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Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

 

“Our autobiography is written in our contact sheets,  and our opinion of the world in our selects”  

"Never ever confuse sharp with good, or you will end up shaving with an ice cream cone and licking a razor blade."  

 

Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 

 

Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."

 

I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!

 


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Prints
Old 01-08-2018   #1
Bill Pierce
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Prints

Yesterday, when we were discussing the relative small number of megapixels needed to make a good screen image and the fact that I still yearned for a medium format 50 megapixel kit that cost just short of $12,000, Icebear sent a message saying, “I take it this is a little tongue in cheek to get the thread going.” The answer is yes… and no.

Certainly our internet needs can be met with small sensor cameras that don’t have some huge megapixel count. And the great majority of family images, news pictures, advertising, e.t.c., now appear on the web. That means they appear for the most part on uncalibrated monitors of varying quality that usually don’t even have the brightness adjusted. This is not a tragedy. Most of these pictures are important for their content, hardly for their subtle nuances of tonality. But I do remember when I first posted images on the web and then saw them on other people’s computers. I saw the high key version, the low key version, the contrasty version, the flat version, the totally weird tonality version and my version. Oh yes, and that special pad and phone category, extremely small. A few of the pictures held up, sort of. But a lot that weren’t based on some sort of high impact content were diminished to the point where they certainly wouldn’t touch or move a viewer, certainly not in their busy office.

For the most part, people accept the fact that looking at a reproduction of a painting, even in a high quality book, much less on an uncalibrated computer screen, is not like looking at the original.

Both Gene Smith and Ansel Adams made prints for publication that were slightly different from their exhibition prints, pictures that had a little extra shadow detail and highlight detail to compensate for the losses in reproduction. That kind of control is not possible on the web.

There are strong arguments for making prints. They will be your version of the image, not the dark version, the contrasty version or the small version - your version out of the many possible. And, if you are the master of your craft, it will be, at least in your eyes, the beautiful version.

And here comes the argument for the many big megapixels. Film cameras range in image size from the 8 x 11 mm Minox to huge view cameras. Half frame through 8 x 10 inch are common. Photographers make big prints from little negatives, small prints from big negatives and, of course, small prints from small negatives and big prints from big negatives. Edward Weston made contact prints even when he occasionally downsized to 4x5. Richard Avedon made some prints that were so big his printer had to use the Modernage mural facilities. Photographers shoot 35, 120, 4x5, 8x10 and make whatever size prints they want. Big prints from little negatives aren’t always super sharp, but sometimes they can be very powerful. Medium size prints from big negatives can be super sharp and sometimes that’s one of the reasons the they can be powerful.

I remember seeing some large prints, probably 5 or 6 feet on the long dimension, of war images made with relatively early DSLRs. They were not very sharp. They were very powerful. I have seen large prints, not of landscapes or architecture, but people full figure and tight head. They were extremely detailed and exceptionally powerful. They were shot by different photographers who all used 8 x 10 film cameras. But I know that in the future those pictures, landscapes and portraits, will be taken on a large format digital camera. They probably already have. I just haven’t seen them. Sometimes fine details and subtle textures aren’t important; sometimes they are. Sometimes little prints are right; sometimes big prints are right. It’s your call. Film photographers have had a variety of cameras, a variety of their equivalent of sensor size, to choose from. So should digital photographers who print their work. Some folks will foolishly spend money on sensor size just to say, “Mine is bigger than yours.” Some will wisely spend money on sensor size so they can make that big print of the tree as beautiful as possible. And some will shoot with their cel phone, and that’s OK.

As always, your thoughts?
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Old 01-08-2018   #2
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Bill,

Not many print. The costs can be huge, especially if you tend to print a lot or big.

I can tell you I can print what I can't see on a calibrated EIZO in a darkened room with the EIZO dimmed down to say 50-80 Lux. My prints reveal more shadow detail than I can see on the EIZO. It came as an epiphany to me one day when I compare a print to the image on my EIZO. Not sure if many people have discovered this. Basically you can print what you cannot see.

Anyways I learned that at Digital Silver Imaging there is a softness revealed on their silver wet prints, even though they use a laser. Seems that because of the use of projection for enlargement that this edge softness is an artifact.

I think the ultimate wet print is made via contact printing.

