Magnum and the Dying Art of Darkroom Printing

the literate lens

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of spending some time with Pablo Inirio, master darkroom printer at  Magnum Photos in New York. I was thinking about that interview recently as I heard the news of Kodak’s bankruptcy and pondered the precarious status of “old media” like books, film and silver gelatin prints.

As Magnum’s printer, Inirio gets to work with some of photography’s most iconic images. In his small darkroom, the prints lying casually around include Dennis Stock’s famous portrait of James Dean in Times Square (right) and a cigar-chewing Che Guevara shot by Rene Burri. Intricate squiggles and numbers are scrawled all over the prints, showing Inirio’s complex formulas for printing them. A few seconds of dodging here, some burning-in there. Will six seconds be enough to bring out some definition in the building behind Dean? Perhaps, depending on the temperature of the chemicals.

Of course, this…

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Track A – History of Street Photography, Part 1

Great site about the history of street photography.

Raw, Naked Art

As indicated in the Introduction, this is Track A (History of Street Photography). Track B (Art of Composition and the Composition of Art) will start in the near future. You can find a link to the posts already written to date on The Art of Street Photography page in the header above.

Part 1 – The Evolution of Street

When María and I sat out to begin documenting the history of street photography, after some discussion, we realized that given the great variation in the art form, it was best to begin a discussion of what street photography is by looking at its pioneers and the work they created. In this chapter, we’ll touch on some of the acclaimed masters and tell you a bit about them and their work. We won’t do much analysis of their work here; that’s probably best served by looking at one photographer at…

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