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Thread: My Print Quality 10 Years Ago

  1. #1
    おせわに なります! Andrew O'Neill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Coquitlam, BC, Canada, eh!

    My Print Quality 10 Years Ago

    Well...When I was in Japan a couple of weeks ago I visited a friend of mine. I noticed upon her wall a really dark print. I went over for a closer look and was shocked to see that it was a print of mine that I had given her about ten years ago. It was seriously over printed. It was gawd awful. Obviously ten years ago I accepted this print as good. Upon returning home I vowed I would reprint that image and send it to her. My printing has much improved over the years but what's not to say ten years from now I'll look at current prints with the same disgust? When are we "really" good? Anybody else experienced this before? Back then I gave out lots of prints...I shudder to think that they are hanging walls, too. Thank God they are all in Japan as none of you will ever get to see them!

    PS. Now that I am home, I cannot make that improved print for her as most of you know my place was broken into while in Japan....probably happened at the same time I noticed that 'orrible dark print on her wall...!

  2. #2
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Honolulu, Hawai'i

    My Print Quality 10 Years Ago

    I've done that too. Even Ansel said he went through a stage in which he later realized that he printed everything too heavy.

  3. #3
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    brooklyn, nyc

    My Print Quality 10 Years Ago

    You might have had viewing light that was just too bright. Sounds silly, but it makes a huge difference. I did a lot of research before settling on a brightness for my print viewing area ... based on an average of brightnesses I'd measured in the kinds of places the work might be hung.

  4. #4

    My Print Quality 10 Years Ago

    I had even a worse expereince Andrew. A few years back on one of my first tries to get a gallery show I sent some prints to a gallery. The owner did not comment on them and did not send them back until after a year first thought was, "what the hell was I thinking?!?". Thankfully things have improve since then.. :-)

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    My Print Quality 10 Years Ago

    My printing experience has been slightly different. Like all commercial photographers, from Day One I have been a supplier of raw material to offset lithographers, rather than a maker of arty wallhangers. The final product has been the catalogue or magazine ad. Not my print.

    And from Day One I have had to provide sufficient (read: oodles of) tonality in the deep grays and near-whites to survive the printing process on uncoated paper stock. When I failed at this, I was immediately forced to reprint the job before it was allowed to go to press. The client's printing charges were always much higher than the photography budget.

    So, even today, I tend to habitually print my portfolio wallhangers too light, flat and gray. That exciting flashy snappy deep contrast which everybody seems to admire is very difficult (and expensive) to attempt to reproduce on the printed page.

    My former clients would have bounced most of AA's work as non-reproducible without prohibitively pricey duotone lithographs on Zellerbach Chrome-Coat varnished paper.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Minneapolis, Minnesota

    My Print Quality 10 Years Ago

    True for me, too. At my first Sexton workshop, he had to hold several of my prints about a foot away from some pretty bright halogen lights to bring out the shadow details and light up the highlights. Definitely a revelation. I got home and toned down the viewing light to about an EV7 (I think it was at about a 9 before) measured with a grey card and a Pentax spotmeter. Much better now, but I'm thinking an EV6 might work better for generic lighting situations. What illumination do others find works best?

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 1999

    My Print Quality 10 Years Ago

    I usually view my prints using the light from a 60 watt bulb that's in a floor lamp behind my comfy stuffed chair in the living room. Like John Cook, I tend to print with less contrast than most other photographers. I like an "open" print without garish contrast. On a side note, photographers are always talking about getting "good blacks." But isn't that the same as saying no shadow detail?

  8. #8
    Dave Karp
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Los Angeles, CA

    My Print Quality 10 Years Ago


    Ahh yes, the Sexton stun gun. A few of my prints were hit with that baby too. He diagnosed a leaky safelight. Tests at home proved he was correct.

    Others might have the same problem, so it is worth checking. My print quality went up, and my darkroom sessions became much easier, once I purchased a good safelight.

  9. #9

    My Print Quality 10 Years Ago

    One needs to establish a viewing light the same brightness as the illumination where it will be displayed. If color, the color temp needs to be close also. Even with black and white, color temp is more important than you would think. I saw some nice warm tone prints at a photo expo by a famous photographer. He told me what materials were used and I followed his advice. No they were not warm, until one day I looked at them under flouresent illumination just like the expo.

    Of course, never judge prints wet or damp.

    Many take a sample print and compare it to one being produced at a later date to match density.
    It need not be from the same neg.

    Sometimes I make a sample and wait a few days to judge it before the final print.

    Pardon my spelling.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Mar 1998

    My Print Quality 10 Years Ago

    My former clients would have bounced most of AA's work as non-reproducible...

    Which is why Adams was very careful about making prints that would reproduce well when he printed for commercial clients or for any of his books.

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