Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reconsidering


Stephanie and mustachioed gentleman at the Self-Realization Fellowship


How often do you re-evaluate your artistic process? I've realized that too much time has passed for me since I have reconsidered how I get my images from the negative to the paper. How the type of paper changes the way the image is perceived.  How I exhibit that print - framed? mounted? big? small? mat or no mat? alternative printing processes? There are so many options and I've been doing the same thing since college. I talked this over with Greg last night, he is so wonderful in the way he helps me sort out my thoughts.  There are lots of things I want to play around with, but I'm going to start with my printing and paper choices.

Maybe what I've been doing is the best approach for my work but I think that to grow as an artist and perfect my craft, I need to reevaluate this from time to time.

It's sad, but it seems since I've left college and entered the "real world", experimention and exploration of how I put my photos into the world has taken a back seat.  When I am lucky enough to get the opportunity to show my work, I stick with what works because of time and financial limitations.  I don't make prints of everything anymore like I used to, partially because I can see everything on my monitor (remember the days of only having contact sheets?!).  But it's also because I know they'll just sit in box and that seems wasteful.  Maybe it's not...maybe it is very worthwhile to keep my printing skills sharp.

I would love to hear from other photographers - what is your process? Do you make your own prints? Shoot film or digital? How are you printing? What are you printing on? Why do you chose the methods you do? Since I lost darkroom access, I have been scanning my negatives on an Epson V700 and printing on Epson Semi-Matte on a 3800.  My decision for this process was because it was the closest I felt I could get to my Endura N Surface C-prints.

I would especially like to hear paper recommendations from anyone... I want to experiment and see what's out there.  I know inkjet printing has come a LONG way.

If you have the time, shoot me an email [liz at lizcockrum dot com] or leave a comment. Maybe we can learn from each other :)

3 comments:

Greg Lantz said...

It's great to try to refine and redefine an old process. Try different measures of refinement. Maybe one week just try a few slightly different paper samples on the same image. Come up with a reason why one is better than the other.

Then maybe the next week, turn everything on it's head. Take pics of things you never normally would, or in a way you normally wouldn't.

Change the tools you use. If I play the acoustic guitar for 4 weeks straight and then play the electric guitar, I realize that they are not the same instrument and they must be played differently. But they have different qualities that change my perspective on both instruments when I shift between the two.

Along those lines, maybe you could use your dad's old camera for a month and print only on high gloss paper. Turn your world upside down and it will give you a fresh set of eyes for when you return to your "old world." Enjoy the ride!

Watson said...

Hi Liz
How do you like the scans from your Epson V700? Have you found the images break up once you reach a certain size.

Reading your post reminds me that I want to make print orders on a regular basis. It is very rewarding to hold work in your hand than to just view images on a monitor.

I job out my printing because the costs are much cheaper than ink and paper and the quality is still very high. The color is also very accurate and easy to control. More so than ever before. I do miss the paper selections from ink jet printing. Some of them feel like butter!

My only comment on the film vs digital = "They are just tools."

As I keep shooting, the more I want to experiment with other mediums. I think that is what can help my photography grow and move into a different direction. It is easy to stay in a comfort zone. Trying new things helps to break it up.

Watson

Miles O'Sullivan said...

I agree with Watson - "as I keep shooting, the more I want to experiment with other mediums."

You just have to go for it! If you think of a cool idea, write it down and think about what you need in order to accomplish it and then try it. I have little notebooks that fit in most of my pockets that I only use for writing ideas and inspiration for music, photography and writing.

Try printing on warm, stained rice papers - they can turn black and white photos into something completely different. Also Epson Velvet Fine Art paper is good to the touch, as well as MOAB bright white.