Musings on Photography


Posted in digital printing, process by Paul Butzi on June 17, 2008

I’m never sure whether it’s better for me to answer questions in the comments right in the comments, or in another post.

Anyway, these questions seem to be more general, so I’ll just write another post.

Sean asks

How often do you print? And are you finding the time between printing sessions longer than they were? I find it too easy to accumulate digital images and do little or nothing with them – unless I load them up on the web.

Related to this, how would it work if the digital images you took were modified and displayed on the web in a manner that approached the way in which they would print out?

I try to make prints at least once a week, because that seems to keep the printer happy. But that’s not really what you want to know – what you want to know is how long does it go before I have a printing binge. Generally that’s about once a month. That’s about how long I would go between runs of darkroom sessions as well, although I generally fired up the darkroom every couple of weeks just to keep in practice – yet again keeping the printer in trim.

I like prints, and so far I haven’t gotten to the point where I’m willing to live without them. There are a lot of limitations to web display, let alone to display on a big monitor.

Paul, I’d be interested in what you have to say w.r.t. your enjoyment of the different phases. Particularly since you mention that you need to be in the mood to work well.

Oh, I enjoy it all. I like being out with the camera, and I like sitting at the computer editing images even more than I liked working in the darkroom – and I enjoyed working in the darkroom quite a lot. The only part of the photographic process I’ve never liked was processing film – it’s a perfectly horrid combination of being deadly boring and requiring great care to avoid mistakes and get the best possible results. Processing film is a task for which robots are admirably suited, and if I could have justified the price and space, I’d have bought an automated Jobo to process all my film.

The thing of it is that the various tasks are different, and I’m often in the mood for one when I’m quite definitely not in the mood for the others. The fact that I can let work accumulate at any stage definitely works in my favor.

4 Responses

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  1. Kjell Harald said, on June 17, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    This sounds very familiar to me. I too accumulate work at different stages and do it when I am in the mood. Well, most of the time. It may happen that I go out to shoot, and then immediately starts to process and print when I get home, but that is only on rare occasions. And after all, why should I do it differently. It is something I do for the fn and joy of it, so I try to maximize the joy in every step. Doing stuff I don’t want to do, at times I’m not in the mood to do it is what I get paid for at my day time job. Not that I don’t like my work, but like everyone else I have to do some boring stuff as well.

  2. Sean said, on June 17, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Many thanks for your reply – and I think your answers work well as new posts.

    The reason for asking these questions (and this is after I have further reflected on my questions!) is that I have been thinking about producing digital work for screen display in such a way that it would – if it could – approximate to how it would appear in print. To somehow combine the two methods of display. And your post, as well as the other comments left, has pushed me towards further reflecting on this issue. Which is always a good thing. Thankyou.

    Best, Sean.

  3. Billie said, on June 18, 2008 at 7:42 am

    Like the picture this morning. I can’t pass up an umbrella. It seems to me that there are always a lots of ways to ‘picture’ an umbrella. So I can never make just one. One calls for another and another. Did you make just the one….the one shown above?

  4. Paul Butzi said, on June 18, 2008 at 7:49 am

    Did you make just the one….the one shown above?

    No, of course not. I made a whole bunch, and then dithered at length over which one I liked best.

    There are times when I make just the one exposure, but they’re rare. And with an umbrella, there are just too many variables to explore.

    I think this one was the last exposure I made, out of perhaps 6 or eight slightly different arrangements.

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