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Friday, 03 July 2020


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Great stuff! This process is incredibly beneficial.

I like the photos of you holding the print. It gives a sense of scale. Not unlike a Timothy O’Sullivan photo from one of the early West expeditions, where he’d include a human in the landscape.

In a long ago exchange with Carl Weese about inkjet printing, he said, I believe, that he tried to get the exposure right and then do as little to the print as possible. I have two small color prints from him that are lovely and natural. I try to follow this in my black and white work too.

P800 and Canson Baryta is almost perfect for most work I duo.

Mike, Looking at the photo of the print in your hand and at Nick's jpeg, there are obvious tonal differences. Would you be willing to take a look at the actual print next to both the jpeg of you holding it, displayed on your monitor, and Nick's jpeg ditto, and tell us which jpeg, if either, comes closer to the actual look of the print?

[No, for the simple reason that I don't know what you're seeing on your monitor and even if I did, whatever I said might not be applicable to others. In this series you're just going to have to believe the words over the pictures, although I know that that, too, goes against human nature (not just yours, all of ours).

There's another issue. What kind of light? The same print looks very different in bright diffuse sunlight and low incandescent light. I always look at prints in various kinds of light as I get to know it. --Mike]

Hi Mike, Are you still accepting prints for Print Crit? I believe I read on your instructions page that you’ll only be doing 5.

[I have plenty for now. When I need more I'll make another announcement. But if you want to be working on one in the meantime, all to the good! --Mike]

Mike, I am really enjoying and learning from your print crit posts. Keep them coming on a weekly basis, please. Your “eye”, photographic ethic and critiquing skills are highly educational for me, who is, shall we say, an advanced amateur photographer/printer.

While I was mostly a b+w guy in the past, I am shooting and printing more color these days. Influences like Fred Herzog and Wm. Eggleston have led me in this direction. As such, it would be nice to have some color prints featured in your print crit posts...Chico

[Glad you're enjoying the discussions! So far I've discussed six prints, two color and four B&W. Those six are the only mailers I've opened. --Mike]

You are a person of great restraint, at least with this project. I would be tempted to open all the mailers and only talk about the standouts. But it looks like the average quality level is quite high. I have the P800, and some Canson paper, so no excuses for me.

I like Nick's B&W print too. My eyes drift from bird to buildings to river - again and again. It's a classic shot with a 1950s feel to it.

"B&W prints made by inkjet usually have a little something extra to prove to me. It's not a very natural medium for B&W"

I'm wondering if you have seen a well executed B&W inkjet print done with a custom carbon ink-set? I saw a gorgeous large nude study at an exhibition a few years ago, which has stuck in my mind ever since. I want to do that! The main thing stopping me is that I recognize it as a potential rat-hole into which I pour my time and money, yet still don't print any better than I do now with Epson ABW.

Mike, I remember sending some prints through the mail and wrote in huge letters: PHOTOS...DO NOT BEND. when they arrived, the person I sent them to told me that the mailman had written next to my PHOTOS DO NO BEND: "YES THEY DO!"

You wrote a lot about the technique of the print but what is your opinion on content, on the artistic "value"? How do you assess the story the print tells?

[Sometimes I'll talk more about that, sometimes less. I'm not approaching this by formula. --Mike]

The Print Crits are wonderful Mike, so insightful.

Please continue and, if possible, make more frequent.

Learning a lot about how to see.

Best Regards,


It's a lovely photo and one I would most likely never have seen.

Re your comments about packing a print for mailing. You are proposing $50 packing for, in this case, a $5 print. Not practical. The Post Office does have some blame here.

I'm not yet experienced enough with the possibilities and limitations of B&W inkjets, but I have seen enough that have exhibited superb quality on all fronts. And yes, I would definitely sacrifice that small, indescribable, something extra inherent in (some) darkroom prints in exchange for the greater control of inkjets (particularly when it comes to manipulating multiple small areas with differing light ratios and sources within one image).

Recently, upon looking at my old B&W darkroom prints, it hit me like a thunderbolt that I was not quite the printer I once imagined myself to be. With the exception of a few stand out prints, a good half to two thirds might pass as a first work print by Mitrovic.

Someone asked about the location so... this is a conventional view of Porto from the Dom Luis I Bridge over the Douro River. I am pretty sure everyone takes a photo from here. Which is not a comment on the merits of this shot.

Really? Is that a good print? I know the subject well, and have see many photos of the same view, some very good, but not this one. The fact that something is printed with a wide gray tonality does not mean that it is a good print. The tonal range of this one is mediocre at best.

I like Mr. Vincent’s image! It has a twist on the basic foreground / mid-ground / background construction (vividly illustrated in Jim Arthur’s comment) that gives it a visual spritz setting it apart from a dull tourist snap.

Still, again, I am of the opinion that this format is useless for discussing a physical object — a print — than readers have not experienced and that small blog images have no hope of adequately describing.

From a practical perspective I would stick to discussing images rather than prints of images here.

Mike - your opening statement to this post. Wow - really? Really? Is that really how you want to come across to your readers? You sound like quite a jerk. I've enjoyed your blog for probably 10 years or more, and pointed at least several regular readers your way. This is the first time I actually felt quite angry, and disappointed in you. I think I need a break from TOP after this.

[I'm surprised it struck you that way. But look--we sell prints. We've sold thousands of prints over the years. If you buy a print from us, for money, and it arrives to you bent or with a crushed corner or scratched, then we have a dissatisfied customer and an obligation to replace the damaged product. It doesn't bother me to look at damaged prints and I understand people who seldom ship prints aren't set up to do it and it isn't convenient for them to do it. I'm only trying to encourage people to respect their work enough to insure that it survives a voyage intact, that's all. But as I said, I'm not the boss of you. Sally Mann used to write letters on the back of 8x10 contact prints and fold them three times like a letter and stuff them into a plain envelope! I never threw away any of her letters, that's for sure. --Mike]

Hi to everyone,

I’d like to thank everyone who spent time commenting on my print and first of all, the critique, editor and chairman of the board, Mike. This Print Crit series is very valuable to me and I am so grateful my picture went through Mike’s eyes and high-powered magnifier.
When Mike launched the idea of Print Crit, I pondered like most of us who entered: which print should I send? I thought it had to resonate with the judge, who is going to be submerged with parcels within weeks. I had no idea at the time Mike was going to write his reviews in the order that he’s opening his mail. In my view it had to have some universal, timeless quality to it – one thing Portugal does so well. But it also had to have a twist. Take the crane and bird out of the picture, it remains a pleasant view on this magnificent city but the photograph loses its edge.

One last word, about the issue of packing prints: 1/ Not a single photograph received from TOP Print offers ever arrived damaged so, 2/ Lesson learnt Mike – although at the time, it felt like a pretty well wrapped print ;-)

Looking forward to the next Print Crits!

Best to all,


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