“I find it puzzling that the dye transfer aficionados like Ctein hung up their spurs and no longer offer new prints, other than what exist from old stock they had hoarded.”
Suppose an established photographer came to you requesting $200K worth of work but you had just closed your darkroom. Meaning, you had taken the plastic sheets down in your garage basement; taken the spray hoses off the tub sink; folded, discarded the collapsable party tables. Even had packed away lenses and enlarger, making them ready for shipment or sale to people of the forumatti.
Would you turn down the request saying: “I’ve just closed my darkroom, sorry.”
Credible. Edible test time. Or do you just swallow cause it is told you by the big name dropper himself.
What is it that you don’t know. Perhaps the one-name small practitioner knew he wasn’t up to the task. His way of working wouldn’t satisfy the need of the Big Name photographer. And name-drop didn’t have the where·with·all to build a proper lab set.
He had no way of knowing that it would take: $10K + $60K + $8K to get that toll coater to make the appropriate run of mat film. One name, also, just didn’t have the chops to make the prints. He will tell you others don’t make prints as good as his, but why then are all his prints of Rock concerts or rockets. Mostly his own work.
It is best that he turned the request down, (if it actually occurred) since the lab that took the work is now firmly established and doing well. Well enough that they are working with project schedules more than a year away.