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SF Bay Area Large Format Photography Group Message Board › Is it still your own photo if you don't print it?

Is it still your own photo if you don't print it?

user 2818249
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 14
The thread that Tomas started about Walker Evans made me think of another exhibition that I saw at SF MoMa - an exhibition of Garry Winogrand images. Garry Winogrand took a camera with him everywhere, and shot pictures continually. Apparantly in his workflow he would have the film processed and have contact sheets made, he would then circle the exposures that he wanted printed, and someone else did the bulk of his printing. When he died, he left behind 2500 rolls of exposed, undeveloped film, and several if the images in those rolls were included in the exhibition at Moma.

I am a member of a print exchange, and recently the print that was distributed from John (not his real name) was from a negative that he did not shoot himself - he had developed the film, and printed the image. There was a bit of outrage by some members of the group who feel that you can only claim that it is 'your work' if you do everything from release the shutter to print the final image yourself.

Clearly the curator at SF Moma did not feel this way about the images in the Winogrand exhibition. Also we know that several famous photographers (including Saint Ansel) had others print some of the prints that they sold.

I am curious what you think about this - I know that many of you don't control each step of the process - you may send film out for processing in a lab, or printing, does it make a difference if it is color of B&W?

Which steps of the photographic process are vital if you are to claim that the end result is a representation of your artistic vision?

Tim S.
user 10961683
San Jose, CA
Post #: 42
Others can develop it and print it, maybe even trip the shutter. The person who conceives
the work is the creator.

I think in the case you mention, where the person did not shoot [the work] himself,
that is significantly different than Winogrand's case, for the above reason.

There's quite a few famous photographers who have/had *very* good printers.
For example, Ignas Gabalis was Karsh's primary printer for 40 years. His
technique allowed Karsh's work to shine, but I don't think anyone would claim
that the portrait of Churchill - for instance - was Gabalis' work.

user 4048518
Fremont, CA
Post #: 22
Very interesting question Mark. I say this because I had an experience with one of my heroes in the photography world Gregory Crewdson. I followed his conceptual work and I loved it. As an art student I didnt hesitate to contact him to see if I could do an internship with him on one of his shoots. While he does a lot of his personal works for gallery and publication, he also does big budget shoots for films etc. I was able to see a documentary on one of his personal shoots and to my surprise he filled the role more of art director than photographer, which had me question the difference. So for example - GC had the concept, but his team scouted the location. He knew the time of day to be presented but had his post processing team execute the day to night processing. GC was on the crane for the shoot but he did not even release the shutter. Yes he gave the order but he actually never touched the camera.
On the flip side of actually holding the camera and doing the work, is the appropriation of others work and calling it yours, as in taking a photograph of a photograph and calling it an original work.... We have had plenty of discussion of this matter and interestingly enough the line falls as it will.

Most instructors felt that if two people took a photo of a scene with a tree, rock and shrub and if one person in post, cropped a bit of the tree out - its an original work of art.
So if I apply the same to printing I guess if a person received a negative and decides his own processing ( particular dodging and burning) it could be different than the artists original intent and therefore be original ??

Slippery slope on any side.. IMO
user 2818249
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 15
Not photography, but also art - Dale Chihuly is a very well respected glass artist, who since losing sight in one of his eyes no longer blows his own glass - yet the creations done in his studio with others hands are considered 'his'

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