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Old 01-08-2018   #3
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I'm a big fan of large format film cameras (for B&W work), not that I own any, but simply because I believe you can get finer tonal gradations with an 8x10 negative, as opposed to a 35mm negative. That's the big draw to large format film for me.

I've never considered that a larger megapixel sensor, especially in a standard 35mm Full Frame format, will give you finer tonal gradations, maybe it does. But that is the only reason I'd be interested in something bigger than the 16-20MP digital cameras I already own.

I could see maybe a Hasselblad Medium Format sensor (6 x 6 sensor) could give finer tonal gradations, and that would naturally have a higher megapixel count (than 35mm full frame), but again, I don't have any experience with those.

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Old 01-08-2018   #4
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Having it printed is old tradition in our family. My wife mother has prints which are century+ now. We always had it on prints in film era. And printed once it became dominant by digital.

I print on 8x10 in DR and on letter size by inkjet. 135 film is sufficient and 2800 pixels on long side (200 dpi) is very sufficient.
I like to print for framing or on smaller sizes for albums. Letter, 8x10 or smaller are cost effective and easy to frame, mount.
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Old 01-08-2018   #5
Erik van Straten
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I make silver-gelatine prints from Leica-negatives. I have a Focomat IIc enlarger. I dry the prints on a very old, but huge, Büscher. Formats 24x30cm and 30x40cm.

Erik.
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Old 01-08-2018   #6
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I use Ilford when I wish to have something printed.
I send them the file which they expose using lasers on photographic paper which is then wet developed.

I have no idea what this system is called but I like the results.
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Old 01-08-2018   #7
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I make and sell large prints. I can make 16x20 prints with my Epson p800, and YES pixels matter. The early digital photos I made with a Nikon D70 (6mp) simply look like crap printed that big. The photos just fall apart. My Canon 5DmkII (20mp) files print nicely at 16x20, but that take some stretching of the files to get there. I want the Canon 5Ds (50mp) and I know with the work I do and the prints I make and sell, that it would be useful for me.
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Old 01-08-2018   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Markey View Post
I use Ilford when I wish to have something printed.
I send them the file which they expose using lasers on photographic paper which is then wet developed.

I have no idea what this system is called but I like the results.
The advantage of this system is that you can adapt the histogram, just as with scanning, and with that image make old fashioned wet prints.

Perhaps there is no market for laser-enlargers. I have never seen one offered.

The advantage of old-fashioned silver/gelatin prints is that they are much more durable than anything else.

Erik.
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Old 01-08-2018   #9
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The advantage of old-fashioned silver/gelatin prints is that they are much more durable than anything else.
Not sure that's true, but I don't feel like wasting a lot of time running down the numbers. It also doesn't tell you very much about the quality of the image itself.
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Old 01-08-2018   #10
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Not sure that's true.

For black and white, silver prints are more archival IF they're on Fiber Base paper AND they're processed properly.

The inks used in inkjet prints will eventually fade, though current pigment inks are very durable. Silver-gelatin images are made of tiny particles of silver metal, so as long as the print was properly processed and the print is not exposed to atmospheric pollution, the prints will never fade.
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Old 01-08-2018   #11
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I print 6x9 and 12x18 sizes on 8.5x11 and 13x19 paper. Reasonable sizes for APS-C and smaller formats. I print on matte finish rag fiber inkjet papers, mostly B&W these days but older digital pix were color. I don't much care for viewing photos on a monitor. I like tactile, tangible things and prints satisfy this desire. Besides, I love prints. I guess that's why I never make the effort to post any of my photos online--they don't look as good to me as they do in a print so why bother when the picture won't look its best.

Some of my older digital photos were done with small sensor compact cameras. These prints definitely show their technical limitations. They may not be technically optimal but they don't look like crap to me. But then I also have an old photo framed that I dearly love done on a store brand disposable film camera and the technical limitations are secondary to the subject and the moment in time. I love a sharp picture with creamy gray tones and perfect highlights and shadows with depth. But I also like photos that set a mood or convey an emotion over technical perfection.

Photography is many things to many people and these things change constantly. I can understand the enjoyment others get from posting photos online, emailing them to family and friends and just looking at albums on their phones or tablets. I prefer prints.
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Old 01-08-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
For black and white, silver prints are more archival IF they're on Fiber Base paper AND they're processed properly.

