"He has good tone" was supposedly Louis Armstrong's highest compliment to another musician. As a black-and-white printer I was very particular about tone, like most good black-and-white printers are. I would say one in every ten black-and-white pictures I see have acceptable tone, and one in one hundred have good tone.
Fashion photography is not my bag, so I don't know much about its practice or its practitioners. But Patrick Demarchelier sure has good tone. Every now and then over the years one of his pictures will bowl me over.
Many good printers keep "reference prints" around, the purpose of which is to "season the eye" for good tone. Wish I had a print of this.
(P.S. I feel relaxed and happy today, but I think I might be suffering the effects of exposure somewhat. It was 8°F at the football game last night, with a wind chill of –9°F. That was at kickoff. It got colder as the game wore on. And I'm not used to being outdoors. I've been taking it easy all day. Back in the saddle tomorrow....)
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Featured Comments from:
Ray Hunter: "August, 2013 issue of Deutsch Vogue was devoted to Ms. Kidman and contained a portfolio of images that spanned the gamut of concept and presentation."
Jeff (partial comment): "Funny you mention tone today. I went to D.C. on Saturday to catch a couple of exhibitions, including one at the Phillips Collection. There I saw a Walker Evans print of an Alabama landowner. The screen version is unremarkable, but I tell you that the range of grey tones and print quality was so wonderful that I've been thinking about that print for days now. I've been fortunate to own a couple of Evans' prints, but I wish I had this one on my wall."
David Bostedo: "Probably asking too much, but I would love to see a critique of good and bad tone with examples or reasoning of what makes it good or bad. I don't get it, and would like to."
Mike replies: And I'd love to explore it some time, as it's a subject near and dear to my heart. Unfortunately it probably demands a more in-depth treatment than the pace of a daily blog can permit. Maybe when I "retire" I'll switch to writing one long article every month, and I can cover it then. :-)