U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: New trends <was Re: Direct Carbon Potential.>

Re: New trends <was Re: Direct Carbon Potential.>

On Wed, 16 Jan 2008, Greg Schmitz wrote:

To expand on the commercial side of things, I think the current market for either a carbon transfer or direct carbon printing product is miniscule. However, if we turn back the clock about 30 years, one could have made the same statement about platinum printing. It is my understanding that Dick Sullivan went ahead and began producing platinum printing materials at a time when a market didn’t exist and quite likely contributed a good deal of the impetus for its successful revival. Though carbon transfer is not widely used today, Dick’s current work to make carbon transfer products available makes perfect sense in light of platinum’s resurrection.
A propos of platinum resurrection, however, whether Sullivan or his precursors are credited... There is a mystique to the word "platinum" that the word "carbon" lacks... and judging by the reponse I see from the lay public, who don't know a carbon print from a typewriter, when you say "platinum print" their eyes light up: They know it is (or is supposed to be, or used to be) the most expensive metal. And "carbon" is what's destroying the world with global warming (heh heh).

As noted, I wrote about the desire for hand labor in the inaugural issue of Post-Factory, but I'm not sure that counts as much now -- in part because of inkjet printers and the concomitant software programs. The desire for arcania can be very well satisfied (overdosed in fact) by the head-work of those badly configured and explained, hence mysterioso and quixotic strategies... which IME are much trickier to control than the platinum print, which would be (relatively speaking) childen's play if not for the money involved.

I also see "pigment print" stated in gallery shows as if it were a rare vision from the gods. And *the look* can be similar, if not identical, to the layperson (as witness a show at John Stevenson's last year -- inkjet prints & gums side-by-side. The inkjet prints looked wilder, although the gums were a miracle of finesse.. the moral was you can do whatever
esthetically either way.)

Which is to say, the future lies ahead....

My generation, or at least some of us, rejected or looked for alternatives to the slick "commercial" and/or "cliche" images being produced at the time (Ansel was not always a favorite, nor was Mortensen). Process was one way to head in a different ("new") direction (the same was true in the "printing arts" BTW). Recently, I've seen a few posts to photography groups that read something like, "hey, I used my dad's Nikon and shot film - really cool." We'll see where it goes, but perhaps the corporate market place is not always in the drivers seat.
Greg, you may also be eliding the "look" or subject, composition & style of the print with the medium. I myself have surely seen as many cliched boring so what else is new, or, OK, what's your point?, photographs in, say, platinum or gum or whatever as on factory paper from Kodak.

A friend tells me she's bought a book of Loretta Lux prints... which most folks even on the list find innovative & charming. But IIRC they're photoshop and inkjet, with a bit of handwork. I could go on (probably) except if you miss a day on this list, you've got 100 e-mails to read. (Thank heaven for spam -- my cock is already big enough so I can delete those 15-30 without reading.)