Richard Benson vis-a-vis Samantha Thorne

Here is a telling comment from an interview with Richard Benson in LensWork; read the entire piece in class, and refer to our copy of Benson’s The Printed Picture:

“…I think most photographers would like to believe that the thing that matters is the image that they capture with the camera – the thing they do when pressing the button. We actually are now living in a time when most serious photographers even go so far as to have somebody else print their work, which I think is scandalous…

“Photographers too often think that magical thing they do is gather the image in the camera. I think that’s just stupid. I think photography is art and I think a piece of art resides in the physical object made. It’s appalling to think that somebody else can be in charge of physically presenting one’s image on a piece of paper…

“Historically, it seems to me that artists have been the best craftsmen, the best technically at what they do. And I think it’s a great mistake for photographers to think that there’s some pro in a lab who’s better than they are at printing…

“There are photographers who follow the tradition of Edward Weston and work themselves in the darkroom and make great prints. That’s wonderful, and they do just the right thing. In photography in color, which is a very big deal today, there are an awful lot of cases where the work is printed by somebody else, and I just think it’s a travesty. I don’t make myself popular by saying this. I have photographers say to me, “Why should I have to know about that? I have to know about the subject and the frame and all of this. Why should I have to know about that?” Well, dammit, you have to know about that because you’re making a piece of art that you hold in your hand. Let’s not have it made by committee; let’s have it made by one sensibility working at a very high pitch…

“The way you make the print has a tremendous impact on what the thing means.”


And now a related, more succinct comment from an alumna during the field trip luncheon:

“I miss the darkroom.” -Sam Thorne

1 Comment

  1. That took me forever to notice this! =]

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