This is going to be one of those Neal venting blogs. No, not against the current state of photography on line where so much of it is so bad, or not against "authorities" who put out wrong information that is misleading and damaging, or not about landscape work that is oversaturated and over sharpened. No, none of those things.
This one's going to be at my own self, as I have done almost nothing but print for two weeks since returning from Iceland. I have written recently about "mining the work". That phase when going through way too much work to edit it and get it down to a manageable group of photographs that say something, that present work that is cohesive and direct. Mining Your Work
But this one is about once you get into making the actual prints, the decisions you make, the paths you go down and the final results once finished. Lots of chances to do this wrong! I feel like I've made many many bad decisions in printing the past two weeks. My error? I went down a path of size verses sharpening decisions that, looking back on it, mean that given the opportunity I went wrong instead of right. Now, after days wasted, I am back on track and printing well again, but really, you'd think I would know better. I have wasted ink, paper and time and it ticks me off.
How can you avoid myriad pitfalls in making prints? If you know, drop me an email as this seems like a necessary evil sometimes. We certainly do need to look at different ways to present our work. And it seems a requirement to look at ways we can be better technically. This can be using a new or different tool, a plug in, a new way to get our pictures to look the way we want.
Very often we get into a "system" where we are practicing what worked before instead of tailoring the prints we make to the imagery we've shot. This can seriously mess up what we do as artists and makes our prints generic by holding them to some standard printing norm. That's probably not making art but making production prints. Not so good. I believe you should not be timid about making your own prints your own prints. In analog days we used to call this way of printing making an "expressive print". Still holds true today.
Now that I am back on track printing-wise I have been working with some interesting and new color palettes for me: some variations on green on some pictures from Iceland and blue and yellow made just this past weekend. These aren't specific bodies of work that address only these colors but their color plays a large part. Am I colorist? I suppose I am.
from Iceland and:
from the Shaker Village at Canterbury, NH. Some of you know of my fondness for the Lensbaby and I have shot at the Canterbury Shaker Village many times but never with this most unique and unusual lens. The Lensbaby tilts and pivots, giving you the ability to specify where things will be rendered sharp and where they will not.