"Veracity: The quality or character of speaking the truth; truthful disposition; truthfulness, honesty, trustworthiness", from the Oxford English Dictionary.
Veracity is at the heart of why I print my work by hand onto conventional photographic materials. My images must be trustworthy if they are to be believable. When I work with Cibachrome, I often utilize unique masking and printing techniques to adjust the contrast, sharpness, brightness levels, and relative weight of tones and colors. Through many hours of patient work, the photograph becomes more refined, as I labor to bring the luminous quality of the image to life. These changes have an organic quality about them and the photographic integrity of the image is carefully preserved, with nothing done which could impugn the integrity of the work.
This is vastly different from the multitude of adjustments which are possible in digital imagery. Digital prints suffer from what I call the "Jurassic Park Syndrome"-- every aspect and every part of the image can be changed and manipulated; nothing about the image remains sacred and the viewer is left wondering how much of it is real. To the public, the image is often suspect no matter how many disclaimers the photographer issues. This is one reason why digital prints often use proprietary names which carefully avoid the word "digital". There is simply a veracity and believability conveyed through the use of conventional photographic materials which cannot be achieved through digital printing.
Significantly, actual photographic image quality can also suffer with the scanning and/or digitizing process. In the digitalization of a photographic image, there is often times a substitution of digital sharpening effects for true resolution within the original photograph, especially when the original film is a highly detailed 8"x10" transparency. There can also be a loss of smoothness of tone and an interjection of peculiar colors and spurious artifacts not seen in nature or in conventional photographic materials -- all of which can contribute to an aura of artificiality in digital prints.
Image quality, veracity and finesse are the reasons I print my work myself, utilizing conventional photographic materials. You can be assured that each fine print is meticulously hand-printed by me, one at a time. These are not mechanical reproductions, but images in which I have invested my heart and soul, with the hope that they may reach out and bring hope and inspiration to others for many years.
© 2001 Christopher Burkett
(PS: Please know that none of the above comments are meant
to disparage anyone else's work; there are many reputable photographers who
chose to use digital printing techniques for various reasons. I only want
to clarify the reasons behind my choice to use conventional photographic techniques.)