While I was cleaning and moving furniture around this morning, what should I find but a returned order. Returns are rare, and I can remember each one, and even without opening the package when I saw the name, it all flashed back to me.
It began with a telephone conversation from an office manager in Idaho. This was back in the day when I had just begun selling inkjets with the Epson 4800 on silver rag . The manager questioned me repeatedly on whether I was selling photographs or posters. I assured her that these were inkjet prints of a very high quality. She remained doubtful. I told her I would send her the prints and if she didn’t like them, then I would gladly pay her return shipping charges.
And sure enough, she called to tell me that she had received the prints and that they looked like posters. I paid for the return and when it came back put the mailer behind the file cabinet without opening it.
So this morning I open the package to find two beautiful prints in perfect condition that I have probably sold a hundred or more times since then with the same setup – well I switched to the 7800 but still the same effect. So that was 2005. Here we are in 2010, and I can’t remember the last time someone complained that I was selling posters, or inkjets.
Photographers back then couldn’t figure out what in the world to call the prints. The most popular idea was to call them Giclée prints. My own tactic was to call them prints, but to be honest with anyone that wanted to know how they were produced.
In the collectors world, I suspect that the photograph still rules, although it’s even more complicated than before since you can expose the paper to LEDs and push them through the chemicals by machine, and that is certainly a photograph.
It’s really the same partly true maxim, it’s not the camera it’s the photographer. I say partly true because the camera sets limits on what you can and can’t capture. But assuming that the photographer has the right camera for their type of work, then the maxim does hold true. And it is the same thing with printers. In fact, creating an expressive inkjet print is technically more complex (yes, that’s my actual opinion) than producing an expressive darkroom print. More complex in that there are many more factors determining the output. Maybe that’s an issue for another day.
Back to the point. Nowadays the two prints I just looked at are ready to go out to another customer who will not question how they were made but will ask what is the best frame for them. And the days of having to dissemble about how they were made are over.
Well anyway, my drying system is all set and I have a few days to do 25 large prints for two clients. It’s funny – I ended up putting my file cabinet in a closet. That removed the first jumping point for the cat to reach the loft. Poor guy. But there’s a little bit more room now to walk around, and I’m ready to hit the print button (well actually the nozzle check button).