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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

An Organizin' Fool

Ken Tanaka's post on whether to print or not has inspired some excellent comments. Personally, I love the craft of printmaking, although my skills as a digital printer are not up to the level of my darkroom skills (and neither are my darkroom skills, any more. That is, I'm a bit rusty. Furthermore, I miss the darkroom. Since I parted from my last one, I feel as if a crotchety (and yes, smelly!) but beloved old dog has died.)

But I have to say I was chastened by Janne's question, "I really want to know—what do people who print do with the prints? Stuff them in a box, hang them on their living room wall?"

Just a few days before this discussion began—honestly—I ordered a dozen archival metal-edge print boxes from Dick Blick—half a dozen 11x14 and have a dozen 9x12. The fact is, I have prints in stacks on the floor, prints piled in closets, prints in drawers, dozens and dozens of shabby old photo-paper boxes filled with prints...pretty much in every nook and cranny in the house. It was time to try to bring a little order to the chaos—although, just as with books and bookcases, it is a truism that the number of prints you have to box will always outrun the boxes you have to put them in. Why have all these prints? Why, because I really like to look at them. That's the simple and true answer. Sometimes I even let other people see a few. But not terribly often—why would they care?

I'm continuing to strive towards the day when I will be able to make really good, permanent inkjet prints that I feel the same way toward as I feel toward archivally-processed fiber-base black & white prints. And I am going to try to be more selective about what I keep, and more organized about where I keep them. Really, I am.

Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON

11 Comments:

Anonymous dazedgonebye said...

I need some of those...as well as a good something or other for a portfolio.
I have a stack of pics not doing anything...which is a shame really, but what DO you do with them all?
I too find a printed output to be very satisfying. I sell a few, give away a few, and hang a few. But, so far, there are not enough outlets for my output.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I print I hang on the wall, mostly. I have some closet queen prints of course. But I looked at that Kodak (IIRC) ad that has a room with the walls covered with prints and decided, hey I can do that. And I have been..heh.

Photoburner

1:46 PM  
Anonymous William said...

You can always create handmade books of photos and stack them in the bookcase.

2:17 PM  
Blogger yunfat said...

Check out the Itoya Art folios. They let people brwose up to 50 13*19's at a time with nice plastic see through protection. They have them in tons of sizes, Blick has em, and I have found them indispensible over the years.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I give my digital prints to friends and family members.

3:54 PM  
Blogger George Barr said...

In my office I have simple wooden rails with a groove cut by a table saw into which the bottom of the print sits, the top and sides held by push pins - currently have 14 prints on the walls of a tiny office. Up go my new interesting prints to see if they stand the test of time and to look for improvements I could make - but I still have boxes and boxes of prints, just like all of you.

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I print a lot of photos, the ones I think are especially goods. Somehow, I can't quite tell just how good the image is until I see it as a print in good light. And I love to pick up a print, turn it a bit (or a lot), and generally handle it while looking at it.

After trying the boxes, and the Itoya portfolios, I ordered a lot of clear, archival plastic bags for pictures. I put all the prints from a session in one bag. I save the boxes the print paper came in, and put the filled bags in them. I *think* - I'm not certain - that any acid in the boxes will be kept out by the bags.

In this way, I don't have to pay for storage containers (the bags are dirt-cheap compared with anything else), and all related pictures - i.e., from a session - are kept together.

If I want to take some pictures to show someone, I pull the ones I want and either put them in their own bag, or put them in an Itoya portfolio or a storage box. I have enough of them now that I don't use them for routine storage.

Tom Passin

9:14 PM  
Blogger Fazal Majid said...

If you want a portfolio that's a little classier than the Ito-Ya, try the Prat leather ones. They are often on sale at Dick Blick.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Jon said...

I was thinking about this not so long ago. Most of my prints are done in the darkroom and have many a print lying around, like as you said, on the floor anywhere slightly out of the way.

As im a student in a rented house i cant knock in nails wherever i want (plus, i cant afford frames) so i use all the walls in my room to pin my pictures up to.

Most of them are 10x8 with a few 16x10 but just being able to lay in bed listening to some Fela Kuti looking at my prints is great. Even if its only for at least 1/2hour every now and then

6:43 AM  
Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Brooks Jensen of Lenswork had a recent essay where he said he hopes his 8x10 prints give about as much pleasure as a CD. That got me thinking that I change CDs on a regular basis, but the stuff on the wall is static.

We just bought a house, and my plan is to put some kind of system on the wall where I can rotate out my prints. Probably rails for them to sit on, or something similar.

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Ernest Theisen said...

The rails approach works really well for me. If I think the print is OK I matt it and put it up on the rails in my office. My office is on the way to the laundry room. I look at it for several days. Everytime I walk into the room I look at it. After a few days of viewing by me and others I can tell, we can tell, if it is really good enough to frame and/ or put on the web site or maybe it needs more work or maybe in goes in the reject box. Seeing the print on the wall on the rail really helps me. Ernie Theisen

7:43 PM  

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