Printing the negative is the most creative aspect of the whole photographic process. Contrary to what it may appear, printing the negative is not a purely mechanical procedure. In fact a negative can be printed in many ways, also very different from one another, and in the course of time a photographer can obtain dissimilar prints from the same negative.
The negative is the starting point, not the end. There are several variables that can determine different outcomes. Photographic papers, types of developers, temperatures of development, toning: these are only some of the factors that can influence the final print, not to mention, last but not least, the photographer, with his sensitiveness, experience, ability, all in continuous evolution.
Moreover we have to bear in mind another element, maybe even more relevant. If it is true that when I make a photo I do it with the purpose of capturing an emotion, it is also true that only when I print it this emotion is revealed. For this reason, I could never print somebody else’s negative, or let my negatives be printed by somebody else. Only the person who made that specific photo has a deep interaction with that specific image and is able to reveal it in the darkroom. It may take years before attaining the goal, but in the course of all the various attempts required to arrive to the final print – the print that in the best way conveys that specific feeling – this feeling will come to life again every time. And it is always a magical moment to see the harmonious result of our vision emerge from the fixing bath.