The inks used in inkjet prints will eventually fade, though current pigment inks are very durable. Silver-gelatin images are made of tiny particles of silver metal, so as long as the print was properly processed and the print is not exposed to atmospheric pollution, the prints will never fade.
If stored in the dark. Pigment inks also last a long time if stored in the dark. Where no one sees them.

Hell, I don't expect my photos to last forever. Petroglyphs and pictographs fade in time and they're done in stone.
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Old 01-08-2018   #13
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I print. Mostly from medium format because of my professional climbing & skiing mountain activities, but also from 5"x7" for landscapes & the occasional portrait. I bought a Leica MP (film) again because I had too many nice iPhone photographs that were dead ends for me. If I couldn't print in the dark room, i'd stop taking photographs altogether & spend that time on playing music which is my other great life interest.
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Old 01-09-2018   #14
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Quote:
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If stored in the dark.
Not true, depends on the light. An exposure for many years by direct sunlight is not good for fiber based gelatin/silverprints, I agree, but that light finally destroys everything, as we all know.

Erik.
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Old 01-09-2018   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
It also doesn't tell you very much about the quality of the image itself.
Here's Flickr a big help. Bad photos get bored after a while. Viewing the work regularly on Flickr helps you choose the work you want to print.

Erik.
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Old 01-09-2018   #16
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I make and sell prints on fiber paper up to 20x24"
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Old 01-09-2018   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
For black and white, silver prints are more archival IF they're on Fiber Base paper AND they're processed properly.

The inks used in inkjet prints will eventually fade, though current pigment inks are very durable. Silver-gelatin images are made of tiny particles of silver metal, so as long as the print was properly processed and the print is not exposed to atmospheric pollution, the prints will never fade.
I agree with Chris.

The only ink jet exception is perhaps Piezography. These inks for B&W are all carbon based and should be as archival as say a charcol or pencil drawing. No color pigment is used, thus no fading.

The color most prone to fading and the least permanent is red.

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Old 01-09-2018   #18
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I recently bought a P800, thinking I would start printing more and larger. But it's too darn expensive. I'm considering selling it and moving to books instead. For the cost of a box of paper I can have a book printed. I know the quality won't be as good, but I work on projects more than single images, so I think this makes more sense. Two or three books a year, and a costly device out of my life sounds pretty good.

John
John,

I use and maintain two printers: an Epson 3880; and an Epson 7800. The costs are huge. On a 24 inch by 50 foot roll I only get 16 prints when I print 20x30 on 24x36. One year I took advantage of discount sale pricing and spent $10K on paper and ink alone.

Then there are additional costs of storage boxes for these prints.

As far as books go might I suggest utilizing your printer to create an art book. Perhaps learn book binding. Something about the IQ of a hand made book and the artistic vision.

I print on Canson Baryta Photographique which is cellulose and cost effective, but I love the feel of Canson Platine Fibre Rag. Robert Rodriguez, who is the Canson Artist-In-Residence, says that behind glass these two papers look pretty much the same, but if the prints ar to be held in the hand that the Fibre Rag has that special tactile sense.

Also consider boxed sets instead of books for your work.

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Old 01-09-2018   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
...But I do remember when I first posted images on the web and then saw them on other people’s computers. I saw the high key version, the low key version, the contrasty version, the flat version, the totally weird tonality version and my version. Oh yes, and that special pad and phone category, extremely small. A few of the pictures held up, sort of. But a lot that weren’t based on some sort of high impact content were diminished to the point where they certainly wouldn’t touch or move a viewer, certainly not in their busy office.

...
This is frustrating. Even for the relatively low percentage of people who use color managed web browser platforms. how many also use calibrated monitors?

Also, the importance of small image impact is a relatively new twist.

Many newer mobile displays have outstanding performance. The device display size is less of an issue than making people want to view the full-screen version.

I quit using Flickr, but it taught me a something about how to photograph the thumb-nail images people were likely to click on. This helped me with my interiors photography clients.
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Old 01-09-2018   #20
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I'm not sure if book is doable with ink printer. Maybe laser printer?
I'm printing background on pages for album, those are scrapbook paper. Twenty five pages with one 4x6 darkroom print on each... it is already as thick and heavy as photo book .
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Old 01-09-2018   #21
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Also, the importance of small image impact is a relatively new twist.
Never seen 6x9 contacts prints from the past? They sell them in quantities at antique malls now.
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Old 01-09-2018   #22
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Quote:
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I agree with Chris.

