulously hand-crafting something from rare
imported hardwoods who can't get 2K for the thing. This is my line of business. I deal with
these guys every day. Nor guessing. (Why do you think my stupid posts are split in half
so often? - I did several grand in sales in the few minutes inbetween!) Furniture is no different than photography or any other so-called art some - whodunnit and their reputation (deserved or not) is a lot more important that how they did it!

Vaughn
4-Apr-2012, 09:19
Vaughn, Where did you study with him? In Scotland?

No, at Humboldt State University. He got his BA there and came back to teach a few classes after getting his Masters at UNM. He was my teacher around 1980/81 -- before he went off and started the photo program at Glasgow School of Art (1982).

Kirk Gittings
4-Apr-2012, 09:28
Good for you-a unique and memorable experience. He is a modern master.

Vaughn
4-Apr-2012, 09:33
Good for you-a unique and memorable experience. He is a modern master.

At our first class critique, he almost threw me out of his class...my fault. Fortunately a couple other students stood up for me. Both Thomas and I had to work to regain each others trust and as a result developed a stronger relationship.

He is a true teacher -- not just an instructor.

To answer your question below...Just a bad choice of words on my part. He would fail any student that did not come to a class critique. Our first assignment was a self-portrait assignment, which I was not comfortable with. I came to the critique without any prints and told him right before the class started. He asked why, and I said, "I could not get into it."

So he started out the class period very upset and being very intense said that anyone unwilling to put the most into the class and blows off doing the work (looking at me) should leave, now. Unfortunately, I meant that I had tried to do the assignment and I was not satisfied with any of the work I had done.

Since Thomas is very verbose and deep, his critiques (a class of 18 or so students) took two 3-hour class periods, so I was able to complete the assignment before the second round of the critique. He gave me a B+ for it -- I still have it, and still can not read most of his comments that he wrote on the back of the mounted print...LOL!

Kirk Gittings
4-Apr-2012, 09:34
Hmmm you are leaving out the why...:)

paulr
4-Apr-2012, 09:57
But basically, inkjet paper without any precious metal or gelatin sells for as much or more as what we traditionally pay for papers with them. It's an obscenely profitable commodity.

Drew, I find it impossible to believe that you're not smarter than this argument. Do you know anything about the cost of manufacture or R&D for these materials? Have you researched the profit margins? Do you know what the actual value of the silver is in a sheet of gelatin silver paper? (hint: close to zero).

At any rate, the idea that the price of art is somehow correlated in any major way with the cost of commodity materials is odd. What's the value of the pigment in a Picasso painting?

If you want to invest in silver, invest in silver.

Lenny Eiger
4-Apr-2012, 10:56
Well they certainly are cheap to make. Not labor intensive either. Just make one, store it in the computer and, when someone wants to purchase it, you just need to hit the print button and out one (or 100!) comes! How easy is that? You don't even need storage: the computer will store zillions of them using not more than a cubic foot of floor space. Cheap!!! But I wouldn't tell your clients how easy and cheap it is if I were you. No sir, I'd tell them how much better they are than the "old" silver process, how you slaved for years (was that 6 that I heard?) to learn to print with the inkjet, how expensive that ink really is...because you sure don't want to go back to the silver process when you have it so easy, do you?

Thomas

Yea, only if you are a hack.

If you don't see how things change over time, different temperatures and humidities, variations in coatings, then you can hit the print button and just take what you get....

Anyone that thinks that silver is the old process is kidding themselves. If you want something older, print in albumen. Maybe make a daguerrotype... Platinum would be too modern. Its a ridiculous argument...

Lenny

Drew Wiley
4-Apr-2012, 10:59
Gosh you miss the point, Paul. A picasso collage made with newprint falling apart might sell
for tens of thousands, and then require thousands more to stabilize. The original materials
are basically worthless. But everybody knows about inks and printers and the paper that goes with them. Not much different than an office printer, where the markup on the ink is staggering percentage-wise and it can take hundreds of dollars to refill. R&D on the popular
stuff has probably been recovered way back. Gelatin and silver are traditionally what made
paper expensive - now you pay more for the paper plus nothing but sizing. You still have to have something like that before you even coat. Silver negligible???????? Ever hear of the Hunt Bros and how they almost turned photography into a train wreck via silver speculation? Buy any gold chloride lately?

Drew Wiley
4-Apr-2012, 11:06
Lenny - I love the look of albumen. Now there's an idea if you have space out back for a
henhouse. Gets around the gelatin issue. I've collected a number of those prints and they
seem quite permanent if protected from dampness and mold. Wonder if the technique could be get onto the cooking channel? Julia Child could have given a demo, maybe with
a little pulverized escargot as extra binder.

Greg Lockrey
4-Apr-2012, 11:34
Well they certainly are cheap to make. Not labor intensive either. Just make one, store it in the computer and, when someone wants to purchase it, you just need to hit the print button and out one (or 100!) comes! How easy is that? You don't even need storage: the computer will store zillions of them using not more than a cubic foot of floor space. Cheap!!! But I wouldn't tell your clients how easy and cheap it is if I were you. No sir, I'd tell them how much better they are than the "old" silver process, how you slaved for years (was that 6 that I heard?) to learn to print with the inkjet, how expensive that ink really is...because you sure don't want to go back to the silver process when you have it so easy, do you?

Thomas

Yeah.... why all the fuss.... it's just a print after all.

mcfactor
4-Apr-2012, 11:37
For color, yes, for black and white, it depends.

Drew Wiley
4-Apr-2012, 11:49
Personal preferences. But the very best color inkjet printers I know (won't give names - but they'd be on anyone's A list of "experts" at it) - well, I think they themselves made better color prints to old chemical way. The reasons for switching are various. Quality becomes a plastic definition, just like format. As technology changes, supplies come and
go, and as one simply ages and needs simplification ... or maybe we all need a change of
pace just for its own sake.... I really don't care. Make an intelligent choice then go master the medium you prefer, and that will make a far bigger dent in actual quality than trying to decide the ultimate merits of this or that. It's just a damn game anyway. Nobody four hundreds years from now is going to mistake any of our work for the ceiling of the Sistine.

tgtaylor
4-Apr-2012, 12:16
“Talk is cheap!” “Where's the beef?”

