Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/10/18

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Re: dry & wet darkroom :-()-:
From: "B. D. Colen" <>
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 10:07:56 -0400

God, Martin, but I hate to say you are dead wrong...;-)...But I will...As
Tina points out, today's quadtone prints are not yesterday's "computer
prints," they are art prints in and of themselves. And far more important is
the fact that this silver v platinum v bubble jet v Piezography v crayon
debate is utterly meaningless to anyone other than a handful of hobbyists,
fine art photo collectors, and perhaps Susan Sontag. :-)...The only thing
that matters to anyone else is - do I like the photo? Will it fade? Can I
afford it?

B. D.

- -----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Martin
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 5:52 PM
Subject: Re: [Leica] Re: dry & wet darkroom :-()-:

Tina Manley jotted down the following:

> No! No! No!  This is totally the wrong attitude to have!  Your price
> have more to do with your creativity and talent than with your
> expenses.  If your darkroom print is worth $800, then your computer print
> is worth that or more.
> [...]
> I charge the same or more for my Piezography prints that I do for my
> darkroom prints and no one has questioned the price or the process.

I have to disagree.  The price of a photograph reflects many things.
Perhaps the major component is the psychological effect of supply and
demand: you price it at whatever the market can bear.

Other components are the standing of the photographer: HCB can sell his
prints for more than I can sell mine.  Yet another component is the
technology used.  You'd expect to pay more for a platinum-palladium print
than for a silver-gelatin one.  And, therefore, you'd expect to pay more for
a fine fibre-based silver-gelatin print than for an ink-jet one.

Photography is problematic in that it is potentially possible to reproduce
an infinite number of any one negative.  One of the appeals (reflected in a
higher price) of the traditional darkroom print is that they are handmade.
Each one is subtly different from another.  I witnessed Costa Manos at the
LHSA meet selling one of his prints to a customer and the customer was
choosing between two prints of the same negative.  One had a fractionally
lighter sky and he eventually chose that one.  The fact that they were
individual, handcrafted works of art made them more valuable to the customer
than if they'd been absolutely identical ink-jet prints.

A final component is longevity.  I don't think the final word has been said
about ink-jet, piezography, or any of the newer processes compared to an
archivally processed fibre print.  Personally, I'd pay a bit extra as

It all depends, of course, of the final use.  But if I was going to produce
prints for mounting and display, I would go with (a higher priced)
traditional silver-gelatin print.  Ink-jets are a great learning tool, a
good way of (relatively) quickly putting together a portfolio for display or
to send to someone, but if the final use is museum display (or the
equivalent, even if not in a museum) silver-gelatin is the way to go.  And I
consider charging the same amount for piezography (or more!) to be an odd


- --
Martin Howard                | "Once you understand the process of co-
Visiting Scholar, CSEL, OSU  | ordination, it's much easier to avoid.
email:    | Knowledge is power."  -- K. Christoffersen.
www:   +--------------------------------------------

Replies: Reply from Tina Manley <images@InfoAve.Net> (Re: [Leica] Re: dry & wet darkroom :-()-:)