Create: Print Q&A Episode 001

My life was ruined in the late 1980s when I watched my first silver print come alive in the Dektol. “Oh no,” I remember thinking. “Time for a right turn.” And turn I did, toward photography as my career, much to the chagrin of my father who didn’t like photography or photographers for that matter. When a journalist was killed my father would cut out the clipping from the newspaper and mail it in my direction. Handwritten notes of “He/she probably deserved it,” scrawled across the story, but it never phased me because by that time I was already too far gone.

Don’t worry, no #vanlife love fest.

I know this might seem difficult to believe, at least for some of you, but print is still a very important part of the creative world. Regardless of how much you hear about the digital space. Sure, digital is critical but the blend of the two worlds is where the most talented live. But print can be a daunting realm, especially to those new to the game. Heck, paper choice alone can stifle even the best of intentions. Trim size, paper type, cover type, print run, budget, editing, sequencing, marketing, distribution, etc. Like a word problem in math class. (I always aimed for a D- in math and never let myself down.)

This is the first in a series about print. Doesn’t matter what kind. Analog, inkjet, digital silver, print-on-demand, or offset. If you have questions then by all means fire away. If I can’t answer I’ll find someone who can.

14 Comments on “Create: Print Q&A Episode 001”

  1. Loved this, Dan, thank you. I would love to see the backstory to your Sicily project: the photographs, of course, but also the logistics of how you planned each visit, chose the layout, paper etc. – the whole backstory, please.

    With regard to selling through social media, I recently watched a Leica Talk between Andreas Kaufmann and Ralph Gibson (I was in lockdown, that’s my excuse) in which Ralph Gibson mentions a portfolio of his work shown online in Wired magazine. He later called the magazine and asked how many people had seen the portfolio and was told it was nineteen million, four hundred thousand. He noted that out of all that exposure he didn’t receive one single email enquiry.

    My take: if you want to sell online you have to first build an audience.

    Watching this, now I know why you get up at 5pm.

    1. Mike,
      Yep, lots and lots of views. Not necessarily a bad thing. But ZERO personal response. Not good. Email is considered a pain now. A written letter even worse.

  2. I print some books in Blurb, from Adobe Lightroom. But now i use Darktable for edition., and the system is GNU/Linux. Dou yoy made something for distribute yor sotfware in this operating system? Thanks

  3. Hey Daniel,

    a big +1 on Jim’s comment above.

    Any chance you’ll speak at length about sequencing and culling for a publication?

    I do concert photographs mostly, so I understand that my “story” arch is not really existent (except in the cases where backstage access is granted for some artists that I know more closely).

    I have a big mental block pulling images out of the order in which they happened, since a concert itself often already has its own arch.

    Would be very interested to hear from you about sequencing for non-story-driven publications. The zine format of blurb has been ideal for projects like this, and I’m doing far to little of these.

    1. Michael,
      Hmm, one thing you could do is look at some of the music greats. Claxton, Marshall, Clinch and even Annie when she did Rolling Stones way back at the beginning of her career. Sure, they shot way more than the concerts but you can learn a lot from their edits and sequence. I would also start doing all the things that make you uncomfortable. Then ask yourself why.

      1. Yes, I do have a few concert photography books, but these usually aren’t “monographs”. If I create a zine, it’s usually images from one single show. If I’d create a retrospective of a year or simpler, a festival, then I’d do exactly as you described. Print them all small and push them around on the ground until a meta picture forms.

        Looking forward to what you have to tell about sequencing in the future (as hinted in your reply to Jim above). Also looking forward to the hinted at episode on layouting.

        “I would also start doing all the things that make you uncomfortable. Then ask yourself why.”

        I fcking love that. 😀 “Gimme dat needle, I need to poke myself in all different places!”

        [shuffles off, opens affinity publisher…]

        1. Michael,
          Most of my breakthroughs have come from colossal mistakes. Or from total confusion.

  4. Hey Dan,
    Thanks for answering so many questions so thoroughly. I didn’t know that scanning black and white negatives would produce such great results. This is inspiring to say the least. Also the many creative Avenues opened up by Blurb are reaffirming my decision to get back into photography.

    I’m sitting in front of a new I Mac 27″ trying to learn basic light room. This is mostly your fault,( Best Buy says thanks).

    I’m going to use this mac for three things mainly, 1- future black and white photography with prints made by Digital Silver Imaging. 2- making some zines with Blurb with old and new images. 3-digitizing all my Kodachrome slides from 1987 thru 2005. These are mainly the history of my three children growing up and travel photos from different states where we lived.

    I’ll be retiring from the railroad in 4 years and thanks to you providing information and inspiration, I’ve got plenty to do. The wife and I were in Santa Fe and Abiquiu September 2019. We have always loved New Mexico, ( something about the light ), and hope to make another trip. Also met a local artist on the square, Miro Kenarov originally from Bulgaria. What a talent, bought two paintings from him. Chalk up another great artist in Santa Fe.

    Thanks again, Keith Peeples.
    KORITFW.

    1. Ronald,
      Dude, well done. Happy for you. You will see how wonderful black and white can look printed digitally. Great computer too. You are on your way.

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