I think that people who promote one over the other should post an example of what they are saying instead of merely mouthing off. I, for one, print both traditionally and now ink-jet and can truly say that I prefer the former over the latter and have posted numerous examples of my work on this forum.

For example I scanned and printed this yesterday on my now outdated Epson scanner and printer and am quite proud of it:

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5459/6896965844_d2d35b2abc_c.jpg

In fact I may reprint it at 13x19 for a wall.

A few weeks back I printed this image from Yosemite Park in late December in my “darkroom;”

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7062/6837809830_51a32d86bb_z.jpg

This is a poor scan of the print which I am holding in my hand – for some reason I scanned it too dark because the actual work print is bright and “snappy”– and I can truthfully say that I like it better than the color ink-jet above notwithstanding the latter’s more dramatic (in my opinion) landscape. Additionally the B&W has a certain look to it that reminds me of the old movie stills from my childhood. It even has a different “feel” to the paper that I like. I'm really beginning to like Oriental RC and at just 50 cents a sheet you can't go wrong with this paper. In fact I will reprint this tonight at 16x20 for a LR wall with a little more dodge on the treeline, stream side, and immediate foreground on the right hand side.

But most of the above is subjective. A more objective difference between the two is when you turn the B&W print sideways the darker parts of the print do not 'standout” as in the ink-jet print, nor do the sharp separations between , say, the mountain tops.

Personally I like both methods but lean more heavily towards the darkroom.

Thomas

Vaughn
4-Apr-2012, 12:20
You might as well post photos of two different bottles of Scotch and say "You see, this proves the Scotch in the bottle on the left definitely tastes better!"

Drew Wiley
4-Apr-2012, 12:27
Agreed. The web is just about the lowest common denominator of quality there is. Gives an
idea of subject, but that's about it. I'll give you the permission to "mouth off" right in front
of one of my prints, Tom. Insults are perfectly welcome, but at least you'd know what it is
you're insulting.

Jim collum
4-Apr-2012, 12:32
personally, it depends on the printer. The craft of darkroom development or Photoshop is something that can be taught in a weekend. Neither process is 'man-made'. To be really good at either requires a great deal of time and effort. Printers like Richard Lohmann or Tom Mellonee produce inkjet prints better than 95% of the sliver printer's I've seen (they mix their own inkset as well). I'd buy an inkjet version of one of their images over a silver... (although Richard's platinum prints are some of the best in that medium, and I'd prefer one of those over either of the others).

bob carnie
4-Apr-2012, 12:33
Tom if you are going to reprint the mountain scene.. could you straighten the horizon for me a bit.... not mouthing off just observing.

tgtaylor
4-Apr-2012, 12:34
???!!!

I'm not even going to try to figure that one out.

Incidentially while doing a forum search this morning on Oriental paper I came across a long thread with the very same subject matter as this thread. Seems that this crap comes up frequently here.

Thomas

tgtaylor
4-Apr-2012, 12:39
Tom if you are going to reprint the mountain scene.. could you straighten the horizon for me a bit.... not mouthing off just observing.

Thanks for the observation Bob but this landscape increases in elevation as you go from south (on the right) to north. Note the snowline on the mountain range (about 30 miles distant) as you go from south to north.

Thomas

bob carnie
4-Apr-2012, 12:43
How would one fix this optical illusion then , as to my eyes it looks very unbalanced.
On an enlarger I would tilt the easel a bit.. Photoshop I would use transform.


Thanks for the observation Bob but this landscape increases in elevation as you go from south (on the right) to north. Note the snowline on the mountain range (about 30 miles distant) as you go from south to north.

Thomas

Drew Wiley
4-Apr-2012, 12:50
It's not the snowline, Bob. It's a subrange of rocks in front of the main range behind and
distance itself. Looks natural to me. Mess with it an the sagebrush will end up all off-angle.

bob carnie
4-Apr-2012, 13:00
Thats just you west Coast guys screwing with my head..

It's not the snowline, Bob. It's a subrange of rocks in front of the main range behind and
distance itself. Looks natural to me. Mess with it an the sagebrush will end up all off-angle.

tgtaylor
4-Apr-2012, 13:03
Suppose that it's not an optical illusion. The immediate landform drops off into a deep canyon which the rises up on the far side containing the range. But the idea of a horizontal landform sounds enticing. By "tilt(ing) the easel a bit" I assume you mean rotating it somewhat to the left on the baseboard but I can't see how that would work. Anyway this is a transparency and I'm limited to printing it digitally so I'll have to check into "transform."

I'm new to digital printing and learning as I go. Yesterday I taught myself how to spot in PS and thought the next thing to learn would be to dodge and burn in PS. Transform? I think I'll check into that before I committ to a larger print for this image.

Thomas

Drew Wiley
4-Apr-2012, 13:06
Indeed, though it looks way more inland to me. Rocks don't look right for the Snake Range
in Idaho. Could be a Colorado Front Range. But frankly, I get disoriented any time land is
flat. Almost had a panic attack getting off a plane in Dallas, getting to my hotel room about twelve stories up and looking out at .... well, nothing! I literally got claustrophobic
at the ... whatever weren't there surrounding me. No trees, no mtns. ... no nothin' in sight
except one ostentatious Tower of Babel after another. My gosh, no wonder folks in that
part of the world deny global warming exists - their world isn't even round!

bob carnie
4-Apr-2012, 13:11
Thomas

Make a layer.. go to edit drop down to Transform.. open rotate and play with the cubes on the corners to straighten out - save

or make a layer.. go to edit drop to Transform.. open warp and play with the points to straighten out- save

maybe it would work for you , maybe it will not,, I think Drew is playing with my head on this one.

