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Large prints in review

From: Narrative Portraiture: On Location in New York with Rodney Smith

Video: Large prints in review

Now that we've had a chance to see some of the photographs that I feel are keepers, I wanted to take a few more moments to talk a little bit about this whole idea of reviewing and evaluating your pictures. You know, so often what we do is we look at our photographs on our computer screen. We make the important decisions there. You know, sometimes that isn't enough. For example, with this picture here, now we've seen this one before, but what happened was, when I saw it on my computer, I didn't like it, but I thought it might be good, I'll make a print.

Large prints in review

Now that we've had a chance to see some of the photographs that I feel are keepers, I wanted to take a few more moments to talk a little bit about this whole idea of reviewing and evaluating your pictures. You know, so often what we do is we look at our photographs on our computer screen. We make the important decisions there. You know, sometimes that isn't enough. For example, with this picture here, now we've seen this one before, but what happened was, when I saw it on my computer, I didn't like it, but I thought it might be good, I'll make a print.

And when I saw it in printed form, I really liked it. You know something happens when you commit an image to a print. It tells a different type of a story. Our computers are often cluttered. We have email. We have to think about hard drives and hard drive space and being efficient and making the right decisions. But when you have a print, you can almost let the photograph breathe, let it live on its own, apart from all the chaos of our computers. Here is another photograph where the same thing happened.

In this case, when I looked at this one on my computer, I thought, well, it's kind of ordinary. But then after I created this test print, I liked the fact that it was ordinary. That is what drew me to the image, those simple ordinary details. It was honest. It was authentic. It wasn't that it was dull, but those details became what I valued about the picture. Or this one, another perspective of that same scene, once I ran this test print, I could see into the kitchen. On my computer, I was drawn to the shapes, the forms, to Rodney.

Once I created the print, it was almost like I peered into the kitchen, and that made me realize I like this one. I like that detail. There are more layers here. There's more happening in that picture. And you know, sometimes it's important to make just rough prints, like this one here. You know, it's not laid out well. It's not on a big piece of paper. It's a rough test print. But in doing that, I saw the separation of Rodney from the background, the simplicity or strength of that frame. And again, that drew me in. And the same thing happened with other photographs as well, like this one.

It was all about him. It wasn't location. It was, who is he, who is this person, how can I tell that story? And many times when print small and if I like it, I'll print big, and then I'll create the same picture on a large sheet of paper. Now, the point here isn't to say that there's a method to this madness; rather, that it's worth experimenting and sometimes when you experiment, it can lead to interesting results, like with this last photograph here.

Here was the rough test print, and I liked the picture, but I just wondered, as I looked at this photograph, what would happen if there wasn't so much space above him. What if I cropped this image? So I decided to create another print, and in doing that, I think I created something kind of interesting, different, another iteration, or version, of the same picture. Now the crop is much closer to his head. And again, these type of decisions, could you make them on your computer? Well, sure. But sometimes I find that there are certain decisions that I can't make on my computer.

I need to create that print, tack it up, live with it, let it breathe, get to know it in a new way. If you want you want to set yourself apart as a photographer, and if you want to review and edit your photographs in a different way, perhaps creating prints is the answer. You know, so often, people just use their computers; they make those important decisions there. But one of the things I've found that's true is this--Rodney said it best. He said, "With my photographs, oftentimes, I tentatively embrace them.

I'm not quite sure if they're good. That happens to me all the time, but I can really become perhaps a bit more decisive when I make those prints. And by seeing it in printed form, I can make the tough decisions." Is this one good or not? No, it isn't. Or perhaps I can move beyond tentatively embracing it, to really deciding, you know what? This one is a keeper.

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This video is part of

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  1. 2m 13s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
    2. Introduction to Rodney Smith
      46s
  2. 31m 37s
    1. Creating serene photographs...spontaneously
      4m 37s
    2. Creating photographs that ask questions
      4m 43s
    3. What makes a photograph good?
      5m 28s
    4. Film, digital, and the importance of the artifact
      6m 1s
    5. Contrast, tone, and black and white versus color
      5m 0s
    6. The early years and photography today
      5m 48s
  3. 13m 16s
    1. First impressions: A portrait without the subject
      3m 52s
    2. The finishing room
      1m 4s
    3. The darkroom
      7m 13s
    4. The final print room
      1m 7s
  4. 23m 11s
    1. Selecting the gear
      3m 41s
    2. Shooting the portrait
      6m 13s
    3. Reviewing the plan for the shoot
      2m 6s
    4. The portrait in review
      6m 36s
    5. Large prints in review
      4m 35s
  5. 8m 33s
    1. Why take pictures?
      2m 11s
    2. Cultivating the discipline to print
      2m 8s
    3. Exploring Rodney Smith's "The End"
      4m 14s
  6. 5m 27s
    1. Embracing a theme: Surprise, whimsy, or cliché
      55s
    2. Creating photos that ask questions
      2m 22s
    3. Creating fashion photos with a unique style
      2m 10s
  7. 26m 40s
    1. Photography is a reflection of who we are
      1m 47s
    2. Photography is about the art of observation
      1m 57s
    3. Working with models
      2m 10s
    4. Raise more questions than you answer
      3m 5s
    5. Mentors strengthen our vision
      3m 37s
    6. There is a right place for certain things
      4m 39s
    7. What influences you?
      3m 22s
    8. The camera as a tool for gaining wisdom
      3m 6s
    9. Creating photographs deepens who we are
      2m 57s
  8. 33s
    1. Conclusion
      33s

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