Dear <<First Name>>

The negative is the equivalent of the composer's score and the print the performance – Ansel Adams

When a play is written, its realization is its’ performance for others.  A musical score can be written, it is musicians playing that score that brings the music to life.  Posting photographs to social media exposes the image to others, it is the print that makes the image physical -- it brings the image off the screen and into the real world.

Many of us experience photographs as digital images on social networks, delivered to us by algorithms attuned to every like we’ve made to show us more like we like to keep us there and scrolling more.  Maybe it means we are seeing more photographs than we ever have, but does that scrolling, looking and liking give us an appreciation of the image, the way we might stand back and really look when we view it enlarged on a wall?

We scroll past digital images at the flick of a finger.  They quickly pass by.  We store all those images on our hard drives, phones or in the cloud, and sometimes go back to look for an image from months or years ago.  In some respects, digital images are like ghosts – passing us by, hazily seen and then gone.

Digital images are also different in how we see them.  The digital image is lit from behind while a print is lit from the front.  In fact, depending on how color is calibrated and shown on your screen, there may be minor or significant differences in how you see the image versus how other people see the same image, including how the photographer has developed and presented the image.
While color, light and shades of black and white can be different from digital image to digital image, the physicality of the printed image is a major difference.  The printed image is not a ghost.  It has an existence in the real world (an object as they say in the art world) and it is experienced in person.  Whether in a gallery, museum or on a neighbor’s wall, the print is a real-world thing, there to be seen, lingered over and looked at.

The physical print presents itself, free of distraction, allowing you to engage and experience all that it has to offer – the small details when you look closely, the framing as you stand back and take it in, the light, the size of the print and the tones.

If the photograph is printed, framed and on your wall where you pass it often, the experience is likely even more significant (as is the case for any piece of visual art). That image is part of your world. You live with it. One day, you might reflect on the overall story of the image, another day on a small detail.  On another occasion, the image may lead you to thoughts of different things or even the emotion that led you to love the image and hang it on your wall.

The print comes to have a place as part of your life rather than something you appreciated that vanished. Photographic prints are ever-present reminders of what is important to you in your life.

“When you look at a photograph that is printed, the experience triggers an emotional response very different from simply seeing an image for a fleeting moment on a screen. The print is finished product that engages the viewer. People want to move closer and even touch a print. Viewing a print encourages the viewer to travel into the frame imagining the experience of being in that place.” – Seth Resnick

Behind the Scenes: The Long and Winding Road to Prints 
o get to a print takes a while.  Rarely is it a matter of simply going through the images, editing, and selecting an image to print. I was recently out on the road in the Middle Peninsula and Tidewater region of Virginia chasing some "Scarred Places" photos, so I thought I would take you on a little behind the scenes look at the process for the project.  In fact, no image in this series has been taken to a final print stage.  There is one image printed as a working copy.

In the case of "Scarred Places" identifying possible images starts with the research to find historic stories.  I use OneNote to collect histories and locations.  That leads to a map where locations/ addresses are plotted before going out with the camera.

Then I hit the road to chase the stories and find the perfect image.  Sometimes this is the result

On the other hand, there are more productive results, such as this little find (Powhatan's Grave) that had not been planned but was a result of chatting with folks at the Pamunkey Tribal Office.  And, the "inventory" of stories and images has been expanded to the tune of 100+ images.  Exciting new material....soon to be more than digital ghosts.

Now the editing and selecting and writing starts.  Eventually, that new material will be posted to Instagram as #scarredplacesphotoseries -- sort of like the semi-raw material.  From there, more editing and sequencing is done to give the project coherence, so that it holds together as a whole. It is only after all that, that prints start to come into the picture.

Binhammer Photographs Website

The Great Valley
Yorktown, Virginia

This is an example of the semi-raw material.

What is: Entrance to a waterfront parking lot, Yorktown, Virginia
What was: We mostly know of Yorktown as being the location of the last major conflict in the Revolutionary War. However, in the 18th Century Yorktown’s waterfront was a major harbor -- the center of commerce. In 1691, Yorktown was made the official port for the Colony of Virginia. Wharves, tobacco warehouses, ship chandleries, grog shops lined the waterfront.  Up the hill was the main street where the Customs office and merchants lined the street. A diverse array of merchants and sailors, planters and inspectors, travelers and laborers made it a busy place, an urban center of the times.
From 1619 to 1774 more than 390 vessels brought captured Africans (on average carrying 125 captives/vessel) to Virginia delivering to major trade ports like the one here, as well as directly to plantations along the York, James and Rappahannock Rivers. Between 1698 and 1750 over 80 percent of captured Africans (about 31,000) were "disembarked" in the York River district.

In front of you and to the left is what was known as “The Great Valley,” one of the few natural openings in the marl cliffs of Yorktown.  It was used as the main roadway to connect the harbor with the main street, about a city block along the grass and up the hill.  The slaves would be herded up the hill to the slave market on Main Street. (Source: Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project).

Hoping you all had some great time off during the summer and are feeling refreshed as we enter the Fall. It was great to be away for several days this month. Soco, the road and cameras was a good spot to be in.
Photo above thanks to Geoff Livingston
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5807 Harbour Hill Place, Midlothian VA, 23112
Copyright © 2018 Binhammer Photographs, All rights reserved.

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Binhammer Photographs · 5807 Harbour Hill Pl · Midlothian, VA 23112-2120 · USA

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