If you are new to PS you are in for a lot of fun with dodging, burning, contrast and density... try to attack it like a darkroom print and you will be ok.

Remember one needs to neutralize the colour first before doing much work and you can destroy and image with bad sharpening.


Bob


Suppose that it's not an optical illusion. The immediate landform drops off into a deep canyon which the rises up on the far side containing the range. But the idea of a horizontal landform sounds enticing. By "tilt(ing) the easel a bit" I assume you mean rotating it somewhat to the left on the baseboard but I can't see how that would work. Anyway this is a transparency and I'm limited to printing it digitally so I'll have to check into "transform."

I'm new to digital printing and learning as I go. Yesterday I taught myself how to spot in PS and thought the next thing to learn would be to dodge and burn in PS. Transform? I think I'll check into that before I committ to a larger print for this image.

Thomas

bob carnie
4-Apr-2012, 13:13
Lots of lakes in Ontario... we keep them all level so the water does not fall out the ends.


Indeed, though it looks way more inland to me. Rocks don't look right for the Snake Range
in Idaho. Could be a Colorado Front Range. But frankly, I get disoriented any time land is
flat. Almost had a panic attack getting off a plane in Dallas, getting to my hotel room about twelve stories up and looking out at .... well, nothing! I literally got claustrophobic
at the ... whatever weren't there surrounding me. No trees, no mtns. ... no nothin' in sight
except one ostentatious Tower of Babel after another. My gosh, no wonder folks in that
part of the world deny global warming exists - their world isn't even round!

tgtaylor
4-Apr-2012, 13:28
Thomas

Make a layer.. go to edit drop down to Transform.. open rotate and play with the cubes on the corners to straighten out - save

or make a layer.. go to edit drop to Transform.. open warp and play with the points to straighten out- save

maybe it would work for you , maybe it will not,, I think Drew is playing with my head on this one.

If you are new to PS you are in for a lot of fun with dodging, burning, contrast and density... try to attack it like a darkroom print and you will be ok.

Remember one needs to neutralize the colour first before doing much work and you can destroy and image with bad sharpening.


Bob

Thanks Bob! Actually I approach it like I would a C-41 print by first getting the exposure (density) right and then adjusting the colors if necessary and sharping the image is the last step. This particular image only required adjusting the brightness to match the slide and it sharpened up nicely notwithstanding that it wasn't fluid mounted, which I don't have - only the Epson holders that came with the scanner - and have the transparancy mounted in a 6x7 cardboard mount. I'm trying to learn PS as I go and by need. After I printed the above another slide needs to be dodged to match the transparancy and thaty's where I'm at presently with PS.

Thomas

Vaughn
4-Apr-2012, 13:31
???!!! I'm not even going to try to figure that one out.Thomas

If this refers to my post, it is in reference to the inability of an image on a computer screen to say anything about actual print quality...it is like trying to determine the quality of Scotch from the photos of the bottles.

vaughn

bob carnie
4-Apr-2012, 13:34
making a layer

and using the blending tools,,, multiply, screen and soft light in combination with your brush tool at different opacity's will be your friend.



Thanks Bob! Actually I approach it like I would a C-41 print by first getting the exposure (density) right and then adjusting the colors if necessary and sharping the image is the last step. This particular image only required adjusting the brightness to match the slide and it sharpened up nicely notwithstanding that it wasn't fluid mounted, which I don't have - only the Epson holders that came with the scanner - and have the transparancy mounted in a 6x7 cardboard mount. I'm trying to learn PS as I go and by need. After I printed the above another slide needs to be dodged to match the transparancy and thaty's where I'm at presently with PS.

Thomas

tgtaylor
4-Apr-2012, 13:55
Thanks again, Bob!

With regard to the land forms one runs across out west, here is a quote from The Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains by John Fremont that I was reading this morning:

"We seem now to be passing along the base of a plateau of the Black Hills, in which the formation consists of marls, some of them white and laminated; the country to the left rising suddenly, and falling off gradually and uniformly to the right. In five or six miles of a northeasterly course, we struck a high ridge,...The magnetic direction of the ridge is northwest and southeast...Along our route the country had seemed to increase constantly in elevation..." Quoted from Fremont's notes for 13 July, 1842 on page 33.

Vaughn: I was referring to Drew's post but you and others had posted while I was typing.

Thomas

paulr
4-Apr-2012, 14:12
Yes, and the work has been selling for millions for decades. That's my point.

At any rate, I see some people in this thread dismissing ink printing because it's cheap, and now you're doing the same because it's overpriced.

Here's the perspective of someone who actually does it: the materials are very expensive, but the overall cost of printing is somewhat lower than with traditional printing because there's less waste. You can get 90% of the way to your final print through soft proofing, so you don't use as many materials. That's a big part of the appeal for me.

[QUOTE]But everybody knows about inks and printers and the paper that goes with them.

Please don't use schoolyard rhetoric like "everyone knows ...." If you actually know something, then you'll have evidence you can share. If you don't have evidence, then you don't know anything.

It's true that Epson and Canon mark up their inks a lot, because it subsidizes their printers. But even ink-only makers like John Cone have to charge a lot, because the stuff is expensive to develop and manufacture. I don't think Cone is a rich guy.


R&D on the popular stuff has probably been recovered way back.

R&D on the good stuff is relentles and ongoing.


Gelatin and silver are traditionally what made paper expensive

If you think there's more than 5 cents worth of silver and gelatin in a sheet of 16x20 paper, you've been misled by industry mystique. The quantities are infinitesimal. Talk to anyone who recovers silver from their fix. In a year when I went through 20 boxes of 11x14 Fortezo, I recovered less than 1/2 oz of very impure silver. This is using steel ion replacement, which is well over 90% efficient. The commercial lab where I worked used a 99.99% efficient process and recovered less than an ounce a month.

I'll let you price gelatin at the supermarket. Keep in mind that photo emulsion measures in the thousands of an inch.

