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Re: why not small prints?
One of my early photographic revelations was when I saw the originals of
Stieglitz's "Equivalents" , having only seen them as repros in photo history
books and slide shows accompanying lectures...almost always larger than the
originals. The originals are 4X5 contact prints and incredibly moving...for
one reason because you have to move up close and personal to see them well.
They had an 11X14 over window matte with a matte backing and I was holding
them in my cotton gloved hands. It was an early epiphany.
Nothing is art is right and wrong...you choose what works best in what
size considering how much detail and tonality you want to hold and at what
scale your subject matter and intentions work best. Personal choice. I own
one of Neil Folberg's prints of the starry sky over a crumbling crusader's
castle in the Sinai. (Yes, I collect other people's work) The image is
about 8X8 inches and it is stunning. I personally like to print in 16X20
because of the way I deal with my subject matter, allowing both design and
detail to simultaneously play on the viewer's eye and mind.
In summary, a very personal choice based upon your own aesthetic
----- Original Message -----
From: Shannon Stoney <email@example.com>
Sent: Saturday, August 04, 2001 10:49 PM
Subject: 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
> as contact prints. I've only shown them to a few people, and after they
> 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
> 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
> 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?