Nikon F4, Nikkor 50mm, 1/60th sec at F1.4, Tri-X 400 in XTOL
There is something to the handmade wet print that just speaks to me. I think is has to do with the work and thought that goes into making them. It’s always like magic when the image appears in the tray but it goes way beyond that. The little baby steps, the subtle changes between test prints that is the journey to the final print that is so darn fun. It’s hard work to be sure, but the reward is measured by the effort put into it. There are phrases that come to mind, “you get out of it, what you put into it” and “anything worth doing is worth doing well”.
Another aspect of the wet print is the fact that it was made with the touch of my hand. Not just on the print but on the tools that make the print. From the knobs on my enlarger, to the filters I choose and slide in front of the lens. It is real, in this world, a physical process that produces a physical result. It’s not some bits and bytes displayed on a screen that has no physical properties. It is real, and will always be real.
I got a direct mail marketing piece in the mail from a well known printer company advertizing the new printer that prints really nice big prints. It even states it prints beautiful black and white prints at the touch of a button. Well, we all know it takes much more work to get a fantastic print from one of these than just pushing a button. Any way it does look really nice but I saw the price and just about fell over. $1,195.00! On sale, holy cow! That doesn’t include paper and ink. I don’t get why so many people have abandoned the darkroom to make prints, especially when an entry level printer costs so darn much. Oh well, to each his/her own. Mine is hand made in the dark, I like it that way.