Two very different kinds of skills, sometimes but certainly not always found in the same person: One admirable skill set is to takes someone else's negs or chromes make them look
good in print. Often the quality of the original is less than ideal. A competent commercial
printer has to encounter these things and be able to print them with enough efficiency in
time and materials and overhead to turn a consistent profit; but his own artistic bent might
or might not be nil. Then there are folks like me who only print their own work, and if I don't like a particular neg, I simply toss it or set it aside. But if it takes me ten more years before I learn the trick to print that neg prints exceptionally, that's fine too. But it's a fairly
predicatable axion that people who DON'T print their own work are seldom good judges of
what consititutes a fine print, or what kind of original best facilitates the processs.
I have just got an Andre Kertesz book, it is intersting to me that in his day to make a photograph you first printed the negative, the same applied in Atget's time. A good photographer was by defenition a good printer. Where now some run of the mill person accepted as a good photographer or even a famous photographer is unlikely to have built their reputation by producing prints, even here on the LFPF. The jpeg is everything.
I am one and I am younger than he.
Years of experience has more to do with it than age, he could have been doing it since he was 5!
13 was when I started in wet-printing.
"I would like to see Paris before I die... Philadelphia will do..."
As a printer, you're a master when people beseech you to work magic on their miserable negatives. Age is not very relevant, as there are some old codgers who started out as hacks and have progressed to excessive self esteem. You'll know a master when you work with one. I've been fortunate to find several, some even young, some even female. Who can guess?
That's a good point, John Olsen!
The thought occurred to me that one need not be a master printer for their prints to be artistically significant!
Nobody in particular in mind, just saying if you appreciate a photographer for their images, and they print their own work, I don't think it should matter whether they are a beginner printer or a master.
Everyone has the right to call himself a master printer, but no one has the right to be taken seriously.