Do you challenge you photographic assumptions?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Mainecoonmaniac, May 7, 2018.

  1. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber
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    I try to be the type of person that tries not to be dogmatic but at the same time, try not to compromise on my personal values. As I get older, it's harder to keep a flexible and open mind. Photography has been my passion for over 40 years. I've grown to love photographers that I didn't care for when I was in my 20's. My taste has matured where I embrace new photographer's styles, processes, and new technology. I've had a darkroom for over 30 years and now I have little time to use it from being too busy. I still prefer silver gelatin prints over inkjet prints.

    A couple of weeks ago, I went to Paul Kitagaki's exhibition on Japanese internment during WWII. All the prints were done on an inkjet printer and they're just beautiful. Of course, I had slight criticism about how some of the prints were slightly cooler than others, but silver gelatin prints are like that too. This show changed my mind about digital prints. My brother was generous enough a few years back to give me a Canon Pro 100 printer. Most of the printing is for digital negs for alt processes and prints for friends and family. I never made any prints for myself and I would have never made any digital prints for exhibitions. I've known for years that galleries and museums do display digital prints.

    To make a long story short, I've changed my mind about digital prints but I still appreciate silver gelatin prints. Have any of you challenged your assumptions about photography lately?
     
  2. Vaughn

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    Last month I was in Zion National Park during a thunderstorm late in the afternoon. I jumped in the van and headed to the eastside of the park and watched water pour down the rocks, dry streams come alive and such. I have never appreciated the over-saturated reds of many digital prints I have seen, but I saw some of those electric reds in the wet late afternoon/early evening light...so I will now look at digital prints a little differently and at least give them a chance.
     
  3. jtk

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    I only print digital (Canon Pro-10, several Epson's previously). My impression is that people with negative attitudes toward inkjet rarely have looked for good examples.

    Inkjet can be more subtle (or dramatic if that ring's your bell) and incredibly accurate. In the old days with Ektacolor some people used to print "ring arounds" to get closer to what they wanted...inkjet can be treated that way. Inkjet also really does benefit by a little involvement with basic Photoshop or similar.

    There are many excellent inkjet papers..my favorites have been Ilford Gold Fiber Silk (really a semi-gloss..no "silk" fabric texture) and Crane Museo...but I've just discovered Epson Legacy Baryta and will probably standardize on that. In the US itsupply.com has been my best paper source for around ten years.

    The worst thing about inkjet is the cost of pigment. I just printed a half dozen mostly black images...my wallet screamed as the printers remaining ink indicator plummeted due to the heavy ink load required by the image. In my experience with non-OEM inks/pigments, the biggest cost (with Epson) was printer replacement.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
  4. slackercrurster

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    OP, I try to keep an open mind...but you know how photogs are.
     
  5. blockend

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    A Martin Parr exhibition two years ago featured digital and silver prints. Most of the prints were very large, and all of them excellent. My prejudice against home digital printing is cost, as I use an online printer who regularly has offers for 12 x 9" prints for around 50p. These may not compete with the best home prints - it's a while since I printed my own - but they're very good and the equal of many I see at club photography shows.

    Digital printing is a medium I just can't get excited about, and as someone with a lifetime of darkroom know-how I'm happy to leave it to smarter heads and commercial machines.
     
  6. awty

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    A good picture is a good picture, like wise with a bad picture, but a picture made by hand to me will always be superior .
     
  7. darkosaric

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    I like to hold my prints in hands while looking at them. Therefore FB silver gelting print wins over inkjet and over RC papers. I do use RC from time to time, and inkjet sometimes in small prints for proofing.

    About challening - I always used prime lenses, but latelly I have found myself to be happy with plastic fantastic 28-80, the whole trip to Japan I had on my Nikon F3 only 28-80 lens. Before I would bring 50mm, 105mm, maybe also 200mm and some wide.
     
  8. RalphLambrecht

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    I came to the same conclusion after buying an Epson 3880;just never too old to learn a new trick.You just enhanced your photographic tool box; nothing wrong with that.
     
  9. jnanian

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    i am a reformed film zealot.
    i HATED digital and scanning and everything that
    is remotely related to it .. i was pretty cranky
    but in a couple of decades i have
    come to the realization that it really isn't as bad as i thought.
    ( and is actually kind of fun )
     
  10. Ko.Fe.

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    FB paper of good size is out of my pricing range. Once I'll finish all of my darkroom paper I'll start to write comments and posts how good inkjets are.
     
  11. +1
    I agree on all counts. For some reason I do not running or walking three blocks to buy more ink at Staples on a regular basis.
     
  12. darkosaric

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    Out of interest - I just checked prices of inkjet A3 papers - pack of 40 pieces is around 12 euro. So 15 euro for 50 A3 prints, while FB Fomabrom is 85 euro for 50x of 30x40cm size.
    Big question is - how much are the costs of the ink for 50 A3 prints?
     
  13. OP
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    Mainecoonmaniac

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    I have to admit that silver gelatin prints were always better until I saw monochrome inkjet prints. I'm experimenting printing my own work on my Canon Pro 100. So far I'm not disappointed. Except when there's a weird color cast. But it's nice not having to set up chemistry in my darkroom.
     
