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Discussion in 'Printing' started by RT_Panther, Apr 25, 2012.
Why I Print
RT - thanks for sharing a very thoughtful, incisive and inspiring piece. Well done. I like this part in particular:
I think photographers.....need to live with their work. Not just on an iPad or laptop, but printed. Large. You need to feel it. Need to live with the lines and tones and moments. Feel the colours.
In short, it can return us to craft. It can focus us on more than the momentary experience of seeing a photograph on Facebook, and give the image the dignity of being created in the real world.
For me, this return to printing has pushed me back from the edge of laziness.
I purchased an artist's portfolio book last year so I could have a more organized way of presenting my photos at regular meetings of an art group I belong to. It's forced me to really hone in on the best and sharpest pieces of work. And it made my photography more REAL in a way it hasn't felt since I was developing my own film and making my own prints in a wet darkroom. And you are so right, there is nothing like the physical, tangible manifestation of a great image. Prints do return us to the craft of seeing and making images with light.
BTW, another good reference for the beauty of printing is the DVD War Photographer, a documentary on James Nachtwey, arguably one of the best photojournalists of our time.
... I vote for Larry Burrows.
So RT, why do you print?
For me, being a photographer in the film only days, printing was the line separating photographers from people with cameras.
With digital, I don't have to print to share my images, but I still print on occasion. Printing just feels good to me. Printing completes the photo circle as I first learned photography.
He's absolutely great, too, and as you know had a more tragic end. I have a great coffee table book with the best of his Vietnam War photos.
... Some people are not supposed to die in war, Burrows was one of those people.
Having grown up in the film era, the simple answer "because it's what I know".
The more complex answer is that I enjoy doing it. It gives me a tangible that I can access in seconds & take anywhere with me. Also, my wife does scrapbooks & such so 4x6s are always rolling off my printer. I also find that a single 4x6 is often as good if not better than a business card :smile:
But all in all, it's fun! :smile:
However good a picture looks on a computer screen it does not compare to a 16 x 12 print mounted, framed and hung on the wall.
Thanks for that reminder of what me miss out on. I just printed a 16x20 this week. First time I've ever printed a large digital image. I'll mat and frame it this weekend. It has beeen too long since I've "seen" my work. I look forward to retirement soon and am curious if I'll return to medium and large format B+W.
A. Someone said elsewhere (on a falconry forum) that his best day at work was not as good as his average days in retirement (he had a passion to leave work for). I've found that I had more than enough things to play with even in Nicaragua (perhaps especially since my Spanish isn't good enough for fluent gossip).
B. I love 16x20 -- it's big enough to see across a room and small enough that if the print is really good, I can get up close for the details. But I don't frame things (they're taped to the wall with loops of tape on the backs). We've got some good printers in Jinotega and I use them rather than do it myself.
I like the tangible nature of a print, something more than ones and zeroes on a hard disk. Last weekend there was a special on 8x12 prints over here and I got a large selection of photos printed out. 8x12 is not a large size I know, but every image that came from a Micro 4/3 camera stood up very well. The few shots with noticable noise were the ones from my Canons where I had added the grain myself :smile:.
Nic, buy a printer. I've switched from large Epsons to a large Canon 9500. The Canon has equal if not better results than from my Epsons costing 4x more.
At photographer gatherings over the years I've compared 13x19 my prints with commercial prints of equal size (MPix/Costco/et al) and while the difference isn't much, I found my home print was superior.
I've found an excellent lab in the UK which makes home printing uneconomic and uneccessary for me.
Don't know about the "unnecessary" part.
Making a print is the reason I push the button on the camera in the first place.
I like everything about photography. I like the cameras and the sound of a shutter. I like lenses, especially older precision machined manual lenses. I like finding or creating an image to capture. I like making the best ones the very best they can be (or as good as I can get them) on the computer. Sometimes I'm so anxious I watch them come off the the printer one millimeter at a time.
The payoff from all of this is seeing an image on a piece of paper with some white space around it hanging on the wall. It doesn't need a frame, although it may get one, but it does need a little space around it to set it off from everything else. Every once in while I make one that after some time I can look at and say "I really like this one".
I don't doubt it, Gary. I did find that the commercial prints didn't completely convey some of the subtleties in the shadows and highlights, but how much better they could have turned out I don't know. Even with the Canon you mention it's still a fair investment to setup and run a printer at home.
I am totally hooked on printing recently. It all started with my first Blurb Book. The quality was acceptable. It probably could be better with some upgrades. Then last year there was a coupon from Photobook Canada for I think $75 for a book size of 17.5 x 12 inch 80 pages. The quality was just amazing. The pages were nice and thick. Just looking at your own photos printed that big is really cool. I also signed up to Shutterfly and they keep sending me coupons. I don't like their books so much. Anyways they were having a discount for a 30x20" print for like $12 and a coupon of $10 off, shipping was $5 so I only paid like $7 for this huge print. I was a bit afraid that I did not have enough megapixels as this was taken with the GF1. Since I have the alienskin suite, I tried the BlowUp software which supposed to use some more advance algorithm to enlarge the resolution of the photo. I have no idea how it would compared if I did not use the software but I am satisfied with the end result. Well is a bit noisy here but the actual print is much better.
But Nic, you're well worth it.
Ha, thanks Gary
Outside of the initial cost of the printer, do you have any idea of what the running cost are (paper and ink)? Is it possible to guesstimate a "price per print" for a home printer setup?
I don't have any cost breakouts ... because I don't care. It is so pleasurable for me to print hands-on and in-house that I really don't care about the cost.
But, I do know that there is a ton of cost breakouts on the internet. I grow a ton of stuff in the backyard, because the results are professional and I find it pleasurable to garden ... not because I'm attempting to save money by undercutting the store or florist.
Find a small, 8x10-ish sized high quality photo printed. Buy a couple packages of paper, try Lustre by Kodak for color and some art/matte papers and see if you like it. Craig's List has printers coming out of its bum. You'll absolutely love your B&W's on an art paper.