For the last three or four months I have been going through all of the processed and finished monochrome images in my Lightroom catalogue and have started to print them to A4 size.
My intention is to print the photographs and keep them in archive boxes labelled for each year or collections of years. To make handling the photographs easier I have put each one in an individual plastic archive sleeve.
To date, I have now arrived at printing the black and white images from 2012 having done the years 2006 through to 2011.
Of course, there is nothing wrong in only looking at your images on the screen, but there is I believe a greater thrill in seeing an image come off the printer and then to be able to look at it and handle it afterwards. This doesn’t come close to seeing a picture emerge as if by magic in the wet darkroom but then I’m no longer spending a whole day locked in a red-lit room inhaling chemicals.
Going through my images to print what I consider my best and also my own favourites, has done a couple of things:
- It has made me realize that some of the images I really should never have processed in the first place (not too many thankfully) and
- Made me revisit the images and in some cases re-process them. It is amazing to me how different the re-worked images can turn out with the hindsight of years, a growth of processing ability on my part and a different vision for the scene.
As an example, here are two images of a “temple” at Stourhead. The first is the finished image I did in 2012, the second is a re-work done today from the original RAW. Now, I anticipate that there will be people who like the former rather than the latter and vice versa, and that is fine, however I think that when I process now I always have the idea of a finished print in my mind and so I work my images whilst processing to both my vision and a finished printed output.
Talking of re-working an image from the Raw file into a different vision for an image makes me think how this would have been nigh-on impossible if I hadn’t kept and catalogued the original RAW and also if I had originally taken the photograph only in jpg.