Power of the Print: Student Engagement
In this room there's quite a few people that have attempted printing and some people that are thinking about attempting to print. So how many of you in here have printed and own a printer? Okay, so it's about half and half. And out of the ones that haven't put up their hand, you're printing at a bureau? Okay. So obviously there's an interest in this class, that's why you're here and so I want to hear from some of you the importance of printing and why you feel you need to learn how to print and how important is it to learn how to print. So who wants to go first because I know you're all burning with passion about printing and this is why you're here. We'll start with you at the back.
Yeah so I actually started in the darkroom, okay, and it was one of the last years back in the early 2000s or whatever where they were still doing that and even photographers that are just one or two years younger than me didn't have that. So I really feel for a lot of the younger photographers, especial...
ly, who may still even if they're just diving into this course just to see what it's all about and they're still kind of wondering, well what do I do with my prints? And one of the things I wanna focus on is the interaction that you have with people one-on-one. That's something that I personally have benefited from a lot even just in the past couple of months. And when you show people your work in person, and they're able to actually hold it in their hands and really feel it and look at it with you, it's a special experience and they're really able to get up close, see the detail and is there something about the textural experience of it that really, really brings it to life. And I would really encourage younger photographers to try it out with labs first if some of all this high-tech stuff with the printers is a little bit intimidating and they don't wanna go out and spend all this money at first. I remember being at that stage, too and you'd be surprised if you talked to the labs. You go in there and just talk to them and build a relationship with them. A lot of these labs will be more than happy to work with you. They'll even sometimes give you a discount on proofing, especially if it's like a local lab and you can go in and talk to them one-on-one and get to know them a little bit, they'll walk you through a lot of this stuff, too. And having had gone through this course, you now would know some of the more specific questions to ask. It'll really get you going. And so once you're able to see your work in that medium, you'll feel a lot more confident about carrying those prints with you, showing them to people, and hearing feedback and I think that that is something that is really gonna help you grow as an artist and as a photographer, so I just wanted to share some insight on that.
Absolutely. You know, the very first thing I said when we began this course is that printing, when you're printing for your clients and you're printing for someone, it is a very, very, very personal experience. Printing is not about Facebook likes because you show your print to someone, and you're making a print for someone rather than for the masses. I remember in the days when I was looking at a job for a photographer. I needed a printed portfolio. I needed to go in and I needed to speak to people and they needed to see my personality and they needed to see how passionate I was about the images that I had printed. And that was personal. Now, here's my website. What do you think of my work? And that's fine, they can look at your work and be blown away, but then your personality has to come in at some point and I think that connection is kind of lost. And printing the portfolio and showing people, it is very much a personal experience, it's a one-on-one and when you start doing that for your clients and you're making prints for your clients, the client feels extremely special because you're the artist crafting something out of nothing, out of thin air, you've captured this image, you've manipulated it in post production and you've printed it on beautiful paper, whether it's a print or whether it's in the form of a book, and this is what you're doing. I've made this for you. It's not for the internet and it's not for Instagram, it's not for Facebook, but it's for you and for your family to enjoy for generations to come. So it is a very, very good point and something that we should never forget if we're really, really serious about printing.
I've been printing for like eight or nine years now. Obviously, true beginner's steps at the beginning and a lot of frustration, but what I noticed in the last few years that people start to appreciate prints a lot more say, in the last two, three years, I think, maybe because we've been bombarded with those electronic photos everywhere and there's like millions and millions of photos thrown at us and when people see a physical print, and especially when it's a print that is emotionally meaningful to them, it's a completely different experience. And if we can combine this high quality editing and printing with something that is personalized, which is a book or even a box with the prints, for us at least, with our clients, the price becomes secondary because the emotional attachment to it and appreciation is completely different at this point.
Absolutely, absolutely. You are making something for them. I'll bring it back to that. It is personal. You are taking you as the artist is creating something out of nothing to present to them and that's a very, very important point and that's why we should be selling our photography. Our photography is personal, it's for the people that are meant to see it. Even if you're a landscape photographer and you're doing these beautiful landscapes, essentially it's for the people that appreciate that style of work that are buying it. If you're doing a limited edition run, it's because I want to hang this on my wall because I love it so much and I know that there's only a limited edition of this. There might be 10, 20, maybe 50 prints and I own one of them, I own a piece of the artist. And that is crucial and that is extremely important. Hannah.
