I do think Ansel Adams said it best when he discussed the importance of understanding the capture of an image by composing the subject as well understanding the light.
“The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score, and the print the performance.”
The capture is only a part of the image – the printing process has an arguably equal place in the showcasing of an image. My first photography experiences were from film – and I worked with it for a long time – and still do. My favorite styles of capture are those of photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson. I loved not only his reality, but his idea of capturing “The Decisive Moment” was of great importance, showcasing great examples of layering within the composition of the photograph. As a wedding photographer, that is my favorite approach and I personally think it is what is destined to last the test of time. We are in an era now where many wedding photographers employ a commercial feel to their imagery and it takes away from the soul of the event…..in fact, everything can become so overwhelming, I dare to say there is limited capture of the soul. It’s all about details, style shoots, etc. Let me be clear, I am not knocking the quality of the imagery – it’s excellent. I do think the work loses it’s essence if it becomes too commercial. It’s a trend these days – we’ll see how long it lasts. I would like to thank photographers like Jeff Ascough for his incredible work in keeping true wedding photography alive. He is one of the few wedding photographers that constantly intrigues me when I look around the web. I keep coming back to work like this. I wanted to devote this post to showcase one image with two different styles of fine art printing – one black and white and one sepia toned image – along with the color version of the photograph.
Lets start by looking at a color image of Manisha and Narendra straight out of the camera. I love this moment – the bride’s eyes looking at the groom with one of those magical gazes and I want to show you two other approaches to printing this file.
Let’s take the image into the darkroom:
As you can see, the image above allows the eye to focus on one point with a vignette added to maintain a strong center of interest. I print with borders at times because it defines an ending point, especially on brighter highlight areas. Every film has a different look and can be developed in different ways (push/pull processing, contrast filters, etc.) – I’ve always loved the darkroom because every image you get is unique. There is no way to duplicate dodging and burning with contrast filters and have two prints just alike. This is what helps many fine art prints maintain a high value among collectors. If the landscape prints from Ansel Adams were done on a digital camera, he would not be known like he is today. He was an excellent photographer with tremendous attention to detail, sometimes working on one print in his darkroom for a month. Our company offers a very unique silver-halide printing process from our digital wedding files that showcase the integrity of a silver gelatin print. These are simply the number one standard in photographic printing and allow the owner to have a truly unique piece of art.
A sepia-toned version is below:
The same image with three different printing approaches. Stay tuned as we will soon launch a gallery on our site with all black and white fine art prints.
Rob Garland is the owner of Rob Garland Photographers, an award winning Charlottesville wedding photographer that specializes in wedding photojournalism and fine art printing. Rob prides himself on a classic, intuitive, heartfelt documentation with the utmost in visual integrity. He has documented many destination weddings throughout the U.S. and abroad as well as Charlottesville weddings at many of our outstanding local venues. Rob loves imagery that fails to go in and out of style and personal touches that make each wedding unique.