Making The Print
Finding your way, in the absence of a guide, means asking along that way from some who may be as lost as you.
the learner learns from those around them. the first steps toward the print are hesitant – building that vocabulary will be the most important part of your first few years. The bigger the range of options you have, the wider your creative possibility
sadly, in the online world Ansel Adam’s “The Print” serves as dictionary and thesaurus. The landscape print, as realized by Adams, and maybe Minor White is the entirety of the image bank. So, when encountering work by other imagists, objections to the limited, or excessive tones used forms the measure, the twain of acceptance and comprehension of the image.
The limitations of the weekenders are their lack of interest, not their lack of knowledge. They limit themselves, reducing their range of creative movement
most amateurs and workshop wanderers are timid, and constrained in their visual range. by taking on distinctive, different approaches to the print, they will encounter more permission in making their own work
by permission I mean allowance – greater range of acceptance, or at least understanding by looking; Increase your visual dexterity.
Two Alternate Vantages
Henry Wessel (b:1942 – ), and Ralph Gibson(b:1939 – ) Henry moved from the East to West; Ralph moved from the West to the East.
Ralph Gibson learned photography in the Navy, then spent 2 years at SFAI before assisting, first , Dorthea Lange (1961-62), then Robert Frank (1967-68). Dorthea Lange provided Gibson with a mantra encouragement to find his “departure point.”
Henry Wessel taught at SFAI, having gotten his MFA from VSW in 72. He’d been in California (71) where the light had become his banner. About his arrival from a cold Rochester January (’71) he says:
I was like a starving man at a banquet. It was the first time I’d been and I was struck by the light, the variety of the landscapes, and the urban centers. It’s the place I keep coming back to, the closest thing I have to a concept.
giving yourself permission to work outside the lines
Both photographers have mastery, but each makes different prints; prints that diverge from the Medium Grey Full Scale standard which many workshops advance as the ultimate print. Full Scale negative onto a Full Scale print- this is an easy way of discriminating good from bad work. Of course, that approach isn’t what either of these masters holds themself to. Neither is a sloppy printer. Their works are distinctive, repeatable and each remarkable for attending to different visual intents. Both printers hold out masterly approaches.
Together they assist finding a path between counterpoints. not opposite poles, but matched endpoints such as Gibson’s strong toned prints, and Wessel’s broad middles. One offers Bang, the other Wiff.