Here's one reason inkjet paper costs more: the paper is better. Most of the fine art inkjet papers are heavy, 100% cotton rag stock. You don't know what the paper base is on silver papers, because the manufacturers aren't talking about it. If you look at a company like Hahnemuhle, their inkjet papers are expensive, but so are their watercolor and oil paint papers.

I just hope the painters who use these materials are having more interesting conversations than this one.

Drew Wiley
4-Apr-2012, 15:30
Were you born yesterday, Paul....? Maybe compared to a premier old-school process like
dye transfer or even now Ciba, color inkjet might be expensive, but at any high level of quality it certainly can't compete with any RA4 paper like Crystal Archive for cost effectiveness unless one is a pretty rotten lab technician. But I won't waste my time with
you arguing about the cost of silver and coating papers - take that up with the manufacturers themselves if you want to give them a good belly laugh.

Drew Wiley
4-Apr-2012, 15:35
Ooops, obviously meant to say "inexpensive" there in the comparison. Anyway, you've got
nothing but marketing hype in terms of the long-term compatability of those papers you're paying a premium for and the actual ink used.

tgtaylor
4-Apr-2012, 19:00
If you think there's more than 5 cents worth of silver and gelatin in a sheet of 16x20 paper, you've been misled by industry mystique. The quantities are infinitesimal.

Once you start purchasing silver to use in a process you will quickly come to grip with the true cost of silver per print. For example Bostick & Sullivan sells a premixed 250mL Vandyke sensitizer solution that will coat ~ 125 8x10 prints for $42.95. That works out to about .34 per print. True there are other chemicals in the solution so the actual cost per print of the silver will be somewhat less. Last week I mixed a sensetizer for Kallitypes which requires a 10% solution of silver nitrate (10gms/100mL). The silver nitrate cost me $30 for 30 grams or $1 per gram and it takes about 40 drops of the silver to coat an 8x10 sheet. Figure 20 drops/mL and the cost to coat one 8x10 print with the silver is about twenty cents. Since 16x20 is a factor of 4, then it would cost me about 90 cents to coat one 16x20 print. (Note: The kallitype also calls for an equal amount of ferric oxalate solution so the actual cost of coating each print would be close to double that of the silver alone.) True Kodak and other manufactures buys silver by the bar and make their own silver solutions rather than buy them like I do but their costs is not as infinitesimal as you might think.

And thats just the cost to coat one sheet. My cost for a sheet of 140-lb 22x30 Fabriano Aristrico paper is around $6.86 per sheet. I can get 6 9x11 sheets from that on which to print an 8x10 negative. That bring the paper cost to $1.14 per 8x10 print for a total of around $1.55 for one 8x10 sheet of coated paper. Further costs on top of that would be for the developer and fixer.

Thomas

paulr
5-Apr-2012, 06:06
Once you start purchasing silver to use in a process you will quickly come to grip with the true cost of silver per print.

No, Thomas, that's the true cost of silver for a particular hand-coated alternative process. It doesn't correlate at all with the silver in industrially manufactured silver papers. The most reliable information I've found pins it at 0.9 to 1.2 grams of silver per square meter of black and white paper emulsion (film has more, as does color paper, surprisingly). If we call it 1 gram, then an 8x10 sheet of paper contails 0.05 grams. In a year when prices are high and silver's going for $50/oz, this works out to 9 cents worth of precious metal. At todays prices it's under 6 cents. Roughly half of this will remain in the print after processing, depending on the image.

Which is another efficiency of ink: you start with blank paper and add the pigment you need. With silver you start with paper loaded with pigment and throw out what you don't.

Going back to my experience of recovering close to a half ounce of silver after a busy year, assuming 50% silver utilization in the prints, and 90% efficience of recovery, this works out to about 300 sheets of 11x14. Which is probably about right.

Jay DeFehr
5-Apr-2012, 07:21
Thomas, even in your own idiosyncratic example, it seems the cost of silver is insignificant compared to the cost of the paper. Most of your silver is excess, as opposed to the 50% utilization rate of manufactured silver papers.

Paul,

The additive nature of ink printing compared to silver printing is analogous to the differences in machining, a subtractive process, and 3D printing, or additive manufacturing. It's a paradigm shift.

Brian Ellis
5-Apr-2012, 07:32
Well they certainly are cheap to make. Not labor intensive either. Just make one, store it in the computer and, when someone wants to purchase it, you just need to hit the print button and out one (or 100!) comes! How easy is that? You don't even need storage: the computer will store zillions of them using not more than a cubic foot of floor space. Cheap!!! But I wouldn't tell your clients how easy and cheap it is if I were you. No sir, I'd tell them how much better they are than the "old" silver process, how you slaved for years (was that 6 that I heard?) to learn to print with the inkjet, how expensive that ink really is...because you sure don't want to go back to the silver process when you have it so easy, do you?

Thomas

Once the first print is made (i.e. after all the creative work is done) it is, as you point out, very easy to make duplicates when printing digitally. And once the first print is made in a darkroom it's difficult to make duplicates (difficult in a labor sense, difficult to get the later ones identical to the first when some time has transpired between the first print and the dupes). But there's nothing creative or particularly interesting about making duplicate prints by either method. Both are a matter of dumb rote. The only differences are that one method is easy, the other involves a good bit of drudge work. And one gets the duplicate perfect, the other not necessarily.

Solely from the standpoint of what you're discussing in this message (i.e. making multiple copies of the same print) nobody in their right mind would choose to do it in a darkroom if they had the option of getting their dupes by pressing a button. But I fail to see why that's a basis for criticism of digital printing, seems to me it's a huge advantage. And of course it has nothing to do with the quality of the print since all the creative effort with making dupes digitally and making them in a darkroom was done when the first print was made.

Have you ever made even a small (say 10) edition portfolio consisting of even a relatively few (say 12) prints in a darkroom when some time has passed between making the first group of prints and the later ones? I'm guessing not because if you had you'd realize what an incredibly boring, tiring, time-consuming, mind-numbing undertaking it is.

