View Full Version : Some people can tell the difference.

Neal Shields
21-Feb-2005, 13:18
I took some recient 8x10 B&W prints out to show to a friend Saturday. There were several people sitting around when I got to his business and after he looked at them someone else picked one up.

After looking at one of the prints for a few moments he looked up at me and said:

"This is a contact print isn't it".

Up to that point nothing had been said about, film , digital or format.

Ralph Barker
21-Feb-2005, 13:23
Yup. . . . ;-)

Michael Kadillak
21-Feb-2005, 13:41
There can be no question that a well executed contact print has an inner beauty with texture and detail that is impossible to attain with any enlargement process that I am aware of.

Unfortunately, since I drew a similar conclusion, my Durst enlarger has been rather bored just sitting there in the corner waiting for me to come back to it.


Jim Galli
21-Feb-2005, 14:41
Now that would have made my day....as I'm sure it did yours. Haven't analyzed why recognition is important, but it is.

mark blackman
21-Feb-2005, 15:22
And for every 100 times that happens, you'll get: is this a snappy-snap print, you know that wal-mart do them cheaper?

Andre Noble
21-Feb-2005, 15:50
Neil, maybe it was the Newton rings. :-)

Jorge Gasteazoro
21-Feb-2005, 15:54
And for every 100 times that happens, you'll get: is this a snappy-snap print, you know that wal-mart do them cheaper?

LOL.....you certainly know how to rain on someone`s parade.. :)

Mark Sawyer
21-Feb-2005, 21:20
Oh, that's just great... I spend all this money on an 8x10 and lenses and filmholders and a tripod and lightmeter and filters and film and... and... and now you tell me I can get the same pictures at Walmart? And it's cheaper?

Geez, you guys coulda said something before...

Duane Polcou
22-Feb-2005, 00:31
It is nice that someone recognized your modus operandi, but I think photographers as a whole become too equipment and procedure obsessed.

It is sometimes instructive to ask "why am I doing this", or perhaps more specifically "why am I doing it this way"? If you are doing contact printing for your own fulfillment, why even bother what any audience thinks?

It was said that Edward Weston disliked vocalized comments of any kind in regards to his work. A little austere, perhaps, be he was aware that most people know nothing of equipment and procedure, and a rote compliment was said just to be nice. A silent appreciation was the sincerest compliment as it was most likely heartfelt and verbalizing it was not needed.

If you are showing your work for an audience reaction, ie, for some level of recognition, maybe even a finer reaction would have been someone's comment on how the photograph made them feel, and not on how it was made.

"Nice Pictures" is kind of patronizing.

"Is that a contact print?" shows the viewer knows something about photography.

But someone looking at an image for a long period and just being moved... I would say is the ultimate.

Jay DeFehr
22-Feb-2005, 12:27
My favorite reactions are; "can I have this?", or "Is this for sale?". That really says it all, for me.


Brett Deacon
22-Feb-2005, 13:22
A common reaction to a photograph is for the viewer to say (or think) "I could have taken that." The absence of such a sentiment is a very good sign.

22-Feb-2005, 14:52
There's the line, "all that critics ever do is psychoanalyze themselves." I've seen it attributed to Hemingway, Picasso, and Stieglitz ... maybe a few other people said it too. I don't think that it's all that critics do, but it's sure part of it.

At Fotofest in Houston many years ago, where I had the oportunity to show work to dozens of curators, editors, and collectors from all over the world, it became clear what a Rorsach test photographs can be. After a while, it was rare for someone to point out something in my work that hadn't already been pointed out, but every single one of these people ended up revealing a lot about themselves, whether they knew it or not. The technical remarks (Is this a contact print?) and historical ones (obviously you've looked at a lot of _________) tend to be the least interesting. The personal and emotional ones are another story. You can really tell what people you'll connect with based on these reactions ... at least sometimes.

Mark Sawyer
23-Feb-2005, 19:40
>>>My favorite reactions are; "can I have this?", or "Is this for sale?".
That really says it all, for me. <<<

I just want people to stop asking "did you really do that on purpose?"

Peter Galea
23-Feb-2005, 20:15
My pet peave is when someone says, "that would be nice in color".