Art photography

Fine art photography: is it a “print” or a “photograph”?

Photography West Gallery director Julia Christopher explains the distinction she makes.

Gallery owner Julia Christopher makes an important distinction between “prints” and “photographs”.

“Word to print is used in the fine art community to describe copies, reproductions, giclées or other pigment-based printing processes, ”says Christopher, director of West Gallery Photography in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. “Light, chemistry, and human hands – not a pigment printer – are what creates the image you see in the emulsion of a silver gelatin, platinum palladium, Cibachrome (Ilfochrome ), cyanotype, etc., which separates fine art photography from other mediums like publishing and digital imaging.

“Word photography literally means to draw or write with light, and that’s what I’m showing at the gallery. Each work is a drawing literally made of light. The only time “printing” is involved in photography is when a photograph is used for publication: an image in a book, poster, or magazine is a “print” of an original photograph. While many photographers I represent, including Christopher Burkett, casually use the word to print, I know what they mean when they use that word, but the general public don’t. Most people think of it as printing a printer or a reproduction.

Aspen Glow, Christopher Burkett

Garrapata Beach, South Coast, 1972, Morley Baer

Lighthouse, 1947, Brett Weston


Click on the slideshow for more images

“When people come to us asking for ‘prints,’ I know they’re actually posters, which we also sell in the gallery and online for between $ 30 and $ 75. When talking about photographs, I always suggest using the term original photograph or the name of the medium – for example, “gelatin silver” or “Cibachrome”, etc. “

The Photography West Gallery is open daily by appointment and Saturdays and Sundays 11-4. 1 Dolores St. SE of Ocean Avenue, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA, 831.625.1587.

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