The printer’s art


This astonishing illustration comes from Sarah Coleman’s lovely essay on the vanishing art of analog printing and the artistry of Pablo Inirio, who is the Master Drkroom Printer at Magnum Photos in New York.

Two things are striking about the print. The first is the detailed mark-up: the numbers indicate the amount of dodging, shading or burning the printer had to do to get the best out of the image. The second is how near Cartier-Bresson got to Martin Luther King on that memorable day. Note also the expression on his face. He’s carefully assessing King as a photographic subject.

I always found printing difficult. Now I know why: it’s a serious art and I never mastered it.