Quick question: which do you prefer? (photo)

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by andrew_lee|2, Sep 9, 2003.

  1. I suppose I would know the answer better than anyone; it is after
    all an entirely subjective decision, an aesthetic choice. Still,
    wouldn't mind hearing a few people's thoughts. Am still developing
    my voice in all aspects photographic, printing among them. Generally
    come to prefer printing lighter over darker, with less contrast to
    more contrast, and erring on the side of over instead of
    underexposure. But a recent conversation with a printer friend whose
    opinion I respect and trust (he works for New York's MV Labs, where
    Nachtwey, Gordon Parks and a few others drop off their rolls), where
    I was told that yes there is such a thing as too much midtone and
    too much shadow detail (which I've come to love, that long rich
    tonal scale), had me rethinking all that all over again (but in a
    good way). Was also exhorted to start rating my Tri-X higher (500-
    600) instead of the far more conventional advice of lower (300-400).

    Back to the above question. I suppose the answer could be 'neither';
    if you think it doesn't matter because the pic is crap that's fine
    too. <p>

    For what it's worth and for your information, the second one is
    truer to what I saw in real life; the first one is how the neg looks
  2. Whoops...don't know what happened there (it was all supposed to be one thread obviously). Oh well.
  3. andrew's photo
  4. photo 2
  5. Thanks Josh!
  6. The second is better.
  7. its waaay to washed out.....
    theres nothing wrong with going dark, dark is natural....
    theres a time and place for both highkey and lowkey images,
    to know the difference will make your pix all that much better...
    <img src="http://lotusphotography.com/laughinggirl.jpg">
  8. FWIW, I prefer the second, darker version, as well.

    As to the underlying question, I think it's better to let the subject matter dictate the style of treatment, rather than the other way 'round. Go dark when you need to, and light and airy when appropriate.
  9. It's what you like Andrew. The greyishness is a signature of yours that I recognized and disagreed with on one of Beau's comments in your folder, when he was stating that the beach images lacked texture and had too much sameness in tone (not the exact quote)... The bottom line is I don't think you should allow outside opinions to sway you, if in your heart you just have a certain preference.
  10. There are at least a couple of photographers who worked high key black and white- one was Henry Wessel, and maybe Todd Papageorge(sp?). Even Friedlander and Winnogrand to me seem to be less into rich blacks than, say, Cartier-Bresson. Take a look at Winogrand's 'Stock Photographs... The Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo' book. Pretty grey stuff. I know they're not the original prints, but I sure would think a photographer of that caliber would have some control over how his work was presented...
  11. Andrew,

    It's true that if it's looking the way you want it to look, stop right there. Everybody has a particular taste when it comes to printing. I strive for rich, dark prints; it just seems to work for my images but a lot of other people's photos look great printed light and contrasty. So don't doubt your own preference.

    On the other hand, if you want advice because you want your prints to change, to "improve" in the conventional sense, I humbly offer this advice: your images frequently appear to be scanned from an overly dense negative. My experience is that some films, like TMX, scan well when dense, but others, like Tri-x, do poorly. In looking at some of your pictures, even when I'm loving the content, I'm saying to myself, "there's that dense Tri-x scan look". Keep in mind, I'm speaking from my experience with my materials and gear, and I'm looking at my monitor, so take all this with a grain of salt.
  12. "...(which I've come to love, that long rich tonal scale)..."

    Key words.
  13. Sorry to go on about this, but you're not trying to be Nachtwey or anybody else, are you?
  14. For what it's worth Andrew, I much prefer the first image. The detail in the flower and hair is lost in the second. The mid tones and shadows are more aesthetically appealing to me in the first image but would rather see the high lights brought down a little.
  15. 2

  16. A lot depends on whether you're printing to exhibit or for reproduction. With today's scanners it's fairly easy to get a fairly accurate rendition of a B&W print onto the printed page. Back in the days of process cameras and half-tone screens it was as much art as science. If you were familiar with the publication you could give them a print that the camera operator could best shoot to give a reproduction that looked like what you wanted the final picture to look like in the publication. This was not a match of that print, but rather a close aproximation of a print made for exhibition. Is that all crystal clear? You'd usually make a print that was a tad flat, with rich open shadows and loads of highlight detail. With a bit of Photoshop tweaking these prints look great scanned too.
  17. </i><div> 005xdb-14395484.jpg </div>
  18. 2. more 3d. crisper. but then again, i always like richer tones. so it boils down to personal preference i guess.
  19. Either one would work, I think, depending on the circumstances. Personally, I might be inclined to split the difference on printing time and go somewhere in between.

    I must say, it's a jolly nice shot either way.
  20. Thanks everyone, points well taken. <p>
    Harvey, she was a jolly nice subject. <p>
    My regards-

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