Hand Made

I listen occasionally to Brooks Jensen’s short podcasts on photography, they often apply to all art and creativity, he is a thoughtful man. The Lenswork publication is beautiful. The website is beautiful. He has a great piece about printing images, all of which I fully concur with.

Here is the full archive: LensWork Recent Podcasts

I just listened to this one: LW0405: Considering Content, Considering Medium

It talks about the presence of the hand of the artist. So that is right on topic with the stuff I was looking at re Walter Benjamin recently. The useful point he makes is that some art is more hand-dependent than others, I am not sure if that is his word or not. Painting is at one extreme, and photography on the other.

Which makes images that are made by hand, but digital an interesting case in point. The hand is more there in the file, but when it comes to reproduction it is much like a photo.

My sketches work quite well if they are just printed on some machine in a store, but they loose a lot. The prints I make are another whole story, it has taken me a long time to perfect my technique, and there are rejects as I learn. I have found better paper, and I now have better mastery over the software, ie the colour.

So when I sign a print it means I am satisfied it is as good as I can do it.

The great masters of the darkroom probably have a strong hand in the work as well. Look at this by Sally Mann for instance.

There are a few twists to this reflection…

One is that my printing of the images influences what I make when I make digital images. In some deep way where medium is the muse, but I will tweak an image to make it work well as a print, and then the final version is posted on the net. This means it works well on my combination of screen, software, hardware paper & ink. That will be hard to replicate ever again! (I can’t always do it!)

When I do sign something that is 100% hand-dependent.

The other thought I had is that somewhere, sometime, someone and they may have already done it for all I know one of my images is presented in a way that is just wonderful. My hand, their craft.

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