Shoot to print

Shoot to print

Recently I had the opportunity of meeting the great photographer and master printmaker, Steven Friedman. Steven graciously showed me his studio and some of his spectacular prints. We had a very interesting conversation about photography and printing in particular. Steven shared with me the concept of “shoot to print” which I found absolutely fascinating. 

Most of us shoot imagery which ends up on our computers and is mostly shared in digital form. Only later do we decide to print some of our work. In Steven’s case, the entire process of capturing the image, from start to finish, is geared toward printing. In other words, every decision, technical or artistic, that is made during the capture process is aimed at the final print. Even though some post-processing and print preparations are involved, from the start Steven thinks in terms of the print. 

This print-centered philosophy is on full display in his massive fine art prints. The details, tonality and craftmanship are truly impressive.  

In terms of gear, Steven explained why he chose to work with the Phase One system and what is so unique about the system that helps him to produce such remarkable prints.

Over the course of my career I have met many great photographers but few of them are master printers. In fact, many outsource printing at a certain level, including me. 

The great news is that Steven has agreed to write for the Medium Format Magazine and share some of his stories and techniques. Stay tuned for more information. 

Make sure to follow Steven on his Instagram account. 

Do you print yourself? On the capture level, do you ever apply the concept of “shoot for print”? The idea is definitely worth exploring.

Today let me share with you some imagery captured during the recent Visual Poet Experience Workshop in Vancouver. The next workshop is coming up this month, this time Ibarionex Perello and I will be leading it together. You can secure your spot here.   

2019 © OLI Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.

Printing – the final phase in the photographic process

For the last two weeks, Kasia and I have been battling one of the worst colds in years. While unpleasant, we found this homebound existence a good excuse to get on with organizing our photographic life.

First, we could continue with our annual delete frenzy. Every year we go through our entire photo catalogue, revaluate every image and delete the rotten apples. I have to admit that it is one of the most difficult but necessary parts of the photographic process and one that I’ve learnt to enjoy.

Every year, our catalogue goes on a diet and after a few days of fasting and deleting, we can once again direct our photographic purpose. This year, we managed to delete nearly half of our images. It is not that we hoard photos, quite the reverse. In fact, we take very few photos in the first place and delete most of them as soon as we upload them on the computer. I believe that constraint and discipline are an essential part of image-creation. We always remind ourselves: “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams   

Our clean catalogue has opened the door to our second homebound activity  – book design. Making prints, books and magazines closes the circle of image creation. If you don’t print your work, your photography is just a half-complete exercise, which most likely will vanish with time. If you are serious about photography, you must print your work. We find holding a print or a book in our hands to be a profound experience. It allows you and your audience to connect with your work on a personal level and engage all senses, which is not possible through digital media. Holding a physical book, feeling it, hearing the sound of the turning pages, engaging with one image at a time and in the order intended by the photographer is the way photography should come to life. Such thoughtful engagement with a photograph is in direct contrast to the fast-food mentality of the Internet. 

Now, book creation is not a trivial matter. It forces you to look at your work as a whole. It forces you to ask questions that would otherwise be left unasked. The design aspect of a photo book requires another set of skills I admit could be lacking in my case. Fortunately, with Kasia and her heavenly patience and ability to arrange, what at first appears to be a random set of images becomes a stunning sequence of photographs, which become a whole work.

In fact, recently we have been working on two book projects: first, a collection of our recent photographs and second, images from Kasia’s trip to Senegal. The Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji X-E1 and Fuji X100s files printed beautifully. Here are a few snapshots. Stay tuned for more details.













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© Olaf & Kasia Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.