David Luttmann
5-Apr-2012, 08:10
I read this whole thread with disgust. Oren's post, two or three before this one is the only intelligent comment that can be made. Where's that beating the dead horse image?

I spent lots of years in the darkroom. I spent lots of years doing platinum. I recently spent a decade perfecting my ink set and my skills for inkjet. Personally, I don't think much of silver prints. I don't think they can hold a candle to any alternative process print or a good inkjet print. I don't think much of digital capture, either. But way more than those opinions is the one that I am so very sick of talking about it. All the same people espouse all the same opinions. Over and over again.

Everyone should just do what they want to.

I would like to suggest a new forum rule, that when a moderator sees a comparison of film vs digital or darkroom printing vs inkjet, that they stop the thread.


Lenny

That's the best idea yet. These threads raged on years ago...some of the people are different (ghost of Jorge for example) but the stuff is the same.

Brian Ellis
5-Apr-2012, 08:18
If this refers to my post, it is in reference to the inability of an image on a computer screen to say anything about actual print quality...it is like trying to determine the quality of Scotch from the photos of the bottles.

vaughn

I haven't read the previous messages but if you're saying it's not possible to closely match an image on a computer screen with a print I'd have to disagree. With a properly calibrated monitor, a good paper profile, and a knowledge of soft proofing I get a very close match between the two. Close enough that my first print is often my last and if a second print is necessary it's almost always the last. Three or more prints to get it right is rare.

If you're talking about just viewing someone else's image posted to the web and knowing what a print of that image would look like I'd agree with you, that's pretty much impossible.

Vaughn
5-Apr-2012, 08:32
Brian, it was in reference to judging print quality of wet vs inkjet on one's computer screen. But in your first example, I know that one can learn to judge what is on the screen vs what will appear out of one's inkjet printer (or other methods of digital reproduction).

tgtaylor
5-Apr-2012, 08:48
.

Have you ever made even a small (say 10) edition portfolio consisting of even a relatively few (say 12) prints in a darkroom when some time has passed between making the first group of prints and the later ones? I'm guessing not because if you had you'd realize what an incredibly boring, tiring, time-consuming, mind-numbing undertaking it is.

Actually last month I made 10 Vandykes (11 including the one for myself) for this years print exchange. Each were hand coated with senstizer in my darkroom, dried under a safelight, exposed to the open sunlight, and finally developed, washed, and hung to dry. Since I have but one 8x10 contact printing frame and the time to make only 3 prints/day it took several days to complete the printing. Since I routinely take careful notes all prints were practically identical which Darr could attest to as she saw all 10. The only difference was at the edges where the senstizer ended and it may have slightly leaked under the tape border that I used. Since the sun is not the same from day to day (time of day, passing clouds, atmospheric haze...etc) each print required a careful and reasoned judgement of when to end the exposure.

Thomas

Jay DeFehr
5-Apr-2012, 08:50
That's the best idea yet. These threads raged on years ago...some of the people are different (ghost of Jorge for example) but the stuff is the same.

If by "stuff" you mean the arguments and opinions, I might agree with you, but the facts have definitely changed because digital printing, unlike silver printing, continues to evolve, meaning any gap in quality is closing, or has closed, depending on who one asks. I learn a lot from these discussions, but then I'm interested in learning about digital printing. I can see how these threads might be boring if my mind was already made up about the subject, and I wasn't interested in the evolving technology, but that's doesn't mean the discussion has stagnated.

I haven't seen a lot of really good B&W ink prints, but in the community darkroom in my neighborhood, there's a print by Jock Sturges (Seattle resident), and I wouldn't have guessed it was an ink print by looking. I don't think there's really much argument left to be made in favor of wet color prints. I've seen Tod Gangler's 4 color carbon prints, and the ink print proofs, and at anything like normal viewing distances I'd be hard pressed to tell them apart. That made an indelible impression on me -- I don't think anything short of a 4 color carbon print could improve on his ink prints, and I want to learn both processes.

In the meantime I'm working hard to evolve my own carbon printing workflow, using optically enlarged negatives and multiple transfers, because I can utilize my existing skills set, but I'm also actively pursuing an education in digital editing and printing, which might or might not be integrated into my existing workflow, or even replace it. I'm keeping an open mind.

Drew Wiley
5-Apr-2012, 09:19
One's personal goals, disposition, and faciltites have a great deal to do with it. Someone
running franchise galleries which feed of multiples of specific images are a very different
ballgame than the kind of thing I do. Once I land a print I might or might not make a second. I just want to more on to the next neg or chrome - can't even stand the thought
of reprinting something unless I discover a much better way to do it (which sometimes
happens, of course). The technology itself is not cut and dried by any means - just snoop
around all the alternative forums and the chatter of the almost endless potential of hybrid
techniques.

tgtaylor
5-Apr-2012, 09:22
No, Thomas, that's the true cost of silver for a particular hand-coated alternative process. It doesn't correlate at all with the silver in industrially manufactured silver papers. The most reliable information I've found pins it at 0.9 to 1.2 grams of silver per square meter of black and white paper emulsion (film has more, as does color paper, surprisingly).


Thomas, even in your own idiosyncratic example, it seems the cost of silver is insignificant compared to the cost of the paper. Most of your silver is excess, as opposed to the 50% utilization rate of manufactured silver papers.
You guys are confusing the coating process. Raw silver grains are not deposited on the paper but are dissolved in a solution such as silver nitrate and then that solution is then coated onto the paper. Posted a while back on the forum was a 1950's film of how Kodak manufactured film. It showed the manufacturing process from beginning to end and stated that Kodak used 40 tons of pure silver a month in the manufacturing process. To do that you need a lab, capable and highly trained workers, equipment...shoot you need a factory building. In my own personal example none of the labor or equipment cost are factored in. As far as the actual amount of raw silver deposited on each sheet of paper then simply answer the following HS chemistry problem:

If the price of silver is $32 per ounce what is the cost of the silver contained in 2mL of a 10% solution of Silver Nitrate (AgNO3)?
Hint: Use dimensional analysis to find the answer.

