Thursday, June 17, 2010

Policy on the Number of Prints from a Negative

One tradition among photographers who printed a certain number of prints from a particular negative would destroy the negative after that number had been made. I've heard of the burning-the-negative" ceremony for such occasions. After a run of 25-50 prints, the photographer would stage an event at which he would torch the negative for that run. Here is a discussion from the late 1990's about this.

How would one stage a similar event in the digital age? Would one erase every copy of every digital file used to make a digital negative? Would one torch the digital negative itself? This would be purely symbolic unless the digital source files were expunged as well.

My policy is to distribute no more than 100 prints from a single image source file. There would always be some variation in these prints, but that would be as expected. This policy would permit the creation of more than one digital negative in the interest of strengthening the image within the 100 print self-imposed limit, but the number of final palladium prints from the source (or root) file is the important thing and that would always remain at 100 or less.

In this show, the typical print-number is "1".

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