Printique, the photo print division of Adorama, makes prints. Big, small, textured, smooth, loose, bound in a book, made of canvas, or box framed for a place on the wall. Not just prints. Beautiful prints. We are working with them and they are a new affiliate! This is our first Printique print foray to write about and share since in the past I’ve known them as AdoramaPix.
Printing. Ink on paper. What a concept. Old as time, old as rhyme, as they say. But, perhaps, now, a touch forgotten, or, better said, not thought of as readily, as we stand in the daily digital hailstorm of our lives.
Pictures on a screen snap to, and have impact. But you can’t hold them. The screen glows and beckons, and certainly commands attention, if only fleetingly. There are various studies you can consult, but the consensus is that nowadays, our attention span hovers in the 8-10 second range. Maybe less. The stupefying onslaught of information, much of it visual, pounds our brains certainly, and potentially, can harden our hearts.
Our profession, of course, is right in the digital thick of things. Cameras now have serious connectivity abilities, and onboard editing tools. From the click of the shutter to the Instagram image getting liked in London, Beijing, or Beirut is now a matter of seconds. Amazing. Cool. Hip. Sometimes a necessary and good thing, when for instance, reporting the news. A split second for the shutter to make the picture, a few seconds to drop it into the maw of the Internet and hence the world, another split second for somebody to “like” it. And then, mostly, a few seconds to simply forget it.
But a print…..a beautiful, deep, resonant accounting of the picture in question, that’s fuel for your memory. And your sense of quietude. A print of a powerful picture soothes, or nettles, your soul. It’s a matter of connecting with a multiplicity of your senses. How many folks take Advil at the end of a day when your eyeballs have been velcroed to a screen? That’s because the screen shouts at your retinas, all day long.
But not the print. The print is not just for the eyes. An excellent print involves many of the senses. Sight, of course. But also touch. The texture of a print is important to the message of the print. Smell. I’m not crazy. There’s a wonderful smell to ink on paper, like when you’ve cracked open a brand new, richly printed magazine. Wonderful.
This may be a layover from my early days in NY as a newspaper copyboy, when I would be sent down to the press level to shoulder a freshly bound stack of 50 one stars (tomorrow’s paper), pungent as newly baked bread, and trundle them across the street to Louie’s East to distribute that stack to the paper’s editors, reveling in the passing of the first deadline of the night. There, the smell of the newsprint would mingle with the smell of rounds of boilermakers.
I just received my first set of prints from Printique. I punted around a bit, using different papers, with varying textures. I tried black and white, files with slam dunk colors, and those with subtle color shadings. Beautiful results returned, in unbelievably quick fashion. Boxed and safe. A digital file or scan, leaping from my screen onto paper, and given new life on my walls.
If there’s a silver lining to the pandemic, it’s been home time. Time with loved ones, time for introspection, planning, rummaging. And for looking at the walls. In our house, memories are on the walls, everywhere. Prints. Ink on paper. They give pause and prompt the head and heart to listen to the echoes of life lived, those lovely burbles of rumination and feeling which too often get trampled by the big foot of the day’s digitally delivered news reports. Or the crush of email, or the zoom roster on the calendar.
And books. My photo library has seen me through the times of COVID, for sure. I can’t really get out and work, so I revel in the work that has gone before. I fell in love all over again, for instance, with Albert Watson’s book, Cyclops. Reason? Stunning pictures, beautifully printed. A gallery, if you will, in my hands.
When I made my selections on the Printique site, I chose an array of paper styles and sizes. I was extremely pleased by the portrait of a Romanian miner, rendered in B&W and color.
The retention of detail in the cowboy’s hat is the key to this image. Tough one to print, and it was rendered beautifully.
My friend Les, playing the sax on a Brooklyn subway platform is another difficult print to make. Strong sidelight, deep shadows. Really pleased of the color in the sax, especially.
I’m loving the fact of the print, all over again. It really is the reason we put a camera to our eye. The print. It’s the proper destination for all those worthy pictures. There’s a reason, when the building’s on fire, people grab the pets….and the family album. Ink on paper. A picture in your hands.