Thomas

Drew Wiley
5-Apr-2012, 09:30
Per the ongoing nonsense about cost of silver etc - a manufacturer does not think like a
hobbyist. If the cost of a crucial commodity goes up 30%, or 50%, or 1000% at a critical
juncture where they are forced to reinvest, what do you think will happen to the cost of
the final product, the paper? It has to be factored in somehow, along with everything else,
and is a very significant expense at mfg volumes. It must be hell right now, since there's is
so much panic speculation on precious metals in general. Too bad I don't have any gold
fillings in my teeth.

Kirk Gittings
5-Apr-2012, 09:32
Whenever I make a finished print, silver or ink, that really works for me. I usually put it away for a day and then look at it again when I am fresh and distanced from all the effort. I usually pin it to the wall under "gallery lighting" and try to just experinece the print anew. If it still works for me then (I may go back and work on it some more) I try and do an edition of ten. Over the years I have found that an inventory of prints is a very valuable asset for quick presentations, off the cuff portfolio presentations, less work to pull together an exhibit and sales of course (my rep always needs a good set and no one wants to wait). I have found that with ink IME I really cannot go back a year later and just push a button and get an exact match print-humidity changes, papers change, inksets are not identical etc. so there are always differences, some minor and some significant, to where I always end up adjusting the file a little or allot before reprinting. I also never feel like any print is ever finished so after living with a print for a year or so I welcome the opportunity to tweak or redo it again. I don't feel obligated to forever make identical prints from a negative if it can be improved.

Drew Wiley
5-Apr-2012, 10:09
You just jogged my memory, Kirk. My prints have been coming out a tad flat the last two
weeks and the only change during that time was the lightbulb over the sink (when I flick
the room light on). Drying down test strips is of course no substitute for seeing the full
print toned and air-dried a few days later. So I'm putting an old-style bulb back in tonite.
But it is a whole different ballgame for some. Those who run tourist galleries are often showing only display prints, and the real thing get shipped from another facility doing the
framing too. The kinds of clients involved probably aren't even aware of subtle distinctions
or even significant distinctions between one print and another - the quality control from
batch to batch is secondary to the generic image itself. Totally different strategy than those of us who value each print independently. Even in the same session I will print the
neg in more than one manner, and might like each for a different reason. Everything else
goes to the trashcan.

Brian Ellis
5-Apr-2012, 14:05
Actually last month I made 10 Vandykes (11 including the one for myself) for this years print exchange. Each were hand coated with senstizer in my darkroom, dried under a safelight, exposed to the open sunlight, and finally developed, washed, and hung to dry. Since I have but one 8x10 contact printing frame and the time to make only 3 prints/day it took several days to complete the printing. Since I routinely take careful notes all prints were practically identical which Darr could attest to as she saw all 10. The only difference was at the edges where the senstizer ended and it may have slightly leaked under the tape border that I used. Since the sun is not the same from day to day (time of day, passing clouds, atmospheric haze...etc) each print required a careful and reasoned judgement of when to end the exposure.

Thomas

I didn't say it couldn't be done, just that it's time-consuming and no fun to do in a darkroom with silver prints (which is what I thought we were talking about). Alt processes are a whole different deal than silver prints in many respects. Among others, I always enjoyed everything I did when making gum and van dyke brown prints.

Mike Anderson
5-Apr-2012, 19:03
I always liked this story (http://theagnosticprint.org/art-and-craft/) of a ink jet print project/labor of love. Eye opening to those that think ink jet printing might be easy, automatic, sterile or without soul.

Kirk Gittings
5-Apr-2012, 19:16
Great story. I would love to see Tyler's finished prints on this. He is a master.

I get the perfectionism and the seemingly endless paths to pursue and experiment with with inkjet. I went from mat Epson to glossy Epson to mat Cone and now am working on glossy Cone. This was going through a couple dozen different papers too. Ideally I would like multiple printers as I still really like Cone mat for some images but I don't currently have the room or the budget.

Jay DeFehr
5-Apr-2012, 19:21
I think I might be able to con my employer into buying an Epson 4900 for my office, and get some on the job training. That will get my feet wet, and I can decide if I want one for my own.

tgtaylor
6-Apr-2012, 21:24
I didn't say it couldn't be done, just that it's time-consuming and no fun to do in a darkroom with silver prints (which is what I thought we were talking about). Alt processes are a whole different deal than silver prints in many respects. Among others, I always enjoyed everything I did when making gum and van dyke brown prints.

Unless the negative is one that "prints itself," it's the same with silver prints: Instead of monitoring the expsure you have to, for example, dodge or burn each one and that requires that you pay attention to each individual print. You can't just walk away from them as you can with the computer. If you read the Tyler Boley link you will see that silver printing is still unequaled by digital. Yeah, the Cone ink is pitched but they got skin in the game.

Thomas

Kirk Gittings
6-Apr-2012, 21:35
If you read the Tyler Boley link you will see that silver printing is still unequaled by digital.

Actually if you truly read Tyler's article he says nothing of the kind. I think you are projecting and not reading. He only mentions silver twice and primarily he says "Silver was not an option as the bravado of big density and shiny surface killed the feel of the images." IE silver was not appropriate for his vison of these images, nothing more, nothing less.

Greg Miller
7-Apr-2012, 06:18
Unless the negative is one that "prints itself," it's the same with silver prints: Instead of monitoring the expsure you have to, for example, dodge or burn each one and that requires that you pay attention to each individual print. You can't just walk away from them as you can with the computer. If you read the Tyler Boley link you will see that silver printing is still unequaled by digital. Yeah, the Cone ink is pitched but they got skin in the game.

Thomas


And if you read Brian's posts (at least twice now), you are confirming his point that it takes more time to do the silver print. And to him that is boring drudge work that adds no artistic value (the artistic value was in achieving the initial print that id derived from determining the desired formula of processing, dodging, and burning).