The only ink jet exception is perhaps Piezography. These inks for B&W are all carbon based and should be as archival as say a charcol or pencil drawing. No color pigment is used, thus no fading.

The color most prone to fading and the least permanent is red.

Cal
There's other options as well for both color and monochrome work.

For instance Fuji Crystal Printing materials use silver halide chemistry and are deigned for use with professional lab laser printers.

For B&W one option is the DSI Digital Silver Print. This technique uses a photographic laser printer to expose Ilford silver gelatin papers. The print is then developed using wet chemistry.

There are other several other options for laser-based printing that avoid the pitfalls of older technologies.
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Basically, I mean, ah—well, let’s say that for me anyway when a photograph is interesting, it’s interesting because of the kind of photographic problem it states—which has to do with the . . . contest between content and form.
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Old 01-09-2018   #23
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Never seen 6x9 contacts prints from the past? They sell them in quantities at antique malls now.
I have not. Why would I be interested?

I used tiny 35mm film contact sheets to guide my analog printing. After a while you learn how a small image translates into a larger version.

I don't think too many on-line viewers can pre-visualize an image's aesthetic potential from a thumbnail sized version. So, it's useful to seduce then into clicking on the thumbnail.
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Old 01-09-2018   #24
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I'm not sure if book is doable with ink printer. Maybe laser printer?
I'm printing background on pages for album, those are scrapbook paper. Twenty five pages with one 4x6 darkroom print on each... it is already as thick and heavy as photo book .
KoFe,

You are correct in that a photo book of prints would be heavy, perhaps bulky, and definitely be limited in number of pages. The challenge here is to not only create a cool book that presents the prints well, but also making the above limitations into creative assets.

Consider binding a collection of say 25 prints using 12x18 images on 17x24 rag paper. Of course editing has to be cohesive. Pretty much a way to package a show for exhibition.

This is something I'm actually doing. It is not a traditional book, but is a fine art book. The prints I make have an offset border to allow for binding. I took a book binding workshop over two decades ago. Kinda think of a book as an object to be held more like a scultpture.

At a "Gallery Workshop" I presented the idea of a book of my prints to an art dealer. He had mucho excitment of how a "hand-made" book of prints would have big value added, and was a way to commonify my work into a rarity that would command a huge premium. Not your typical book.

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Old 01-09-2018   #25
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Binding and cover makes huge difference. Crappy binding and cover called Zine.
Binding and cover made right called Art Book.
I'm on the zine stage right now .
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Old 01-09-2018   #26
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Thanks for the suggestions, Cal. I agree there's nothing like the look and feel of a good paper. But I'm pretty disillusioned by the cost of photography generally, especially as I near retirement. Were I selling prints, maybe it would be different, but I'm not interested in that. And, like I said, the reward for me comes from personal projects.

The prospect of creating books from prints is appealing. Printing using 8.5 x 11" double-sided paper and binding myself would be very satisfying and probably cost no more than Blurb.

John
John,

At age 60 I'm planning on retirement. Something to consider is having large format printers still allows me to print small. Also since most people don't print, I get solicited to print for other artists because I have a bit of a reputation. My skills that I developed through experience has led to income, and the money is good. Pretty much my clients are using me as their personal printer, so there is value added, and know I only work with people I know and respect.

I don't market or advertise, and I don't do anything I don't want to do. One friend/artist I printed an exhibition that was displayed in Hong Kong that was part of a book release. Pretty much I was a consultant and made sure the print size used stock frame sizes to avoid expensive custom framing. I explained why dealers, collectors, and pro framers like big borders to avoid dry mounting.

I have another friend/artist I print for, and he is rather patient with me because he understands how busy I am with my own work and the support I offer to my fashion blogger gal.

As far as retirement goes printing can be a form of income, and it can be rewarding. I learn a lot from my client's work. The idea here is to make a commitment to being a printer, and developing a good reputation. My one client told me he paid a lot of money to have a custom print made by Whitewall, but he not only was disappointed, he took ownership that he was spoiled because I was able to express his artistic vision.

I encourage you to explore possibilities.

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Old 01-09-2018   #27
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Binding and cover makes huge difference. Crappy binding and cover called Zine.
Binding and cover made right called Art Book.
I'm on the zine stage right now .
KoFe,

Nothing wrong with a zine. Doing creative things is never bad.

