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Jon Butler 1st April 2011 07:25 AM

The Print.
Having followed a thread (The Printmakers Art ) on another forum it's got me thinking.
How many film/darkroom enthusiasts actually see real prints on a regular basis. I say real prints I mean as opposed to viewing on the Internet which IMO is complete wast of time, go back 15 years and you could see real silver prints maybe every month at a local camera club and the few print that were of high quality did help some darkroom workers to learn and improve.

I don't post on FADU galleries because I think it only give the onlooker an impression of what the real print is like in content and composition it gives no clue to the actual quality, tonality or printing skill.

One way to see good work are to see as many exhibitions as you can but the best way is in my experience is to meet in groups and let others look and discuss your work. I used to do this with LIP but got bored with seeing more and more ink jets so packed it in. The two agents I sell my prints to keep me on the ball, one has been dealing prints for over thirty years and is an excellent printer himself.

I really do believe that many of the newer darkroom workers have never seen let alone held a fine print and therefor never seen anything to aspire to, the Internet is no substitute real print viewing and discussion. Although the Internet a wonderful resource for learning many things it's very poor at showing the qualities of fine photographs and paintings. A whole generation is growing up having only seen these mediums on a monitor, this worries me for the future of fine print making, it is in fact a fast dying art.

I wonder if it could be possible for us FADU members in the UK to meet up say 2 or 3 times a year locally for print meeting groups I'm sure this would work in London and other cities but doubt it would in rural locations without of-course traveling.
I'm interested in the views of other members on this and possibilities of some print viewing meetings in the future.

B&W Neil 1st April 2011 08:01 AM

I agree with you 100% and it is important to get to see and hold real prints whenever you can.

It is possible to have print sharing sessions in rural areas but maybe not as often as in other areas. Bill and myself (plus a few others) have been doing this in West Cornwall for a good few years now.


Dave miller 1st April 2011 08:09 AM

You make some very valid points John and Iím all for encouraging meetings of Friends to view and discuss prints, and, where possible to handle top quality work. This was one of the reasons that we have our annual meeting, this year in Yorkshire, as well as exchanging prints via the print exchange, and of course participation in our annual exhibition FADU2011. Several of us also participate in other print circles, such as the PPC, to receive critique of our work. Having said all that there is certainly room for more local meetings; others have arranged these, Rob for example has arranged several in Norfolk as has Neil in the southwest, although none specifically as fine print workshops.
I disagree that posting on facsimiles of our prints on sites such as FADU is a complete waste of time, whilst it is next to impossible to judge print quality from a monitor; it is useful to obtain critique or advice on content and composition this way, which will be of help to many.
Why not organise just such a meeting in London so that interest can be gauged with regard to future events.

Neil Smith 1st April 2011 08:25 AM

I totally agree with Jon and it's one of the reasons I see as many exhibitions as I can but this is difficult in Wales particularly if you want to see Traditional prints.
So I think it oils be an excellent idea the only downside here in Wales is would there be enough of us to be able to get together but I would be up for it. I think Paul mentioned something in Cwmorthin so we will have to work out logistics.


Barry 1st April 2011 10:01 AM

Excellent idea Jon, there is nothing quite like holding a 'real' print in one's hand. I would be very happy to travel to such a gathering.

Xpres 1st April 2011 10:08 AM

I quite enjoy looking at photos online via a screen, I get to see so much more. I enjoy books too. But looking at a fine print of a photograph is a different thing all together and brings another level to the image which other reproductions miss. A visit to a gallery is a treat, as would be a gathering to view prints.
Hopefully, Jon, you'll be able to make the meeting Roy is organising in 'Sawbo' at the end of the month... and come laden with prints. :)

Richard Gould 1st April 2011 12:08 PM

I agree 100% with Jon, and I always enjoy looking at real prints, but living where I do it is very difficult, we rarely get any exhibitions and even rarer for us to get real silver prints, the last exhibition I saw was the local eistodfod, which always has a strong photography section, but apart from myself and 1 other entrant this year it was all digi, very dissapointing, and the quality was way down on previous years,Richard

PaulBJE 1st April 2011 01:16 PM

As with the others I agree with your sentiments. I was in London yesterday and visited the Chris Beetles gallery off Piccadilly. The quality of the Terence Neil prints was stunning. I had seen some reproduced in a magazine, but even they did not do them justice.

The same applied to displays in the National portrait gallery.

We had a Hampshire meeting at the end of last year in Winchester and we each brought some prints. I think it would be worthwhile repeating and hopefully a few more friends will attend.


Jon Butler 1st April 2011 01:33 PM

Good you enjoyed the Terence Neil Prints, Chris Beetles Gallery is doing some great stuff. Haven't seen Neil's exhibit yet but will pop in next week for a butcher's.

Leo Stehlik 1st April 2011 01:34 PM

I agree with you completely Jon, and I'm up for a regular print meet ups anywhere in greater London area... or elswhere within the 100miles circle from London (don't mind to travel at all).

I'm on the same page as you with regard showing scans of prints in internet galleries ... from what I could see in Print Exchanges so far, most scans showed in the FADU Print Exchange gallery were nowhere near close to the quality of real prints I have received.

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