Thinking about the New Topographics made me think of this picture by my friend (and TOP contributor) Carl Weese, which I very much like for some reason I can't quite put my finger on.
The original is an 8x10 platinum contact print. I've never seen it "in person," but I know from experience that of all the photographic techniques I'm aware of, the qualities of platinum prints survive reproduction in ink the least well—and definitely don't make it into pixels.
But I've seen so many real ones that I fancy I can "see" what the original of this must look like. Sort of. I'll bet it's delicate and ethereal and subtle.
It kinda reminds me of a Geoff Dyer quote..."Photographs sometimes work on you strangely and simply: at first glance you see things you subsequently discover are not there."
Here it looks a bit...gray, but you have to remember, you're not looking at it. You're just looking at a representation of it. A picture of a picture. For instance, look at that near tonal merger along the left side of the second story of the building—I'll bet that edge is exquisite in platinum.
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.