The Unimage print

(qui la versione in italiano)

There are many different activities within the work of the photographer. One of these concerns the artistic interpretation of reality through photographer own view that makes it visible through the creation of art prints.

As expressed by Ansel Adams in the first chapter of his “The Print"

"The philosophy enunciated in this book is directed to the expression of the final viewing of the photographer: the press. ... The realization of a press features a unique combination of mechanical performance and creative activity ".

The print is then the photographer visibile artwork to communicate his particular vision.

However I have to be realistic: those who see my digital prints ask about its originality, its uniqueness. A legitimate need that I want really satisfy because I know for sure that every single digital print is, in fact, unique, for a number of factors that I know very well but which are difficult to express to non-artist. “Factors" mean facts, operations, which are carried out creatively in such large numbers and yet not "visible" so they can not be easily described or recounted, resulting in loss of artistic value, even if they are made with digital tools.

It’s also my desire to get rid of the constraints related to the paper and printing machines of one or more companies that develop different technologies and certify the print as "fine art" only because printed on or with their products: it is not a company , its paper or a certificate that make a print an fine artwork; it is the artist, his work, his choices. This does not mean that the question of originality is not real. It must only be related to artist’s job, not to the means he uses.

So I decided to organize these “factors" in a process to run, demonstrate, explain and tell it and finally say that a particular print, carried out with the established process, is original, unique, unrepeatable.

I defined "Unimage" the black and white digital print created through a process that I called D & B Sadip.

The Unimage print

The Unimage prints are original photographic artworks in black and white as they are made according to a workflow which I identified and named D & B-Sadip (Dodging & Burning Single Artwork Digital Print) that guarantees its originality.

The color photography dropout is, for my part, entirely utilitarian. In theory the Unimage philosophy may (and should) be extended to color resolving a whole series of related issues. But my knowledge of the theory and practice of color photography is very limited and I do not trust computer automatism during shooting or work on the negative (analog or digital). On the other hand I am convinced that work in black and white has a level of expressiveness too often much higher than its in color. But this, I realize, could be due to my personal point of view.  

First, I thought it is opportune to ensure that the Unimage operates and the process D & B Sadip meets the aims of photographic art since its invention. I have identified the following points:

- The print has to refer with certainty to the original view of the photographer in relation to the subject: the photographer was right there to create his vision;

- The print is the result of the artist's work using media, digital or analog, as mere instruments and he has full control of the process;

- The photographer's work takes place in a straightforwarded and relatively simple process, adoptable by anyone who is a serious photographer, regardless of his level of education.

To meet these targets and looking for the simplest and least expensive tools available to all, as well as my own, I have identified the process D & B Sadip. It provides some key points:

- Analog Shooting;
- Dodging & Burning;
- Inkjet Printing;
- Certification.

The analog shooting would not be an exclusive condition. Personally I prefer it for objective reasons, but if there were any condition to be applied to digital photography to meet the conditions of the DB-Sadip I would be very happy. Unfortunately, at present, and according to an idea accepted by now, whatever digital photography does not meet the first goal of photographic art: there is no certainty of the relationship between subject and photographer: digital files in digital memories show only of being there, can not demonstrate that the photographer (robotic or human) who created it really was in front of that topic at a given moment.

The D & B-Sadip process

1. Analogue Shooting:

    1. Any type of B & W film and format.

    2. Development of the film preferably by the author.

2. Scanning:

    1. Manual.

3. Dodging & Burning:

    1. The technique of Dodge & Burn was born with photography and is executable in digital with the same process giving the photographer the full expressiveness of his work. Dodge and Burn are two of the oldest tools of Photoshop, the image management software used by photographer for Unimage print;

    2. the procedure:

        1. Cut the image and zoom in / on Unimage dimensions of the final print;

        2. Using the "curve" and "Tone values" without applying any selection or layer mask;

        3. Creating New Level by underlying levels, called D & B;

        4. Use the Dodge & Burn on this level. As you know, the file closing erases the operations history and it can not be reconstructed, uniquely creating an artwork. 

        5. Create a new layer from the underlying layers and applying unsharp mask.

        6. Save the file in .psd multilevel full frame. This is the file that will accompany the Unimage print. The file name must contain the author's name, the title of the artwork, the date of creation and the DBSADIP wording.

        7. Copying file, application Flatten and save the file format you wish. This is the file that will be printed by the photographer or a print service. The file name is the same as above but including the word PRINT.

    3. Exclusion of the use of any plug in;

    4. Given a negative, the author can realize all the Unimage artworks he wants;

    5. Given a scan, the author can reuse it for new works or he can rescan the negative.

    6. The originality of the work is guaranteed by the level D & B in the process. 

4. Print:

    1. the Unimage print exists because there is a print of its files D & B Sadip. The file is not an artwork.

    2. The author is free to choose, within the inkjet method, the methods, inks, machines and media he prefers. He can print with his own equipment or on third parties printers.

5. Certification. The author must accompany Unimage works with:

    1. A CD containing the file DBSADIP;

    2. Certificate of Authenticity, signed by the author, containing:

        1. Print Date
        2. printed image size of about 5 cm long size

        3. title of the artwork

        4. the statement of "Unimage artwork"

        5. size of the artwork and printing characteristics (paper used, printing machine and inks)

        6. name of the DB-sadip attached file

        7. The wording: The author guarantees the uniqueness of / files (file name) and the / cancellation of the same / s from his digital memories.

6. The Unimage print must be signed on the back in pencil or ink stating:

    1. the author's name

    2. The title of the work

    3. the name of the file referred to in point 3.2.6

    4. the statement "Unimage artwork"

    5. the date of printing

    6. the author's signature.

The Process D & B Sadip and naming of Unimage Print that goes with it can be used by anyone who follows this process.

The keys of the process are:

* Transparency of photographer’s job:

     * The negative remains in its availability.

     * Scanning and subsequent job is visible in the D & B Sadip attached file;

     * Files are also visible in the choices made by the photographer for the creation of the artwork;

The uniqueness of D & B level created and saved in the file. The variables are a hundred squared multiplied by the number of the image brush application. Replication is impossible at the technology and software available by now. Any duplication of the Unimage print is possible if the holder violates makes a fraud, or if the photographer uses the same D & B Sadip file against the procedure making a fraud.

See here for an example of Unimage work in progress.