Musings on Photography


Posted in process by Paul Butzi on June 17, 2008

When I was doing still developing film and printing in the darkroom, I usually had the stereo going in the darkroom while I was in there. There’s nothing more boring than processing film, and so the music would relieve the boredom somewhat.

When printing, though, the music served a different purpose. I rarely make straight prints, and one of the things I found helped getting the dodging and burning sequences right was playing music while I printed. Some music is good for printing, and there’s other music I like but didn’t play when printing. Some prints I worked out while playing some particular album or song, and now that song is linked with that print. In some cases my printing notes actually specify which music to play, to help get the dodge and burn sequence timed right. For example, the burning and dodging sequence for this photo is pretty complicated, and on my printing notes is a line that indicates that the easy way to get it right is to make the print by starting Rob Ickes recording of “Watermelon Man” on his album Slide City.

 Imgs 000918-18A-500

It probably means something that the print can only be made while listening to a recording of a Herbie Hancock jazz standard being played on dobro. I just wish I knew what that meaning is.

These days, though, it seems like I get more done by opening the windows and listening to the birds. It’s hard to know how much this is a result of moving to a quieter, more secluded place and how much is due to the change from printing in the darkroom (where timing and physical performance are issues) to printing digitally.

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  1. Anita Jesse said, on June 17, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    When I posted my photo of tall grass this morning, I knew it wasn’t art (just a casual shot taken mid-day from a shady spot on the porch), but I wasn’t embarrassed by it. Of course, that was before I checked your first post today and saw your photo of tall grass. Bummer.

  2. […] of the pleasures abandoned in moving into a digital […]

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