Sandra Sneed

By January 15, 2015 Questions No Comments

Why chemistry and darkroom? That hardly seems marketable in the digital age…? What’s your idea with using such old methods?

Sandra Sneed

Hi Sondra, thanks for asking. One of the most compelling reasons to work with old-fashioned black-and-white photography is the “edge” it provides. The traditional black-and-white print possesses an eloquence of tonal value, more aesthetic subtleties, detail and dynamic range—a visual tactile-ness, which as of now, no digital print achieves. With its greater tonal range, fine art photography allows much more leeway to create mood and convey emotional depth.
But beyond its expressive richness, fine art black-and-white prints not only last infinitely longer than digital prints, but combined with the right image, they also command prices far higher than you’d expect from prints generated via a rigid grid of binary code. No surprise then that the world’s most collectible photographers only produce fine art prints of the highest quality.
A fine art black-and-white print is produced on high-quality fiber-based paper that is extensively washed and toned to archival permanence, greatly enhancing the strength of the image, and ultimately, its commercial value. Most collectors and museums are now placing greater emphasis on methods of preservation in relation to expanding their important photograph collections to include quality replicas of damaged prints.
As an unparalleled record of a visual history, preservation is of the highest priority. Photography is now over 160 years old, and the fact that significant numbers of early photographs are still around for us to enjoy shows that long time preservation is perfectly possible. And if you are an investor in photographic art, you will want it to last at least a lifetime.
Wonderful answer and truly a prediction of mine coming true. I was digital before digital was cool because i hated the darkroom. There were too many variables causing my prints to not look right. I fell in love with the computer’s ability to stabilize the process. I started in Photoshop 2.0. Quality prints were never something I could achieve in the darkroom because I was too messy, too add. But I always predicted it would one day be of greater value. After a successful career in NYC as a commercial photographer, I hung up the Hasselblad and traded it for the pen because my back was giving out. Much happier as a writer professionally, but still make a buck here and there on a good portrait.
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