Friday, September 13, 2013

See How Iconic Prints Were Edited in the Darkroom

Have you ever wondered how an iconic print was edited in the darkroom? Pablo Inirio, the master darkroom printer at Magnum Photos in New York, has personally worked on some of photography’s most iconic images. A number of his marked-up darkroom prints have appeared online, revealing the enormous amount of attention Inirio gives photos in the darkroom. As shown in the photos below, Pablo makes his test prints, makes his decisions about how the final print should look, and then makes himself notes on the photo for how he’ll make the final print.

Here's some of before-and-after iconic prints show of Pablo's work.

A portrait of Muhammad Ali, captured by Thomas Hoepker in 1966.

Dennis Stock’s iconic portrait of James Den in Times Square in 1955.

A portrait of  Audrey Hepburn during the filming of "Sabrina", captured by photographer Dennis Stock in 1954.

A portrait of photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, captured by Bob Henriques
during Martin Luther King’s March on Washington.

(Image credits: Photographs by Magnum Photos, via PetaPixel and Fstoppers)

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  1. It's not really called editing. Editing means choosing the image you want. This is typical burning and dodging. Maybe in Photoshop it is called editing because you are editing, changing they file, but not in traditional printing. The title is very misleading.

  2. The title isn't at all misleading, this is editing, dodging and burning is editing, changing a word in a text is editing, it's not a dirty word ffs.

  3. Burning and dodging is not editing. Going through a contact sheet or groups of slides and choosing the right image, THAT is editing. Editing means much more with regards to retouching, and manipulating the digital file in photoshop than in traditional printing.

    Of the hundreds of thousands of prints I've made in my 40 year professional B&W printing career for hundreds and hundreds of clients (photographers, ad agencies, galleries, museums), not one time did any of us say "I'm going to edit that photo by burning and dodging". I never had a client say "Would you edit that print a little more by burning in that corner more?"

    Editing, by definition, is actually physically changing something, like adding or removing words to a story, cutting frames out of a movie...the physical removal, or addition, of something to the original before final "release" or publication. Since in the darkroom when printing, you are not physically cutting or adding density to the negative, you are not editing. You ARE manipulating (but more precisely burning and dodging) the amount of light to hit an area of the paper, for whatever creative result you want. If I rub a bit of warm or hot water into an area of the print while in the developer to quicken and intensify the action of the developer chemical onto the paper and silver, I am not "editing " the print, just as to say if I decide to rock the print in the developer instead of actually pulling the print out and turning over throughout the process to increase contrast and density, I am not "editing" the print. With your logic, developing the negative in the first place would be called editing, which is simply not the case either.

    The title is misleading.

  4. Like others have politely mentioned, this is NOT editing! Certainly no need for the FFS! I can not say more than Jfish so excellently put it. Printing was so much more than pressing Auto-Levels - which again is NOT editing - its image manipulation. Printing is sadly a lost trade, a skill, a craft and now its being insulted by calling it editing!

  5. Digital editing is much more than "pressing auto-levels." I think that is just as insulting as calling dark room printing "editing." Don't get me wrong, I have developed, printed, dodged and burned as well as edited digitally and I still use film 95% of the time. I still think traditional printing is superior as an art form, but digital editing is a craft in its own right and I think it is a mistake to treat it as anything else.