A Tale of Two Prints

Digital Photography Sucks

Draw Your Own Conclusions

Enlarger Alignment Laser Module

Fine Art Photography

Knowing What You Want

Miss America and Ansel Adams

Painting versus Photography

Popularity is Overrated

Rare and There

The Art of Printing or Not

The Banality of Ink Jet Prints

Useless Idiot


The Banality of Ink Jet Prints – February 8, 2008

Today I found myself sorting through all kinds of threads on APUG. One thread that happened to catch my eye discussed whether paying $500 for a photography book was worth it. And part of the deal in buying the particular book being discussed was that the book came with an original inkjet print by the artist. While I think I’ve made clear my disdain for digital photography, I thought the following comment by Jason Brunner was spot on, and more or less summed up the way I feel about inkjet prints as well.

If I wanted a particular book bad enough, I'd pay what the market price was. It's a shame about the inkjet print, but I would be paying for the book anyway. If it had a real print made by the photographer, so much the better.

My judgment on such a print would also be considered according to the photographer. If the photographer made inkjet prints as a matter of course, and that was the medium they worked with, I would consider it differently than if they worked say in silver gelatin, but the print in the book was an inkjet. In the latter case, it would feel more to me like a lazy cheap shortcut to add some value. Some may howl all they want, but inkjet printing is basically a time and labor saving shortcut. That's not to say making a good output file is easy, by any means, but in the end, it is what it is, a print produced completely by a machine. (I tried making them too, but I quit, because it holds no satisfaction for me.)

In all cases I am happier with non-inkjets. I have a Brooks Jenson print that I quite like, but I really wish it were silver. Up on the wall next to my other prints I can tell the difference, and knowing anybody with access to the file could produce exactly the same inkjet print sort of keeps my affection for it at a distance. I feel like it is a very good copy of an image, but a copy nonetheless. That’s just how I feel, and somebody may point out that it is illogical. Maybe so, but that is still the way I feel.

And by the way, I would have no problem paying $500 for a photography book if that was the going price and I thought the book was well done and the work was something I greatly admired. I’d probably be more apt to pay $500 for a single print as opposed to a book, but either way $500 doesn’t seem outlandish to me. And a book from an artist I admire along with an actual handmade print, well that would definitely be worth the trouble.