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Thread: Must your image be technical perfect ?

  1. #111

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    Re: Must your image be technical perfect ?

    My point about Atget is "technical" imperfection from a craft perspective. I've never seen his negatives but they are almost certainly mottled/blotchy/uneven due to his alleged tray/stand-development technique. Does that aspect of image/print quality have any effect - positive or negative - on the end results? Depends on who you ask, I suppose. Of course one could also argue he developed his negatives that way deliberately to get exactly the mottled effect he wanted, in which case they could be considered technically perfect. Who knows.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Atget - he was meticulously irreverent about scratching dates in his negs, but a compositional fanatic. The best ever in my opinion. The oddities seem quite deliberate, even studious, hardly sloppy. I've seen a lot of original Atget prints in person, and own the full four-volume Hambourg MMA set on Atget. But a lot of the "flaws" which people sterotype about his prints are actually due to poor storage - mold stain and foxing etc.

    Don't forget Steiglitz - obsessive about technique. Yeah, people will cite his little ladder tray development system his office closet and basic contact printing frame. But he went to great lengths to master gravure when it came to reproduction. I've seen what he considered as his master set of prints from that era, and anyone of his caliper who states, "There is only one best of anything" is pretty darn fussy.

    Strand was apparently the influence behind the f/64 crowd and AA, now seemingly so despised by some.

    Eggleston didn't print anything. But he was fussy about how they got printed. Going DT was not just for sake of better permanence in the eyes of collectors than chromogenic prints, but for sake of specific color repro. I believe some new editions of some of those old classics might get re-issued from the last commercial DT lab still standing, in Germany. Eggleston, despite the early "non-color" criticisms of him, actually had a rather sophisticated color eye. The intervening inkjet ones certainly lost all that earlier charm, and seem to me to be a capitulation to big for big's sake. I do know that Meyerowitz is having some of his early 35mm color street photography reissued in DT to specifically revive some of that early verve; his 8X10 work has an entirely different feel.

    But gosh - now attacking matboard cutting technique? Just in the last month I heard someone complaining about how poorly squared overmats annoyingly distracted them at a particular AA museum venue. Any neighborhood frame shop would go out of business in a month if they didn't know how to properly use a matcutter. Might as well be trying to sell new cars having flat tires.

  2. #112
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Must your image be technical perfect ?

    Michael - it seems original Atget prints still in good condition are quite rare. The few clean ones I have seen showed no mottling; maybe some edge surge issues. You'd need to ask an expert. But he had a long career mostly involving stock images of Paris, so who knows, especially since most of the books show digitally restored images. Lots of his existing original negs exhibit bad emulsion cracks, another storage issue. But I find people who try to mimic his quirks wannabee-style are probably even more pretentious than those who try to clone the technical craft and ZS of AA just for its own sake. Makes no difference to me. Compared to the kind of techniques, lenses, equipment, and film choices we have today, all of that seems relatively primitive. But they still tried to get ahold of the best lenses and cameras of their own times they could afford. And early color printing demanded much tighter attention to craft than even today. Think of Outerbridge and color carbro - no room for error.

    Atget's own clinging to an allegedly anachronistic print media and a simple old camera has been mythologized a bit too much. It's the tool kit he was deeply familiar with, and those prints were probably quite beautiful before they got badly mildewed. Right beside me at the moment is a framed 8x10 albumen contact print of my mother and her brother taken around 1915, likewise somewhat late for that particular medium - but what a lovely print it is! - and in this case, in perfect condition. Almost tempts me to learn albumen printing myself. But I've got too many projects already. Costs me too much already just to provide sufficient storage space, especially factoring hundreds of my own prints.
    Last edited by Drew Wiley; 26-Apr-2023 at 11:15.

  3. #113

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    Re: Must your image be technical perfect ?

    sharpness is everything, shadow detail not so much.


    And enlarging heavily and printing really shows that.

    But still, some imperfections are ok.

  4. #114
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Must your image be technical perfect ?

    Soft Focus

    I prefer to match my dimming sight
    Tin Can

  5. #115

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    Re: Must your image be technical perfect ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Torquemada View Post
    sharpness is everything
    I get the sense that you are saying this just to set up an argument. Sharpness only matters if it contributes something essential to the image.
    Last edited by paulbarden; 6-Dec-2023 at 16:09.

  6. #116
    multi format
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    Re: Must your image be technical perfect ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Torquemada View Post
    sharpness is everything, shadow detail not so much.


    And enlarging heavily and printing really shows that.

    But still, some imperfections are ok.
    I think it all has to do with taste and personal preferences like pretty much everything ..

  7. #117

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    Re: Must your image be technical perfect ?

    Quote Originally Posted by paulbarden View Post
    I get the sense that you are saying this just to set up an argument. Sharpness only matters if it contributes something essential to the image.
    I think most people find it easier to make a print from a negative, when the negative itself is in FOCUS,,, espescially SHARP FOCUS>

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