Please take a look at this portfolio—"Cuba on the Edge of Change" at the New York Times. I'm just curious: what do you think of what you see from a purely technical standpoint?
When I used to teach fine printing, I, along with other teachers of photo printing, used to recommend keeping some "guide prints" handy, to "calibrate your eye," so to speak, before you went into the darkroom. Intended to be models or examples of what an ideal print should look like, these could be original prints by famous photographers or expert printmakers or prints of your own that were particularly good. One of mine (I had several) was actually an advertisement clipped from a fashion magazine (of Czech supermodel Paulina Porizkova, which didn't hurt).
But in those days, the materials to some extent dictated how they "wanted" to look, if you'll forgive the expression. That is, the way the materials functioned best was partially baked in at the factory. I developed a good gut sense of what any negative "wanted" to look like. You had a certain amount of leeway in printing, of course, but with B&W it was almost always best, and certainly easiest, to get it right in the negative. In fact, in my printing classes, the very first thing students did, first class, first day, was to go into the darkroom and make prints from "perfect" negatives that I'd prepared in advance. I wanted them to see what they were aiming at—and experience the pleasure of printing when printing was easy—before they had to struggle with exposure and development of film.
Now, of course, the prevailing mode of photography is digital imaging in color, and the end result is much more plastic or malleable. So what should digital color photographs look like, ideally?
I'm curious as to how close these 14 pictures come to your own ideal, and, if they don't come close, how they differ from what you like or expect to see.
(Thanks to Oren Grad)
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