Man with Dark Cloth (Murray Johnston). Arbroath, Scotland. 1986.

Man with Dark Cloth (Murray Johnston). Arbroath, Scotland. 1986.
Pt-pd print on 100% cellulose from original 8×10 negative.

[view full scan]

detail:

Man with Dark Cloth (Murray Johnston). Arbroath, Scotland. 1986.

Kiran and Rachel. Pool. July, 2015.

Kiran and Rachel. Pool. July, 2015.

Man with Kale (Murray Johnston). Arbroath, Scotland, 1986. Pt-pd print on 100% cellulose (Fabriano 5) from original 8x10 negative.

Man with Kale (Murray Johnston). Arbroath, Scotland, 1986. Pt-pd print on 100% cellulose (Fabriano 5) from original 8×10 negative.

Murray was one of my dearest friends in Scotland, and a tremendously important shaper of Scottish photography over the last few decades of the 20th century. There is so much I should say about Murray, much of it still laden with regret for not having spent more time with him, some of it still from puzzlement – this image seems a portent of the illness that took his life, and always, even in the photograph here, Murray’s painful, gut-clutching sense of humor.

[view full scan]

detail:

Man with Kale (Murray Johnston). Arbroath, Scotland, 1986. Pt-pd print on 100% cellulose (Fabriano 5) from original 8x10 negative.

Moti Malde, Sewanee, TN. July, 2015.

Moti Malde, Sewanee, TN. July, 2015.

I made this photograph today, using a lovely Leica Summicron-R 50mm f2 lens that belonged to my father when he lived in Tanzania. He gave it to me some years ago, and I recently had it cleaned up and serviced by Leica. I am glad to have it back in use again. The photograph completes a circle in many ways, as I am sure Moti photographed  me with this same lens when I was a child.

False and Impenetrable. I. 2001. Pt-pd print on 100% cellulose (

False and Impenetrable. I. 2001.
Pt-pd print on 100% cellulose (Buxton) from original 11×14 negative.
[see the full scan with reference target]

Another instance of printing decisions, this time to illustrate how dramatically the paper base can alter the expression. Both prints were made with exactly the same sensitizer and process, and given the same exposure. Buxton paper, above, printed darker and with less contrast than Cranes’ paper, below. Also note how cropping (yet another decision) an image affects the expression.

False and Impenetrable. I. 2001. Pt-pd print on 100% cellulose (

False and Impenetrable. I. 2001.
Pt-pd print on 100% cellulose (Cranes Business Card Stock) from original 11×14 negative.
[see the full scan with reference target]

detail of print on Buxton paper:

False and Impenetrable. I. 2001. Pt-pd print on 100% cellulose (

Detail of print on Cranes paper:

False and Impenetrable. I. 2001. Pt-pd print on 100% cellulose (

Melon. Marble. Kozo Hair. 1998. (From  'Dragon Series'). pt-pd p

Melon. Marble. Kozo Hair. 1998. (From  ‘Dragon Series’).
platinum palladium print on 100% cotton (Cranes Business Card Stock)
from original 11×14 negative. Print #1027.27
[see the full scan with reference target]


Melon. Marble. Kozo Hair. 1998. (From  'Dragon Series'). pt-pd p

 

Melon. Marble. Kozo Hair. 1998. (From  ‘Dragon Series’).
platinum palladium print on 100% cotton (Cranes Business Card Stock)
from original 11×14 negative. Print #1027.28
[see the full scan with reference target]

Two prints, both of which are final prints. But there are very subtle variations of contrast and intensity in the lighter values, which together render quite different expressions for me. The top print (#1027.27) has a bit more contrast and exposure in the bright areas, and when compared to the lower printer (#1027.28) the fibers (my dog, Kozo’s hair) are more distinct. There is a greater sense of luminosity. Yet the lower print has a greater continuity between the (more nuanced) highlights to the left of the marble, though the fibers that now seem to sweep out of this mush and on into the outer hemisphere of cosmic soap bubbles. It’s not a matter of which is better, but more of ‘listening’ to the different ways in which the substance of the image unfolds.

Detail from Print #1027.27

Melon. Marble. Kozo Hair. 1998. (From  'Dragon Series'). pt-pd p

Detail from Print #1027.28

Melon. Marble. Kozo Hair. 1998. (From  'Dragon Series'). pt-pd p

Luca, the heart. July, 2015.

Luca, the heart. July, 2015.

Rising Suns. 1990. Pt-pd print on 100% cellulose (Fabriano 5), f

Rising Suns. 1990.
Pt-pd print on 100% cellulose (Fabriano 5), from 8×10 negative.

This is a photograph of a brown paper bag, punched with holes to better preserve fruit, on a light box. A photograph of paper, printed on paper.

[see the full scan with reference target]

Detail:Rising Suns. 1990. Pt-pd print on 100% cellulose (Fabriano 5), f


Affiliation I. Laurel Lake, NH. 2001. Pt-pd print on Buxton from 11x14 negative.

Affiliation I. Laurel Lake, NH. 2001.
Pt-pd print on 100% rag Buxton paper, from cropped original 11×14 negative.
[see the full scan with reference target]

A photographer/printer thinks about the expression of a print, or what Paul Caponigro considered, the ‘voice of the print’, as the result of many different qualities and variables. The most tangible parts of the process begin with the quality of the negative, and its size. And it comes to a culmination with the way the print is presented. But in between, we think about contrast (how the absolute values of black and white transition through the intermediate grays), about these absolutes (the blackness of the black and the whiteness of the white, also referred to as maximum density and base white), about the color of the tones and the color of the base paper, and much more. We think about where to ‘place’ the tones in the negative on the tonal scale on the print, since there are huge differences between the tonal range of a negative and that of the print. We think about how to lead the viewer’s eye from one part of the image to another by shaping lights and darks, almost like writing a choreography for the eyes. And as the eyes dance, so meaning and immersion unfold. The matter of the image becomes the truth of the matter.

detail:

 

 

Affiliation I. Laurel Lake, NH. 2001. Pt-pd print on Buxton from 11x14 negative.

Redwoods, Mendocino Botanical Gardens, CA. 1987.

Redwoods, Mendocino Botanical Gardens, CA. 1987.
Pt-pd print of 100% cellulose paper (Van Gelder simile japon), from original 8×10 inch negative.

[see the full scan with reference target]

“What the Cynics* called Nature was the marshalling of each thing to its essence, each being coinciding with its definition. And that transparent identity with the self can be shuffled through artifice: the artifice of discourse, of social arrangements, of political laws. So it’s necessary to find each time, just behind what is presented, the calm truth of each thing.” – Frédéric Gros, A Philosophy of Walking, Verso (trans. by John Howe)

* Used here to describe the Greek philosophers, not to be confused with our modern usage of  ‘cynicism’.

detail:

 

Redwoods, Mendocino Botanical Gardens, CA. 1987.