Well I think I'm probably at the stage he was eight years ago as far as starting this process, but I'm really excited by the fact that I now have a troubleshooting list to go through in order to attain the vision that I have in my mind when I click that shutter.
And to be able to know that I can attain that image through editing and all the processes that we talked about today is really exciting.
Yeah, it is extremely exciting. Now printing your work, I'll never forget when I first began my journey in photography. The first time that I processed through all the black and white film in my laundry at home and then of course, printed it under the enlarger and as I moved it in the developer, the image slowly started to reveal itself and I held it up to the light and finally turned on the lights and it was a very emotional moment and I still remember it today, the very, very, very first print that I printed. And it's beautiful, you know? This process here, it kind of takes you back to the artisan way of what we used to do in photography, we're making prints. This is no different, but we're doing it now in a digital form, okay? We are still making prints, we're not just taking snapshots electronically and giving them away and flooding the internet with them, we're there, we're massaging pixels, we're dodging, we're burning, we're then translating that information back into, as I said earlier in this course, back into the reflected form which is how we view the world as opposed to this transmissive blue light that comes constantly from a monitor. So that artisan approach comes back when we start to talk about printing and of course when we talk about books. Roberto, you've been in photography for a very long time and you speak obviously all over the world. How do you see print? You obviously have a passion for printing. What gives you that passion and how would you rate its importance?
So yeah, thanks. I mean printing has yeah, it's been an interesting journey for me in the last like year, but I think printing is a signature or as a sign of how you really feel about the efforts you have put in your own photography as an artist like you, Rocco, and some of our friends and myself and some of us or most of us here, we've dedicated years and years to our craft as photographers, lighting, posing, execution, composition, all these efforts. If you spend money, you will take time away from your families, all of this stuff to improve our work and then you don't print it, it's almost like it just goes right to being like trash. It's like nothing, 99 cent USB stick, right? But when you print it, like just looking at your prints there, it tells me how you feel about your art, about your work and about who you are as an artist because it's printed, it's actually there physically. So I've worked hard in my photography and I sure as heck don't want my photos on a USB stick, you know? I want my photos to be respected and lately, I stopped showing my clients photos during the photo shoots. I don't send them the photos online anymore until they actually receive a printed box of their photos. That's the first time they see their work is printed. And then after they receive the prints, then I give them the online viewing galleries and what have you, but they receive printed photos first. And I didn't realize how that would do and it's been incredible. They go from being they like you to being disciples of you because they just think like look what my photographer did. Printing has been amazing, this class has been amazing, Rocco. It's so great to have you here, man. And to have you as a friend, too, because like you're a great artist, man.
So thanks, brother.
Awesome. [applause] Thank you. You know as Roberto said, we invest a lot of time in becoming better photographers and you could capture an image beautifully, you could pose it to the nth degree, light it, composition, you could be the most amazing Photoshop master in the world to create this incredible masterpiece and then you put it on a 99 cent USB stick. It kind of like, everything just falls apart down the very, very end, it's like you're running the hundred meter sprint and you're racing against Usain Bolt and you're actually well in front and then there's the finish line and you fall over because that's exactly what's happening and you haven't won the gold medal. So forget about that. You just got to be able to complete your vision in the final print and have pride in it when you're selling this sort of stuff. You got to have pride in it because this establishes who you are as an artist as Roberto said. So, there is a lot to learn, there's a lot of steps to put in place but this course outlines it quite well and quite easily and if you follow the steps, it's not hard to make your own prints. But at least now you will definitely know how to take an image from capture to print, either you're printing it yourself or you are going to a company like Graphy or a lab to get your images done, you'll know how to get consistent color each and every time, you'll know how to manage color management, that scary word, you'll know how to capture it and you'll definitely know how to bring your vision to life in the final print that no one can change, but everyone can appreciate forever and ever and ever.