A traditional film negative or a raw digital file represents a story that is waiting to be told. All photographers are story tellers and for many artists a photographic print is the way they choose to communicate their vision to a viewer. I have no desire to use my photography as a way to represent something real about the world, desipite the fact the subjects I am most interested in are found all around us every day. My goal is to help someone see the world around them in a new way, to make someone stop just for a few moments and consider what they are seeing differently than before.
This desire is what drives my choices for tools and processes. I photograph and print in black and white because it forces a person out of their comfort zone and allows them, if they desire, to reconsider what is before their eyes. To be honest, no photograph ever represents reality, the photographer chooses how to compose, how to slice, the scene to best tell the story they want. Even photo-journalism is edited to tell the story in the most impactful way possible.
And while seeing work on a website, in a book or on Instagram is nice, nothing replaces the feeling you get from seeing an actual print. The physical object is far richer, more detailed and more nuanced than any monitor can display. I have collected photography for over thirty years and never get tired of seeing prints on my wall, I seem to always discover something new when I study them. Honestly, my work is better because of the photographs I own as I can review them in an effort to improve my own printing.
I have three methods of printing and each has it's own pricing structure. No one method of printing is better than another, but each has it's own charecteristics and some collectors may prefer one method over another. I typically print in digital, gelatin silver or platinum/palladium but not all images are availabe in each type. I have provided a brief explanation of each print type to guide you in your understanding and choice.
Digital - By far the most common type of print found today, digital printing has come a long way in the past decade. When photographers started printing digitally many years ago, they used names such as "giclee" print to try and hide the fact the image was made on an ink jet printer as they feared the buyer would think it was cheap. However, rest assured if a skilled digital printer has created a print using the highest quality photo dedicated printer and ink sets, the resulting image will be as beautiful and long lasting as any other type of print being sold today. I price my digital prints lower than the other two methods not because they are less in quality,but because the materials are more readily available and because I can work the image on a computer. Working with a computer allows me to proof the work easily which saves on materials and cost. My digital prints are all made on dedicated Canon printers using their highest quality inks.
Gelatin Silver - Of the historical processes in use today, gelatin silver is the most common with a very strong and loyal group of artists who use it. When most people think of working in a darkroom, a photographer working under a colored light with an enlarger and trays of chemicals, they think of prints made on gelatin silver paper. This is about as traditional as it gets. The printing paper contains layers of light sensitive silver salts that are suspended in a gelatin base, hense the name gelatin silver. I hand print each image in my darkroom using a variety of papers, mainly Ilford Classic and various Foma papers on large format enlargers and always process the prints to meet the highest archival standards. Printing is an iterative process, the printer makes a draft print and determines what changes are required to make the image appear as they envision it, then they go back into the darkroom and make another print only the repeat the process again and again until the final vision is realized (the term final is a bit misleading as changes are made with almost every additional print created as the artists ideas may change over time and because these are hand made works of art so perfect repition is almost impossible). This requires a great deal of time and lots of paper, so the cost of the print is impacted by the process required to create it.
Platinum / Palladium - Platinum / Palladium printing is one of the oldest methods for making photographic prints dating back to the 1830's. The process was very popular and commerical platinum papers were available until the outbreak of WWI when the price of platinum skyrocketed by 60% due to the the fact Russia controlled 90% of the worlds platinum production and the metal was needed for the war effort. At that time, silver took over and became king of the printing processes where it remained the primary printing process until digital replaced it at the turn of the century. Platinum is known for it's warm tones and long tonal range giving prints a very unique look. The process is once again widely used but all papers must be hand coated by the artist with the platinum / palladium salts, then the photographic negative is placed in contact with the paper and exposed to UV light. The image size is determined by the size of the negative from which it is printed as it is not enlarged. Typically platinum / palladium prints are much more expensive due to the very high cost of materials and the amount of labor involved in making a successful image.
Print pricing is as follows and includes mounting. Digital and Platinum prints are corner mounted to archival museum board then over matted with an archival window mat. Each are titled and signed on the print. Gelatin Silver prints are dry mounted to archival board, signed in the lower right with print information on the back of the mat, it is then over matted with a window mat.
Images up to 13"x19" : $275.00
Images 13"x19" up to 17"x22" : $375.00
Gelatin Silver Prints:
Images up to 11"x14": $475
Images 11"x14" to 16"x20": $575.00
Platinum / Palladium : (inquire if image is available as a platinum/palladium print)
Images up to 8"x10": $875.00
Images 8"x10" up to 11"x14": $1,075.00
Mounted vs. Unmounted Prints - Museum and institutional curators along with some private collections prefer to puchase unmounted work as it makes repair easy if damaged as well as removes possible issues of subtrate deteroriation if non-archival materials were used in the mount. I will sell any image as an unmounted print, please contact me directly for further details.
Care for Your Print - You have just made a substantial investment in a piece of art so now you need to take care of it! The artist does her or his part by using the finest materials available and processing the image to the highest standard but none of that matters if you don't do your job once you get the image home. Unless your plan is to keep the print boxed in archivally safe materials and stored out of light, you will likely want to hang the print in your home to enjoy for years to come, so a little common sense goes a long way.
All prints should be framed under glass (or archival UV acrylic which I prefer) and hung out of direct sunlight. Additionally, there should be an archival backing board between the frame and the mount board to protect the mount from frame or chemical damage. I once had a fire in my home and prints with backing board were not damaged by the smoke. The combination of glass on the front and backing board on the rear will provide your expensive work of art a high level of protection for years to come.
Now that it is framed, you need to pick a good place to hang it. If you have a frame light or have gallery recessed lighting in your home, great! You can hang the image where the lighting is the best. However, if you are not that lucky then look for a place that gets soft, even light from a nearby window but does not get direct sunlight hiting it during the day. The biggest mistake most people make is they hang their prints in areas that have bright, intense light from direct sun. Sure, the image will now be well lit but no matter how well the artist processed the print, the sun will always win the contest when it comes to destroying your lovely work of art. So if you care about the permance of your investment, do not hang the image in direct sunlight!