In a way a fine art book is more narrowly limited and easier to do. Few pages and less images is less work in a way, but it is time intensive due to quality exacution.

An intermediate approach is a "boxed set" as a collection of prints. A different experience than a book. The idea here is to engage the viewer and allowing handling of prints as part of the experience.

I find that 12x18 image size on 17x22 paper supplies a nice border to "frame" the image. It also allows the print to have its own space. Something to consider when buying a printer. Also this sixe promotes intimacy because the viewing distance is basically arms length.

My 20x30's on 24x36 paper are really exhibition prints that utilize a "Billboard" effect that captures the eye from afar a draws the viewer closer until they "nose-up" into the fine detail. Again a different experience.

All good.

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Old 01-09-2018   #28
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Ko.Fe., I do zines, too. Using MagCloud. 2nd rate print quality but cheap enough to give away.

Is your reservation about inkjet books with their thickness? According to my calculation, using Red River double-sided rag paper, a 40-page spine would be .54 inches without the cover. That seems reasonable to me.

I'm going to give one a try. Thanks for the inspiration everyone!

John
John,

Another paper to consider is Canson Duo for a thin double sided paper. Matte finish. This is not a heavy paper.

Also on a double sided paper consider buying 17x22 and printing 4 images.

I also do two images on a single sided paper. The Baryta coated papers I like flake where I crease the paper though. I use a "bone folder" to score the crease before folding the paper to make two pages.

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Old 01-09-2018   #29
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It is very collaborative, indeed, with big help from Bill!
I'll google this Red River Rat paper , I want to self-print hundred page book.
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Old 01-09-2018   #30
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It is very collaborative, indeed, with big help from Bill!
I'll google this Red River Rat paper , I want to self-print hundred page book.
KoFe,

Only one box of paper if you use 17x22 and fold to create 4 pages.

The binding skills are not hard to develop. Perhaps the thickness of a completed book would be about 3/4's inch without the covers.

I have a "workbook" that basically is 12x18 images on 17x22 single sided. I use Canson Baryta Photographique as my "proofing" paper and it is cellulose, but the book I'm making will be using Canson Platine Fibre Rag which is a bit thicker paper. This book will be a "table book." Kinda too heavy to hold.

Also know that because I print glossy that the Piezography process I use utilizes a "gloss overcoat" that protects the print from damage. Pretty much I can spit or drool on one of my prints and squeegee the wetness with my hand, and the print suffers no damage.

This art dealer encouraged me: "If you make a one off thick book of prints this size it will be worth a lot of money," he said.

Cal
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Old 01-09-2018   #31
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Here's Flickr a big help. Bad photos get bored after a while. Viewing the work regularly on Flickr helps you choose the work you want to print.

Erik.
I concur. It's like only printing contact sheets and not making big prints for a few months or years.

A bunch of my very early work went up on Flickr, and, after being up there, the real winners popped out, and those are the ones I spent the time with to make a proper print that satisfied me.
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Old 01-09-2018   #32
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Consider binding a collection of say 25 prints using 12x18 images on 17x24 rag paper. Of course editing has to be cohesive. Pretty much a way to package a show for exhibition.

This is something I'm actually doing. It is not a traditional book, but is a fine art book. The prints I make have an offset border to allow for binding. I took a book binding workshop over two decades ago. Kinda think of a book as an object to be held more like a scultpture.
Cal, you better see this out to completion. It is completely a Cal thing to do and it should be a lovely object.
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Old 01-09-2018   #33
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I see Canson Duo is just slightly heavier than Red River, so that's an option. Incidentally, RR is one of the few paper vendors that offers square sizes.

Folding is kind of a pain and hard to be perfectly consistent. Of course, the slightly random outer edges can be a nice look. But I know there are single-sheet binding methods, which seems to make sense for heavier papers. Lots of binding resources on the web and YouTube. Another thing to learn....

John
John,

Folding paper neatly and consistently is really easy. Bookbinders use a "bonefolder" which is a flat piece of cow bone that is ised with a straight edge to score a line where you want the fold. When you begin to fold the paper the paper will want to follow the score mark you made on the paper.

Use the flat section of the bone folder to progressively set the crease. Pretty much perfect and easy to duplicate.

