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why not small prints?
This is a sort of related question to the current thread about negative
enlargement via Photoshop and various printers and ink systems: how do
people on this list feel about small prints? I have been making contact
prints with my 4x5 negatives all summer, in cyanotype. I shot these
negatives intending to enlarge them, but in the end I decided to print them
as contact prints. I've only shown them to a few people, and after they get
over the shock of the blue, people think they are too small or that they
would be better if they were bigger. I wonder if this is true as an
aesthetic judgement, or if it's just that we've grown accustomed to big
prints in galleries (unless we're looking at snapshots or postcards) and we
could get used to small prints. I mean, why not small prints? We accept
smallness in the above mentioned snapshots and postcards. My images are
mostly landscapes; so are many postcards. I wonder if they would "read"
more acceptably if I called them postcards?
I guess this question has to do with expectations and how malleable they
are. I have gotten used to the blue and I hardly see it any more: I see a
range of values and textures and details. I wonder if we could also get
used to small fine art prints. The first photography shows that Stieglitz
put together I think were mostly small prints by today's standards.
Nowadays, photographers tend to make huge prints to show in galleries, I
suppose to give them more presence and help them compete with paintings.
But small prints have an appealing intimacy I think.
Also, when you are making negatives intending to make small contact
prints, do you restrict yourself to certain subject matter or compositions
that you feel will "work" with small prints?