There is nothing inherently valuable or honorable in taking more labor to create the same result (or a result with more unintentional variations) - people can make cogent arguments either way. You may find that extra labor enjoyable, others may not. You may find that extra labor adds more value to the final product, others may not.

The current high quality of various processes, fortunately, allows other factors to be the more/most important when determining value of a print. Such as artistic vision, and artistic execution.

Old-N-Feeble
7-Apr-2012, 06:41
I whole-heartedly agree with the "original image and processing technique is most important vs. labor-intensive" argument as it pertains to photography. Some folks simply value hands-on treatment of the final image (as much as can be attributed to photographic processes) but that's only partially relevant. This makes "relatively" little sense in the photographic medium. After all... one cannot compare printing multiple wet-process images with making several duplicate paintings or sculptures. You just can't directly compare "art", which is a fully "hands-on" process, with photography, which is a partially "mechanical" process.

Can photography be art? Of course it can be. But it's more mechanical than "traditional" art forms are. We can never get away from that. So what's the big deal about digital prints other than the "artist" may never have "touched" the final print? Even AA didn't "touch" all his final prints. Would I pay more for a print that was "hand-signed" by the photographer? Yes. Would I pay more if the print was documented as "hand-printed" by the artist? You bet. Would I buy an unsigned print that was never touched by the "artist"? Absolutely... at a far-discounted price. Is it worth it for the artist to hand-print and hand-sign everything he/she sells? HIGHLY unlikely.

paulr
7-Apr-2012, 07:59
There is nothing inherently valuable or honorable in taking more labor to create the same result (or a result with more unintentional variations) - people can make cogent arguments either way. You may find that extra labor enjoyable, others may not. You may find that extra labor adds more value to the final product, others may not.

It took me almost ten years to figure that out.

Sal Santamaura
7-Apr-2012, 08:26
...with silver prints...you have to...dodge or burn each one...Not necessarily. Read Alan Ross' articles on dye dodging. Not quite "press the button," but much less attention than hand dodging/burning every print in a "production environment."

tgtaylor
7-Apr-2012, 09:11
An opinion by Jon Cone based upon the article of the same name published in the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of View Camera Magazine.

In the OEM world, black & white still represents a compromise. The online and tradeshow evangelists for these three companies routinely espouse their black & white superiority over the other. But, none of these systems has yet reached the standard of a finely crafted darkroom silver fiber print. Yet, all around the world and for well more than a decade, many photographers have routinely been printing with customized and specialized black & white inkjet solutions that raise the bar significantly over the OEMs.

Thomas

Tyler Boley
7-Apr-2012, 09:23
Unless the negative is one that "prints itself," it's the same with silver prints: Instead of monitoring the expsure you have to, for example, dodge or burn each one and that requires that you pay attention to each individual print. You can't just walk away from them as you can with the computer. If you read the Tyler Boley link you will see that silver printing is still unequaled by digital. Yeah, the Cone ink is pitched but they got skin in the game.

Thomas

well Thomas, I'm Tyler, there are some presumptive and simply incorrect statements here, but perhaps the last in particular requires your explanation.
Thanks,
Tyler

Erik Larsen
7-Apr-2012, 09:29
The only common theme I see in this thread is that the "best" method happens to be what the particular poster happens to use themselves. Seems like a bit of insecurity on both teams - human nature I guess? Just my observations.
Regards
Erik

Jay DeFehr
7-Apr-2012, 09:31
An opinion by Jon Cone based upon the article of the same name published in the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of View Camera Magazine.

In the OEM world, black & white still represents a compromise. The online and tradeshow evangelists for these three companies routinely espouse their black & white superiority over the other. But, none of these systems has yet reached the standard of a finely crafted darkroom silver fiber print. Yet, all around the world and for well more than a decade, many photographers have routinely been printing with customized and specialized black & white inkjet solutions that raise the bar significantly over the OEMs.

Thomas

This is how technology evolves. Innovators improve on existing technology in a leapfrog progression until an insurmountable barrier is reached. Sometimes that progression is geometric, other times linear, and at various rates. Silver printing progresses linearly, and has been a mature technology for many decades, so the progress has slowed to a crawl, where every increment is expensive and far between. Ink printing progresses geometrically, and is still a nascent technology, so it's closing the gap with the old technology very rapidly, and we're at a point now where we can argue if the gap still exists, and which technology is most advanced. In other words, the writing is on the wall, whether or not you can read it.

Kirk Gittings
7-Apr-2012, 09:36
The only common theme I see in this thread is that the "best" method happens to be what the particular poster happens to use themselves. Seems like a bit of insecurity on both teams - human nature I guess? Just my observations.
Regards
Erik

I don't think you read very carefully, but it is a very long thread. Here was an earlier post of mine:


I have been showing silver prints along side inkjet since 2005 in museum and gallery shows with a great deal of success. At this point I am quite satisfied with both. I don't try to make an inkjet print look like a silver print, but try and make it rich and expressive on its own. I have found that some images print better one way than the other. Generally I try everything shot on film in silver first. If it works there that is where I stop. If not I will have a drum scan done and work on it in ink. Digital capture of course I work up in ink first.

tgtaylor
7-Apr-2012, 09:38
well Thomas, I'm Tyler, there are some presumptive and simply incorrect statements here, but perhaps the last in particular requires your explanation.
Thanks,
Tyler

From your(?) wesbsite:

http://theagnosticprint.org/the-state-of-the-state-of-the-arts-in-black-white/

Thomas

Erik Larsen
7-Apr-2012, 09:48
I don't think you read very carefully, but it is a very long thread. Here was an earlier post of mine:

My apologies, I suppose I was generalizing a bit, but my previous post is what has been my general impression on this topic throughout this thread. Just one man's observation is all.
Regards
Erik

tgtaylor
7-Apr-2012, 09:49
Well I have work to do: Fire up the big Jobo and develop 3 sheets of 8x10 TXP that I shot yesterday and 6 sheets of Acros. When they are hanging to dry I think I'll print a Kallitype.

