This section is from the "Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1913" book, by Aristo Motto. Also see Amazon: Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1913.
A photographer remarked to me the other day that good printers were few and far between these days. Having been a pretty good printer at one time myself, and having a soft spot in my heart for the printer, I was naturally interested and asked why.
My friend went on to explain his contention. "The printer of your day and mine silvered his own paper and found it necessary to have some knowledge of photographic chemistry. He knew the action of each of his chemicals and the result of their improper use. There was no chance to blame the manufacturer, except for poor paper stock, and even then, little satisfaction, since the paper generally had to be used, good or bad."
"Perfect results were not always certain even with the best of us, so it was natural that ready-sensitized papers should be welcomed by the printer. And it was natural that the printer should depend to a greater extent upon the instructions of the manufacturer and his demonstrators, without making himself as Your photograph - nothing will add more to the Christmas pleasure of the friends and kinsfolk at home, familiar with his chemicals and their action as when he himself was the manufacturer."
There s a photographer in your town. Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, N. Y.
"So it has gradually come to the point where many younger printers blindly follow directions. By this I mean that a formula is often made up without regard to the quality of chemicals used, accuracy of weight, order in which they should be compounded or the condition of the water in which they are dissolved."
"And once prepared, the solution of developer or fixing bath is often used with little regard to its temperature or the actual number of prints that may be safely treated with the amount of chemicals in the solution. If things don't go right, it is the fault of the paper or the manufacturer's directions, so why should the printer worry?" This was about the trend of my friend's argument, and it is probably a fact in many cases, though a regrettable one.
The printer of to-day has so many opportunities to become proficient and make a success with so little effort and expense, that there is certainly no excuse for poor printers. The apprentice of albumen days had to pay for his instruction, because it was supposed that he would be the cause of wasting a certain amount of material.
A poor printer or apprentice can waste just as much material to-day, but the difference is that he is usually paid for doing it.
This condition of affairs is probably as much the fault of the photographer as the printer. Many photographers themselves have come to think that papers, developers and fixing baths should work automatically, and do not go to the trouble to see that the printer does his work properly.
A successful photographer should know more about each department of his business than his employees. He should look into them occasionally, to see that methods have not become lax and to offer occasional suggestions. He should see to it that his printer and dark room man are furnished with dependable chemicals and that they are used properly.
The quality of our plates and papers depends upon the quality of the chemicals we use, as well as the skill in manufacturing them. The quality of the work you deliver also depends upon the quality of the chemicals you use, as well as the quality of your paper and your skill as a photographer.
When you think the quality of your work is falling off a little, look into the matter of chemicals and see what your stock house is supplying you. If they are not Kodak Tested Chemicals, specify this brand in your next order. Also take a look at the latest plate and paper manuals, and brush up on chemical manipulation. Then see that your people in the printing and dark rooms have not allowed any important precautions to slip their notice.
From An Artura Iris Print By O. C. Conkling. St. Louis, Mo.
Your work will show the effect of such careful supervision and your interest in details will make more careful workmen of those about you.