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  15. MattKing

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    The people I know who do really high quality digital prints spend a lot of money on ink and paper, and the printers they use tend to be both expensive and either relatively short lived or require regular, expensive maintenance (or both).
    The people I know who do really high quality optically enlarged from film "silver gelatin" darkroom prints spend a lot of money on paper, a moderate amount on chemicals, and tend to already own expensive equipment that nowadays can be obtained with care and patience for relatively little money on the used market. That optical enlargement equipment is mostly easy and cheap to maintain.
    I even know people who do high quality work with both.
    The common thread between these "high quality print" folks has a lot more to do with their skill, dedication, knowledge and talent than it does with how much they spend, but they do tend to spend a lot.
    The one advantage that the inkjet crowd is enjoying is one that formerly was enjoyed by us darkroom printers - there is an explosion of variety in the paper stocks available. For that I truly envy them.
    I still enjoy the advantage that us darkroom printers enjoy when it comes to post-printing manipulation of image tone. I get a kick out of the versatility of toning.
    So in part answer to the OP's question, I'm happy to let my assumptions be challenged by my experiences.
     
  16. Ko.Fe.

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    Sorry....
    First; I have no idea what is in Euro. Second, A3 is not my size.
    I print Letter size and 8x10. Heavy weight, double sided inkjet paper Letter sized is 30 for hundred. Hundred of 8x10 is 200 for FB.
    Inkjet inks are next to nothing where I'm and hundred $ printer lasts for years with weekly printing.

    We will see threads like this after Ilford price increase on darkroom paper. Greed doesn't have to be tolerated then alternative is available for ten times less.
     
  17. MattKing

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    The high quality digital prints I refer to in my earlier post come from ink sets that cost hundreds of dollars. Those photographers are using inkjet printers that cost hundreds and hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
    The consumer grade inks and printers are very different. Just as in the day there was a real difference between most mini-lab prints and prints from custom pro labs.
     
  18. When I first started making scans and prints digitally I discovered that it was very costly. I looked at Craig's list and found the same enlarger that I used after hours at Kodak on sale at a good price. Intuitively I figured out what Matt stated and that launched me on a path to an analog darkroom which was not costly to set up or use. And back then I liked the quality of the prints much better. To switch now would be costly and I am not interested.
     
  19. Poisson Du Jour

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    Colour casts, cross-over, K and W impurities and channel over-enrichment are common user — not printer, faults.
    RA-4, but especially and giclée prints, require expertise in colourimetrics, profiling and media matching (the variety of media available at this time is truly bewildering yet each has its unique look and ideal purpose). That has never been a secret, nor a revelation. These specialist skills will not come naturally to home / amateur photographers with consumer-level printers. In the case of Epson's gigantic Chromira printers, mastering input/output colourimetrics and profiling (particularly for slides, but applicable to all input media) is an essential first step, and Epson (among others) provides training in this. I can see why so many amateurs are barking smugly about "stinkjets" and poor or inteferior results, obviously because they have absolutely no idea of the technology behind the print. The very best prints coming from either RA-4 or giclée are never cheap, nor lacking in technology to guarantee lasting viewing satisfaction.
     
  20. OP
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    Mainecoonmaniac

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    Very true. I work at a university art photo lab that has both analog and digital labs. We took out the RA4 processor but the only wet lab is for processing silver prints. The cost of ink jet prints, ink and computers is a money pit. The administrators worry how to keep the labs running. Now, we pay Adobe $20/mo for each work station. We have 40+ computers. There's also the cost of techs at over $100k/year. The analog side of the curriculum is cheaper but the expense of the digital side does not result in better images.
     
  21. Poisson Du Jour

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    RA-4 might just be coming to an end, but I really cannot say for certain, but changes are happening. The lab that I have been printing with for 10 years now has recently (February this year) disposed of its RA-4 printer, due to the machine's age, costly upkeep and the odour of chemicals permeating every corner of the building. Because of the urgency of my backlogged work, the lab team defaulted to producing Ilford prestige metallic gloss giclée prints; that threw me. I was not aware they were giclée until they told me!! :redface:

    There other other labs still providing RA-4 printing (involving considerably more travel over what is desirable), so I am well into investigating and assessing a complete migration to giclée, simply because the technology and variety of the media is superior to the narrow media range of RA-4.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
  22. MattKing

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    My only response to this is that for me, I obtain much more satisfying results from the lab produced RA-4 prints than anything I've obtained from a lab running ink jet materials.
    That may be a result of my own preferences - wide colour gamut isn't nearly as important as subtle colour - or a result of my relative ineptitude with digital tools.
    But I sure am happy with the RA-4 prints I can get from digital files and, when I choose them, optical prints.
     
  23. RalphLambrecht

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    In my case, the Epson ink about doubles the cost of the print; write-offs not included.
     
  24. jtk

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    You may be aware that " giclée" is/was a term that was used for marketing of inkjet prints. It's not accepted by fine photo galleries because of that deception factor (tho tourist galleries persist). Ilford has a fine array of papers as does Epson, but Canon's Platinum is remarkable if you like high gloss, and many of the traditional non-photo art paper manufacturers produce coated versions of their best watercolor papers. And there's Japanese rice paper and very interesting/challenging Nepalese paper. Crane. Hahnemeule. on and on. check out www.itsupply.com.
     
  25. Vaughn

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    I find listening to myself to be enlightening. I hear myself say "I always do this"...or "I never do that" -- that is a good indication that perhaps I should consider doing the opposite. Sometimes I find out the reason(s) I say it, but sometimes I find out it was just a habit.
     
  26. Cholentpot

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    Cellphones are the P&S of our day. They'll get spectacular results in the right hands. Or even the wrong hands that get lucky.

    There. I said it.
     
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