Thomas

Kirk Gittings
7-Apr-2012, 09:53
No time to actually explain yourself? Just time to troll and run?

Tyler Boley
7-Apr-2012, 10:07
I love Kallitypes, I'm looking at one I made, on my wall, this very moment. That wasn't an explanation for calling me a shill, that was a link.
Tyler

Greg Miller
7-Apr-2012, 10:09
An opinion by Jon Cone based upon the article of the same name published in the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of View Camera Magazine.

In the OEM world, black & white still represents a compromise. The online and tradeshow evangelists for these three companies routinely espouse their black & white superiority over the other. But, none of these systems has yet reached the standard of a finely crafted darkroom silver fiber print. Yet, all around the world and for well more than a decade, many photographers have routinely been printing with customized and specialized black & white inkjet solutions that raise the bar significantly over the OEMs.

Thomas

This is Jon Cone comparing his competitors (OEM = Epson, Canon, HP) to Silver. He never says silver is better than his own ink. If you read the theagnosticprint.org article thoroughly, there are many references to where different people see certain ink/paper as being better than traditional processes. What it comes down to is different people have different preferences. Everyone is "right" in their own way. Isn't that a great thing? More options for everyone. Just because someone prefers an alternative process doesn't invalidate your own.

Tyler Boley
7-Apr-2012, 10:36
I've been trying to avoid posting much in this thread, the discussion seems to hinge comparisons with no established criteria, and no known standards expressed by individuals. If I am perceived as having skin in the game, then it's best I keep my mouth shut. Kirk, having well known high fine print standards, and with hands on experience with many print methods, including the more advanced B&W ink methods which I doubt few in this thread have even ever seen, may be one of the few here to take really seriously.
But I do want to say that dogmatic stances in the forums, with little to no knowledge of the subject, serves no one well, particularly the poster.

http://www.nearbycafe.com/artandphoto/photocritic/2012/01/03/forumization-and-its-malcontent-1/

There've been a lot of blanket statements made here that display complete lack of knowledge or experience with inkjet printing. That said, I love all kinds of prints that succeed. Nothing that results on superlative work is easy.
Tyler

Brian Ellis
7-Apr-2012, 11:12
I've been trying to avoid posting much in this thread, the discussion seems to hinge comparisons with no established criteria, and no known standards expressed by individuals. If I am perceived as having skin in the game, then it's best I keep my mouth shut. Kirk, having well known high fine print standards, and with hands on experience with many print methods, including the more advanced B&W ink methods which I doubt few in this thread have even ever seen, may be one of the few here to take really seriously.
But I do want to say that dogmatic stances in the forums, with little to no knowledge of the subject, serves no one well, particularly the poster.

http://www.nearbycafe.com/artandphoto/photocritic/2012/01/03/forumization-and-its-malcontent-1/

There've been a lot of blanket statements made here that display complete lack of knowledge or experience with inkjet printing. That said, I love all kinds of prints that succeed. Nothing that results on superlative work is easy.
Tyler

Ain't it the truth? From one of the most vociferous participants in a thread titled "Inkjet better than wet prints yet?" we get this:

"I'm new to digital printing and learning as I go. Yesterday I taught myself how to spot in PS and thought the next thing to learn would be to dodge and burn in PS."

One can only imagine how many more insights he'll provide about ink-jet printing once he notices the dodge and burn tools on the left of the screen and learns how to click on one of them (not to suggest that's the best way to dodge and burn but it's a first step and seems appropriate for someone who just figured out how to spot in Photoshop).

bob carnie
7-Apr-2012, 13:59
I was going to address an earlier post Jay about this slowing down of innovation of silver and how ink jet is moving forward with leaps and bounds.

I print both ink and silver, on a daily basis, most of the R&D work I am doing revolves around silver negs and then laying down these negs on different silver papers. I believe this is a very new area, as well we are putting new paper in our exposing unit as I buy rolls, I believe the manufacturers are changing the sensitivity of their emulsions so that LED and Laser exposure is possible . This then would be an open door for anyone to taste old world silver with their current digital capture devices.... So I have to disagree with you, I believe there are great improvements in silver here now and soon more to come.

From a visual perspective there is no gap between silver and ink, IMO, from a archival perspective I am not sure, and need to investigate this further.




This is how technology evolves. Innovators improve on existing technology in a leapfrog progression until an insurmountable barrier is reached. Sometimes that progression is geometric, other times linear, and at various rates. Silver printing progresses linearly, and has been a mature technology for many decades, so the progress has slowed to a crawl, where every increment is expensive and far between. Ink printing progresses geometrically, and is still a nascent technology, so it's closing the gap with the old technology very rapidly, and we're at a point now where we can argue if the gap still exists, and which technology is most advanced. In other words, the writing is on the wall, whether or not you can read it.

bob carnie
7-Apr-2012, 14:01
Not all of us are out of the loop to good printing Tyler.


I've been trying to avoid posting much in this thread, the discussion seems to hinge comparisons with no established criteria, and no known standards expressed by individuals. If I am perceived as having skin in the game, then it's best I keep my mouth shut. Kirk, having well known high fine print standards, and with hands on experience with many print methods, including the more advanced B&W ink methods which I doubt few in this thread have even ever seen, may be one of the few here to take really seriously.
But I do want to say that dogmatic stances in the forums, with little to no knowledge of the subject, serves no one well, particularly the poster.

http://www.nearbycafe.com/artandphoto/photocritic/2012/01/03/forumization-and-its-malcontent-1/

There've been a lot of blanket statements made here that display complete lack of knowledge or experience with inkjet printing. That said, I love all kinds of prints that succeed. Nothing that results on superlative work is easy.
Tyler

Tyler Boley
7-Apr-2012, 15:16
of course not Bob, I hope nothing I said suggested that...
T