From my many years of printing, the mantra for “straight” landscape photography, was that when (not if) you make some tonal or other adjustments to the image, they should not be noticed or seen. That the image had to look natural, and did not suggest manipulation. Thus the more skilled you were in the wet-darkroom with dogging and burning, the effects of your slight of hand not being apparent, the more you were considered a “Master” printer. Okay, so now I can see a trap that I ended up falling into, having one less “creative” printing option.
This was not so apparent to me and how I was printing as to when I began studying the images by Brandt in his book On This Earth. Brandt had his printer do some really heavy edge burning, which was very noticeable (to me as photographer printer). But it seems to work, as his book is not a documentary of the animals of Africa as they are portrait images. Also, the heavy burning in of the images are fairly consistent through the entire series of images (see yesterdays post regarding Printing for a Purpose). At one time I would have dismissed this body of work, but instead after leafing thought the book, I came back to buy it. And I have started changing how I evaluate my images and have started incorporating stronger image manipulations with my project, Bad Trip – Sad Trip.
Best regards, Doug