I've spent the past week selecting and editing an entirely new printed portfolio for my Los Angeles dog photography studio. Every artist is their worst critic, so as difficult as it is to sift through years of clients and hundreds and hundreds of negatives, there is an excitement I always get knowing that the culmination of my commissions is turning the moments I've found into a printed artifact. The printed photograph is a nearly sacred thing. When you hold a photograph, there is a physical and metaphyiscal weight which, for me, is truly intoxicating. The weight of my camera is beautiful, the weight of a gallon of developer concentrate is beautiful, the weight of a ziplock bag full of fresh film is beautiful. But nothing beats the crispness and weight of a printed photograph. As a fine art pet photographer, these are the things that I hold on to. In order to turn a negative into a print, the photographer must interact very closely with the image. It is not just a 'click and print,' or an 'apply pre-made Photoshop filter' or 'convert to black and white' and 'send to printer' etc. When I make a print I am talking to the viewer through every choice I make- specifically where I put my contrast, how my tones flow through the image, where there is crispness and where things fall off. It is as if I am pulling a story out of each negative, and placing that story on paper. That is the magic of a printed photograph. The story is told from negative to paper, and then sealed forever onto an object that can be touched and cherished and interacted with, full of the intentions of the artist. It is the final piece in the dialogue between artist and client.
What does a CD full of small digital images have over a true fine art photographic print? To be honest- I'm not really sure.