Famous American photographer Ansel Adams knew it. So did Richard Avedon, the world’s most highly acclaimed fashion photographer from New York City. What did they know? After an image is captured in the camera, the post processing and printing of that image is half of the creative photography process.
In his day, Adams would never consider allowing an outside lab to handle his processing or printing. He created his own famous “Zone System” for bringing out the fine detail and astounding tonality that made his photography iconic among other photographers, galleries and collectors. Ansel Adams wrote books including “The Negative” and “The Print” detailing his fine methods for producing his spectacular photographs.
Likewise Avedon, who photographed everybody who was somebody from Marilyn Monroe to the U.S. Presidents, developed and processed photographs in his NYC photography studio. Processing is very much an integral part of the creative process that goes into a professional photograph.
No one knows this more than Denis Harsh and his staff at Denis Photographers. After spending literally decades in a darkroom, we have learned first hand how difficult it is to produce a superior photograph, and how rewarding it is to complete that goal.
Yet today, we often hear so many new photographers trying to convince the gullible public that any amateur color lab will produce prints that are identical to professional work. These same button pushing camera operators have never spent a day in a darkroom, let alone long enough to learn how to produce a professional photographic print. They are clueless. Is it any wonder?
Very few photographers will make the investment necessary to have the capability of producing their own prints. But how the finished print looks is only one of the reasons that Denis Photographers has made this investment.
Color labs use traditional photographic color paper that must be developed in chemistry. Color is achieved using three dye layers in the paper. It is the same technology that began in the late 1960’s.
All dyes fade! Many prints that we have from the 90’s have faded horribly.
High-end independent testing labs have proven that color prints made using that processing method fade very noticeably within 10-12 years under normal conditions. This is the main reason that Ansel Adams and Richard Avedon photographed primarily in black and white. They both knew the best color materials faded atrociously and simply would not last to stand the test of time.
New technology came on the photography scene around 2003 that uses color pigments instead of color dyes. After hitting the market, the first products lasted 80-100 years before fading when using the same method of independent laboratory testing.
Later pigment versions have tested as long as 200 to 300 years. This is reason number two that Denis Photographers has made this major investment in order to give us the capability of making our own color prints in our photography studio.
Denis Photographers wants to confidently give our clients photographs that will not fade prematurely for their hard earned money. Sure, the materials may cost a lot more, but the value is so well worth it.
Ansel Adams and Richard Avedon would have approved.