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The Year of the Print by Charlie Waite

Some background to the 'Year of the Print' exhibition from Charlie Waite

In the days before digital photography, I knew a passionate, avid and talented amateur photographer who, despite spending most of his free time out in the landscape photographing, rarely processed his film or printed his images.

Why would this have been we might ask? Was the photographer like the host or hostess who pre‐visualises and then prepares a delicious supper party menu for the delight of their guests but who themselves eats little of their own feast? Was it in the preparation of the meal that true satisfaction was found?

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Namibia by Sally Fisher

To my mind, it seems perverse to make a photograph and then not wish to see, in physical form, whether it has parity with oneʹs own pre‐visualisation. But as with that photographer, might one feel disinclined to process and subsequently look at an image that, for whatever reason, had caused feelings of insecurity?

I have many recollections of making a quick instant print with the Polaroid back on my Hasselblad both for the purpose of recording the location and equally so that, when remote from the camera and the business of photography, I could stand back and assess whether my composition had ʹworkedʹ. Now photographers are in the enviable position of being able to enjoy an instant review of their image at a size that approximates to my old Polaroids.

But why would we not wish to print the images that we have made and in which we really do have confidence? Might it be that we are seduced into getting a quick rush of affirmation that the image ‘worked’ from the monitor with the sexy vibrancy and saturation of transmitted light? Surely we should not settle for such a transitory visual experience of our precious work. Might it also be that dispatching our images around the world via any number of social networks is enough for us? Could this not be seen as rather a sad conclusion for an image that has had all the investment and nurturing that we could bring to its creation? Is that it?

To my mind and I would guess to the minds of my distinguished landscape photographer friends, to leave images languishing on hard drives or flitting from one social network to another is not an appropriate end. Surely the investment made by the landscape photographer is only fully realised when that very special exchange between photographer and subject is made manifest in the tangible form of a print. Only then may the photographer fully enjoy the repeated evocation of their experience, with other viewers able to share and relish some of that emotional experience.

Let the ʹprintʹ be the grand finale to all the craft and likely tenacity that has been devoted to the entire image making process.

I have been privileged to have visited a fair number of galleries exhibiting photography and am thankful for their existence for it is only there that I may, at my leisure, delve into and quietly examine the images that hang before me.

-- Charlie Waite

The Exhibition

Given the context of the essay above, Charlie and his tour company Light and Land have put together an exhibition of work at the Mall Galleries in London.

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The exhibition runs for six days and opens to the public on 24th March. The work of many fine landscape photographers will be on display, with the passion and skill that makes a successful photograph much in evidence. Locations from around the world will be represented and pictures are available for sale.

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A series of talks will run throughout the exhibition and there will be individual critique sessions on offer from leading photographers, photography magazine editors and other industry experts.

The exhibition runs from Monday, 24th until Saturday, 29th March and general admission is free. For more information, please visit

www.lightandland.co.uk/exhibition

p.s. Hot off the press we've been to the exhibition and it's all looking very good indeed.. Here's a few photos from the hanging day and preview.

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