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The Print (Life Library of Photography, No 3)
The Print - Life Library of Photography, No 3 Author:The Editors of Time-Life Books Good photographs are seen in the mind's eye before the shutter is tripped, but they are made in the darkroom. For it is in the final stage of photography -- in the production of negative and print -- that the creative vision is realized in a picture meant to be looked at, admired, perhaps honored. — The technical skill demanded of the printma... more »ker are simple. Modern chemical compounds, processing tanks and printing devices lend themselves to procedures that eliminate guesswork, but they do not eliminate the need for judgment and understanding. The pictorial result of a black-and-white photograph depends entirely on material substance: deposits of metallic silver in the negative and print. Those deposits must convey the vision of the mind's eye, and how they are laid down can be controlled and adjusted at almost every step during processing. It is possible to compensate for out-of-the-ordinary conditions during picture taking -- too little light or too much, a scene that is too uniform in tone or too varied. But it is also possible to turn the influences of processing to purely imaginative ends, to alter a scene to suit the photographer's own esthetic intent (however far removed it is from the physical reality of the natural world), or to create a wholly new pattern of lights and darks that could never be found in reality.
The finished print is an end in itself. In its most exalted form it must stand on its own as a true work of art -- as do the scores of outstanding prints reproduced in this book. Recognition of the artistic worth of the photographic print came in the early decates of the 20th Century, largely as a result of the efforts of such pioneers as Alfred Stieglitz in the United States, John Heartfield and László Moholy-Nagy in Germany and Man Ray in France. And today artists all over the world continue to explore the esthetic potential of photography, finding new ways to express personal visions in the print.« less