I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about why I finish photographs the way I do – in particular, why do I make sized and editioned prints?
When I began as a photographer a print was a necessary means to an end. It was the only way to see what I had made – I was never able to fully visualize a negative. As my practice evolved from black and white negative to colour slide film, from darkroom printing to scanning and film recording, to digital printing and finally beginning to end digital – I kept making prints as the final outcome of my efforts.
But the need for a print as a means to see what I’d made or as part of the interpretation process became somewhat moot with slide transparencies and completely so when I began scanning my film to finish the images in photoshop. I could see and interpret without printing. So why make prints – and why make specific sizes and editions? It felt good to have a physical artifact of my efforts but it wasn’t the finished thing – the file was.
I know the thinking that led to this state, but I’m realizing now perhaps the logic was poorly conceived. Should I keep making prints – or do what instead of making prints? – or perhaps a better question, what do I do now with the prints I do make?