The short take: As you've read here, Ctein is closing his darkroom within the next year. Before he does, through the end of this year, he's taking one last round of orders for his dye transfer prints.
After the end of this year, you'll be limited to whatever he has an inventory. When he closes the darkroom, a lot of his photographs will go out of print. So if there's a particular photograph of his that you've been eyeing, this may be your last opportunity to get it.
There's something else. When he does close his darkroom down, sometime between the end of this year and the middle of next, he's going to be raising the prices on his remaining dye transfer prints substantially—a minimum of 40% and, in the case of the very last dye print of any particular photograph, as much as 300%.
Can this really be the end?
We've cried wolf about this before. When Ctein had his first dye transfer sale here on TOP, I made noises about how it might be your last opportunity to own a real dye transfer print. That turned out to be wrong: a number of former dye printers approached Ctein during and after the sale, offering their unused materials to him, and, far from running out of paper, as he expected, he actually ended the sale with more paper in stock than he'd started with. He's now had a second dye transfer sale, and still has some materials left.
This time there really is a wolf...we just don't know exactly how close the furry feller actually is. Ctein will run out of paper within the year and he's not looking for more (as he's written, he's even looking forward to that darkroom closing).
Why a dye? Carl Weese's idea, from about 1996, was that B&W photography was already perfect, but that digital would represent the true coming-of-age of color photography. And thus it has come to pass. But of all the pre-digital color photographic methods, at least, dye was the aristocrat, a rare and damnably difficult-to-master process of almost unparalleled beauty.
In the 1990s, you could fit all the master dye transfer printmakers in the world into one living room. (I actually published that picture, in a magazine—sorry I can't show it to you.) Now, you could fit them all in a modestly-sized bedroom. Well, assuming they were good enough friends.
Ctein's prices may be bargains for dye transfer prints, but these aren't purchases everybody can enter into lightly, and he knows he isn't giving people a lot of time to make up their minds. To make your life a little easier economically, he's accepting layaways on orders, so people can pay for their prints gradually over a year or so instead of having to come up with a large chunk of money all at once.
Sometimes, there really is a wolf
So anyway, that's the announcement: Ctein is coming to the end of an era, and offering layaways on dye prints from his portfolio. There are info pages with layaway and pricing details.
And here's a page where you can see all the pictures that are available.
Keep in mind you're not really seeing the prints in the JPEGs, unless you know how to "translate" from one to the other in your mind. I know I have a reputation for hating cat and flower pictures, but this one for instance is just gorgeous as a dye, let me tell ya.
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Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.