The bone folder is also used to tear a "deckeled" edge on of foled paper that some artists use on fine art papers made of rag.

Bone folders can be found in arts and craft stores and cost about $7.00. Buy one and it will last a lifetime, unless you loose it. LOL.

Canson Duo comes in two weights.

Cal
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Old 01-09-2018   #34
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Cal, you better see this out to completion. It is completely a Cal thing to do and it should be a lovely object.
John,

You are my inspiration.

For those that don't know John's work, he uses books to edit mucho images.

John I consider not only a photographer, but also a book artist. He has his own style.

Cal
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Old 01-09-2018   #35
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Glad to see the conversation has turned to book making. Viewing photography in book form is my favorite way of looking at an artist's body of work. Over the years I've created photos in all the forms mentioned (darkroom enlargements, contact prints, inkjet prints, web), but putting my photos together in thematic book form is now what I'm pursuing. Putting images together in book form makes me think much more about my photographic intentions and quality of images.
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Old 01-09-2018   #36
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I make lots of prints, but most are small. Recently, I did a print of a scanned 4x5 negative for a friend. He wanted me to do it with Costco (he wanted low price). It was 11x14 or something like that. The file he sent me was 2.0 mb. I was surprised at how well it came out, maybe good scanning.

It got me thinking about alternative methods, one was to take many images with a modest mega-pixel camera and then stitch them, the other was to use a DSLR (FF) and use pixel shift (static images only, with a high quality lens [I would use my f4.0 Macro-Takumar]). What do you think of these work arounds; so as to not have to spend $12,000 of a MF digital camera?
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Old 01-09-2018   #37
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For black and white, silver prints are more archival IF they're on Fiber Base paper AND they're processed properly.

The inks used in inkjet prints will eventually fade, though current pigment inks are very durable. Silver-gelatin images are made of tiny particles of silver metal, so as long as the print was properly processed and the print is not exposed to atmospheric pollution, the prints will never fade.

I think too much is bound into the "if"s in the above for it to really have much power as a conclusion and even on its terms it isn't quite right. The image in any given silver print is going to be silver in some form suspended in gelatin on a paper base. There are lots and lots of avenues for change or decay over time here -- factors that attack the paper (acidity for example), factors that attack the gelatin (humidity, biological crap), and factors that attack the silver -- and since silver is a pretty reactive metal there are many and it's hard to isolate a print from that entirely especially where energy is available to the reaction through light. And properly processed has to be understood to include adequate washing and chemical neutralization techniques.

Some inkjet prints have remarkable longevity -- very possibly as good as silver (qualifications are needed because what we have to work with are artificial aging studies as we haven't had the time to wait and see what happens). And if pure carbon inks are used -which of course limits one to black and white - they should be far more inert and permanent than a silver print.

If you really want permanent, probably the best thing you can do is make a platinum print and keep it out of any city where there's smog or make a carbon print. Those should be as durable as the paper and whatever sizing is used on the paper.

But yes it is lovely to be able to show people your image as you see it. It is frustrating to see one's work on other people's monitors where what one thought was there wasn't or what wasn't supposed to be there is depending on the monitor and how it's adjusted. All of photography is about the choices open to the photographer and how those choices affect the perceived image. Some of those choices are made in the camera, some in photoshop or the darkroom, some in the presentation of the display image. And when viewed on someone else's monitor, many of the choices you make (choices about brightness, contrast, color, tonality most obviously) are stripped away and the image that is seen isn't the one you tried to produce. A print is as close as you can come to showing someone else the image that you wanted seen.
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Old 01-09-2018   #38
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John,

I use and maintain two printers: an Epson 3880; and an Epson 7800. The costs are huge. On a 24 inch by 50 foot roll I only get 16 prints when I print 20x30 on 24x36. One year I took advantage of discount sale pricing and spent $10K on paper and ink alone.

Then there are additional costs of storage boxes for these prints.
Cal, where do you get your storage boxes and what are they? I desperately need some! Thanks!
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Old 01-09-2018   #39
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I use 3" metal edge drop front boxes from Archival Methods. They are available for prints up to 20x24.
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Old 01-10-2018   #40
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Cal, where do you get your storage boxes and what are they? I desperately need some! Thanks!
PDP,

Beat me in response. Archival Methodes is the place for boxes and stock frames. One can buy in bulk.

Cal
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