Gallery director Julia Christopher of Photography West Gallery explains the distinction she makes.
Gallerist Julia Christopher makes an important distinction between “prints” and “photographs.”
“The word print is used in the fine-art community to describe copies, reproductions, giclées, or other pigment-based printing processes,” says Christopher, director of Photography West Gallery in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. “Light, chemistry, and human hands — not a pigment printer — are what create the image you see in the emulsion of a gelatin silver, platinum palladium, Cibachrome (Ilfochrome), cyanotype, etc. photograph, which is what separates fine-art photography from other mediums like publishing and digital imaging.
“The word photography literally means drawing or writing with light, and that is what I show at the gallery. Each artwork is a drawing literally made with light. The only time ‘printing’ is involved in photography is when a photograph is used for publication: an image in a book, poster, or magazine is a ‘print’ of an original photograph. While many photographers I represent, including Christopher Burkett, casually use the word print, I know what they mean when they use that word, but the general public does not. Most people think it means printed off a printer or a reproduction.
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“When people come in asking for ‘prints,’ I know they actually mean posters, which we also sell in the gallery and online for $30 – $75. When talking about photographs, I always suggest using the term original photograph or the name of the medium — for example, ‘gelatin silver’ or ‘Cibachrome,’ etc.”
Photography West Gallery is open daily by appointment and Saturday and Sunday 11 – 4. 1 Dolores St. SE of Ocean Avenue, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, 831.625.1587.