• Carl Battreall

Print Every Image

Old plug, Alaska, 2020
Print #2 Alaska, 2020 1/1 www.asinglelens.com

" The negative is the score, the print is the performance." - Ansel Adams

Photography doesn't end on the computer screen, just like it didn't end on the light table. The photographic print is the art, the print is the craft. Without a print your image doesn't exist, it is just a bunch of pixels. It needs to be printed, you need to hold it in your hands, that is when it comes alive.

A print also reveals all the flaws in your technique. If your image doesn't make a compelling, engaging print, it should be deleted. Why would you show the world anything but your best work? During a workshop John Sexton once told me "The trash can is your friend." He was right. This is one of the great flaws in the current photography model. In order to stay high ranking in the social media juggernaut, you must constantly produce work. But it is simply impossible to create enough meaningful, quality work to stay at the top of the rankings, so photographers just publish online everything they take, even mediocre photographs. Many photographers have never even made a single print of their work. Can they really be called a photographer then?

Many years ago, I, along with five other photographers were selected for a 1% for the Arts commission. Now, it is really rare for photography to be included in public art. Mainly because public art is meant to be a one of a kind commissioned piece. The curators and designers had a vision of these huge, back lit photographs printed on a transparent material. When the images were selected, one of the photographers backed out, frustrating the curators and everyone involved. The photographer had never made prints of her work and realized that her images wouldn't be able to be enlarged that big, they looked great on her screen, but failed when she made some test prints.

I offered to submit a different body of work and they selected two more images from that submission to replace the images she had submitted. It was a benefit for me but a career damaging mistake on the other photographer's part. Don't make that mistake.

I believe most photographer want to see their work printed in magazines and books. Even if fine art prints aren't your thing, you owe it to yourself and your photography to buy a quality inkjet printer and print every image.

Bring your photography alive and make prints!

If you have and questions or comments, feel free to contact me.