Monitor vs. print (was Re: Post-Factory Photography)
Klaus Pollmeier (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tue, 12 May 1998 23:04:01 +0200
The discussion between Pete and Don about images on monitor or on paper
probably showed an interesting misunderstanding: Pete was referring to
the technical aspects of an image while Don was referring to the idea of
As for Don every aspect of the original is essential (image, material,
sharpness, tone, surface...), he cannot agree to show his image "naked",
without all these other qualities. Actually, it probably wouldn't be
naked but would get other clothes, as by a transition from one media to
another the perception of this piece of art changes, according to the
rules of the new media.
To me, those high class (and high price) coffe-table books, which want
to imitate a photograph's qualities by tri-tone high-gloss super-perfect
printing in fact are often doing a bad job: The try to make believe that
they can replace the original.
Remember Camera Work or other fine art reproductions from the turn of
the century: The best reproductions were printed in photogravure. One
can't say that photogravure (or later rotogravure) wanted to imitate
other processes - it had (and has) a very special quality of its own. I
believe that this quality matched the IDEA of those photographer's
images and appealed to the viewers phantasy (to imagine how the real gum
print PROBABLY may have looked like) rather than showing the thing as it
"is". That may be the reason, why even these photogravures are collected
today - they are not only carrying information, but an idea as well.
A computer screen shows a certain lack of such media qualities to me. It
doesn't appeal to my phantasy but seems to know everything, pixel by
pixel. Computers still are calculating machines, dealing with numeric
information. We don't have a Hal yet. A printed image in a publication
which still says: "Look at me, but be warned: I am not the original, I
am just an idea of it" gives me more. And might be a good reason to stay
with printed hard copies for certain publications for a while...