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David Blanchard

When it comes to a print I made, I think of it as Artist or Photographer (depending on your preference) made. When I have a print made by a print service, I avoid the subject.

When it comes to "art", I think it is all "mindmade" and the product (print, statue, book) is just an imperfect attempt at reproduction.


Yes, yes this is all very well Brooks.

Handmade, mind made etc , etc it made makes no difference in the light of an unmovable economic force , which of course impacts creativity and inspiration ... for instance did you know :

The top 5 percent of households in Washington, D.C., made more than $500,000 on average last year, while the bottom 20 percent earned less than $9,500 - a ratio of 54 to 1.

Tim Layton

I find myself with a range of emotions when reflecting about this article. I think in one of your earlier articles from many years ago, you talk about all of our prints end up in a shoebox somewhere anyway. I think I have come to terms with my 35 year love affair with photography. I would never compare myself to a painter, because that would be silly. I also would not compare myself to a novelist or author. All of these talents are part of a larger creative process and this is what I believe is the common thread.

I get more out of the process and experience than viewers of my prints ever could. I will never be famous and if I had to rely on my fine art print sales to eat, I would have perished long ago. When I look at large format chromes on my light table that I did 20 or even 30 years ago, I am instantly taken back to that point in time. The viewing experience when looking at these magical pieces of film is unlike anything I have experienced in the digital realm.

I work with my hands in the darkroom when making gelatin silver prints or making ambrotypes or a vintage van dyke, salt, or albumen print on watercolor paper. I think this distinction of working with real objects and tools with my hands versus doing the same concepts on a computer is what is different for me. The experience is different and the output is different. I have no desire to claim if one is better than the other, nor do I care. I love developing black and white sheet film.... I love making proper proofs in the darkroom and then mapping out a strategy to dodge and burn the image until it meets my vision. I love the smell of the chemicals and touching the wet prints. I love flattening my fiber prints with my press and then mounting them on archival mat board. I love all of it to include my aching back from standing on my feet for hours when making prints. Comparing that experience to using my Nikon D800 and printing the exact same image on ink paper is like comparing an in person experience at the symphony versus listening to the exact same score on my iPod.

In the end, I am part of photography because of the joy that I receive from participating in the creative process. I simply define the process as most enjoyable for me when I am working optically, versus digitally. I am sure we can find many people that never want to set foot in the darkroom again, and that is okay too.

Thanks for the article.

Kind regards,

Tim Layton


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