On printing…

Street & fine art photographer Olaf Szabata of Medium Format magazine pointed to this video, where fine art photographer John Sexton talks  about the worth of a print.  And although I enjoyed that video a lot, I don’t follow his notion, that the process is not finished until it exists in a print.  At least not in my world, but watch first…

Since you’re here, you know, I photograph concerts, which is a very different process from the fine art that is shown in that backlit flower from the feature. Photographing live music is chaotic, lacking control, you get pushed around while under sensual overflow. And with all intention that goes into every frame I take, I’m completely aware, that only a very small percentage of these will have the potential of a piece of art. You hunt for emotion, for poses with meaning, and you end up getting stands of pit, blinking eyes and faces distorted from their fast motion.

You can’t contemplate over the face the guitarist just made. It’s gone. Already outdated by twentythree different expressions and things that happened with the other band members and the audience, all in the amount of time it took to read this sentence.

I deliver my photographs in sets. If I could afford it, both time and financial wise, I’d at least create a zine of every show that I cover, but that’s just not doable. In a concert set, I take great care to cover each musician of a band with about the same amount of images – ok, the lead performer usually will get more, because that’s just the nature of the show – and it is self explanatory, that an image of e.g. a keyboard player in the back, who is neither moving nor showing much emotion or attachment to the music won’t be a piece of art that I’d hang on my wall. It still might be very important for that musician or a person attached to them and end on their wall though, and that’s why these images are part of the set.

The set covers a story of people grouping together to create something.
And as such, this set stands as a whole. You never can pull any image out there, stripping it from its context, and see it as a sole piece of art. And you can’t fine art print this whole set for each and every show. That’d be a whole exhibition for every concert you’d cover. Or wedding… imagine that.

That’s the one side.

But: To me, the print is the blessing that this one special image will receive. That image that stands out from all the other work. The kind of image you only create once or twice a year… if you’re lucky.

And for these, yes, I want full control. I want to live through the process of wasting $15 sheets of thick fine art paper and ink and the hurt of all the artist proofs, where the process failed at some step or the other. All to finally experience this silence and serenity that comes with holding that last print, the one that’s flawless, in your hand and just keep looking at it.

Don’t print „to save cost“. You won’t. Print for that last paragraph you just read.

To have a look at my own print showcase, click here or use the „Print“ link in the menu.

Chelsea Wolfe, Signed, A3 (ca. 16×11″) black & white fine art print by whitewall.de on Hahnemühle FineArt Pearl


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