“When you look at a photograph that is printed, you are free of distraction allowing you to really engage and experience all that it has to offer. The experience triggers an emotional response very different from simply seeing an image for a fleeting moment on a screen. The print is a finished product that engages the viewer. People want to move closer and even touch a print. Viewing a print encourages the viewer to travel into the frame imagining the experience of being in that place.” – Seth Resnick
Whether it is the social feeds and stories on Instagram or Facebook, the unorganized photo album on our phones, flipping a page in a magazine or book or the onslaught of visually enticing advertisements that we see every day, we are awash in a world of images.
However, photographic prints are not the same kind of fleeting and temporary experiences. Prints are tangible. Prints bring scale to the image. A small print forces us to look more closely and a large print creates an immersive experience. Prints bring details in the photograph to life. Prints encourage us to view images in different ways — to reflect and to see more.
Photographers make lots of photographs. But we print the ones we think are best and most important. Prints bring our work out of the camera and digital work flow or dark room into the world where the image can be shared and experienced in a more complete way.
Prints are a demanding part of the process that take a photographer’s vision and bring it to completion. Determining what kind of print to make is one part of the complexity. For example, prints can be made using processes like dye-sublimation on aluminum or pigment ink printing on archival paper or in traditional dark room processes or by making a negative of a digital photo in order to make platinum/palladium print. Take a look at all the options.
Whatever process and size of print is chosen, the photographer then works hard to ensure that the light, tone, color and composition are coming to life the way they want. For example, a print I wanted to do on clear aluminum did not work and so I had to change the media it was printed on. Ansel Adams worked on printing “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” for 40 years making adjustments along the way. Making prints is a complex part of bringing the vision of an image to realization.
Prints offer viewers the chance to consider not only what the photographers saw and how they saw it, but also the way it has been printed to be shared. The final print is the object and the carrier of the story.
“A print is much more than a mere reproduction of an image. It is the culmination of the inspiration and vision of the photographer. It is the clearest, most direct and powerful form of the image and has the ability to move beyond words, ideas and concepts to touch and move the viewer” — Christopher Burkett
or, as noted here, just start printing